Friday, September 09, 2011

Like a Fine Bottle of Wine.

Some things, like good wine, tend to age well; while others, like bad fish, not really.

The same can be said of many motorcycles.  I'm a bit of a pack rack when it comes to all things motorcycle, to the point that I've got a box of old, broken parts in the garage that I'll most likely never use... yet I can't bring myself to throw it away (to the great horror of my wife, I'll admit).  Anyhow, among the things I've saved are hundreds of old copies of Motorcyclist, Cycle World, Cycle Canada, and other various motorcycle rags.

On those boring, rainy days - of which we've had our fair share this summer - I like to flip through the pages of old magazines.  It's entertaining to see what used to be considered way cool ten, twenty or almost thirty years ago.  What's also interesting is to see how their looks have stood the test of time.  Sure, classic-style bikes like Sportsters or Bonnevilles will always have a certain, timeless appeal.  What I like to see is how a motorcycle that was designed to look "modern" in 1990 compares with what's out on the showroom floor now.

If I walked into a local dealer's showroom with a wad of cash in my pocket, how many of these old modern bikes would still yank my crank (so to speak).

One that sticks out is the 1993 Yamaha GTS 1000.  It still looks so cool.  Of course, the hub-center steering up front certainly has something to do with the appeal.  Other than Bimota, I can't think of any manufacturers that have messed around with hub-center steering on a production model.  Although the Tesi 3D looks cool, it's design isn't as well executed as the GTS.

Another bike in the sport-touring segment would be the K1200RS which BMW came out with in 1996.  It's still got great looks.  The last sporting version of the (in)famous "Flying Brick" inline, laid-down engine. The swoopy lines, like waves on the water, made it look fast even when standing still.  Some will argue that it looks better than the post-2004 K-series that replaced it (Gail at SheRidesABeemer might agree?).

Another technologically advanced motorcycle (at the time) which has continued with a long heritage is the early-nineties Honda VFR.  As handy as a Swiss Army knife and with one of the sweetest mills in all of motorcycling, this was a bike you could take to the track or tour the country on.  Again, it still looks nice and would still make a fine sport-touring mount.

What do you think?  Any bikes that made you drool a few decades ago still hold their own against today's modern marvels?

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