Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Modern Motorcycle Design - Love it or Hate it.

It seems most motorcyclists fall into two different camps: the evolutionaries and the traditionalists. They rarely agree on aesthetics.

Case in point: the Victory Vision. When Victory came out with the initial prototype and started doing the marketing rounds, even moto-journalists were polarized. Some called it a brave new design, while others thought it looked like a UFO. Personally, I liked it.

I can understand why boomers and early genexers like Harleys and classic Triumphs. Its melancholy - finally getting the bike you lusted at years ago. The look hasn't changed that much, and with a bit of faded memory a brand new Sportster looks just like the one you remember your uncle riding when you were a kid.

The same neo-styling is gaining popularity with the four-wheeled crowd too. Just check out Chevrolet's new Camaro or the Dodge Challenger. Straight outta the seventies, eh? Funny thing is, they both look remarkably similar. Then again, so do most cruisers out there.

I've always preferred thouroughly modern looking machines. Bikes that you simply couldn't mistake for your uncle's old Sportster. Of course, the fact that I ride a V-Strom should make the previous statement evident.

I talked about that, so that I could talk about this. Honda's new DN-01. Now for most traditionalists, one look at Honda's new Sports Cruiser will most likely trigger an involuntary gag reflex. I simply love it. This ain't your daddy's bike. It is modern in how it looks, how it works and probably how it rides. Forget the VTX, think of Akira's bike in the classic film by Katsuhiro Otomo. Want to be an individualist? Forget the chrome and leather fringe and get one of these. I guarantee that it'll turn more heads at the doughnut shop than the latest cookie cutter chopper.

For now, the DN-01 is only available in Japan. But I hope that some day Honda Canada might bring it over. After all, they did import the CBF1000, Varadero and CBR125.


goodstuff said...

Speaking of Victory Motorcycles. I'm 66 years old and have some old road injuries that hinders my bike riding now days. I no longer even have a ride! I'm kind of in the market for a trike and I saw one parked out front of our local Victory dealership. I guess they're making them now. I plan on going back and checking it out. I want a something new and price is important to me now. A new Harley plus a kit can get a bit expensive.

Lucky said...

I don't think Victory makes a trike as a factory option - although there are many shops out there that will do the conversion for you. Lehman Trikes is the first one that comes to mind... but it won't be cheap! Expect to pay at least $25k for a basic conversion.

If price is an issue and you're trying to keep it affordable, another option would be to get a trike convertible kit. MTC Voyager makes such a kit, where essentially you "back into" an extra set of wheels. So this requires no modification to the bike except bolting on a few brackets. Prices start at just over $4K for the base kit.

Hope this helps you out.


Giest said...

I do like the Vision. It was one heck of big jump for Victory and it's honestly the only Victory I like. I am a fan of the retro styled bikes and the cruiser style which is evident in my choice of a ride. And yeah, it has a lot to do with melancholy.

I absolutely adore the idea of the DN-01 and I'm perfectly willing to admit that I wanted Kaneda's bike from Akira with a passion. I even have a model of it on my shelf. The only thing that throws me off with the DN-01 is that the transmission is automatic. I prefer to have all my limbs occupied while riding. I like to think that is what helps me focus so much while riding. I can't help but wonder what will happen when someone riding this bike discovers that they can easily answer that ringing cell phone in their pocket...

Tinker said...

Speaking as "one whose limbs are not all occupied" except when I am setting the parking brake on my 1978 CB400A,
I'm wondering what is supposed to happen? Will I get zapped by a jolt of lightning, because I dare touch that which is unclean, or merely smashed by an SUV for righteous revenge?

Oh and I like the DN-01 too. which is odd, since i go on about preferring naked standards and resenting HondaAmerica's single heading for standards AND cruisers.

It doesn't look bad at all or like a copycat cruiser. Fresh, new, fun. Of course as a longterm fan of all things Honda, I expect I'll have to go to yamaha or suzuki for my next ride, a 400cc scooter.
I'm tired of waiting for scooters that are across the world already but they never show up here.

Lucky said...

Tinker - Why the obsession with 400cc engines? Sure, Honda doesn't have a 400cc scooter while Yamaha has the Majesty and Suzuki has the Baby 'Burg, but why not move up to a Silverwing? Or maybe a Reflex would be enough?

I'm only asking because you seem to be very loyal to Honda. However, if you're willing to part with the brand, I'd probably suggest you check out the Yamaha T-Max. The 15" wheels are midway between a typical scoot and a motorcycle, and the 499cc parallel twin is smoother than a thumper.