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Old 07-13-2010, 11:38 PM   #21
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I agree. I couldn't believe it, many years ago, when I happened by a BMW dealer out in the sticks in upstate New York. The guy didn't know me from Adam, I just left something as security and he said take it for a spin, see you in half an hour. And take it off road if you like - which I did. Wonderful machine, the big on/off road Boxer (forget the model), but a bit big for the really gnarly stuff I thought.

I just didn't know that you could ever do that sort of thing. No dealer in NJ let you, as far as I knew anyway.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:50 PM   #22
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Same here, no problem getting a test ride at other-than-Japanese dealerships. I didn't even bother test riding my FLHT though, I figured I'd make it work one way or the other. The R1200RT was very tempting, I did ride that one.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:01 PM   #23
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I've never test ridden any of the bikes I've owned. Is this unusual? Anyway it worked for me I guess.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:27 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
We seem to pretty much achieved a level of technology that is going to be difficult to improve on.
I disagree. In many areas motorised bicycles are horribly undeveloped. They have appalling aerodynamics that affect the operation of the machine at speed, a front suspension that alters geometry while operating, exposed chain drives that are little better than those fitted to Victorian factory machinery, tyre wear that is frankly abysmal. The machines have a fuel consumption and level of operator comfort that is regularly beaten by small cars and such a low level of component durability and finish that I am astonished people are willing to accept.

I guess as consumers we get the products that we deserve. If we are so willing to put up with this low level of functionality the manufacturers (whose sole reason for existence is to make money - not motorcycles) will continue to pump this junk out and rake in the profit.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:48 AM   #25
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Wow Voyager, that's a really good post. Aside from the comparison to small cars, which I think is cleary "apples to oranges," your points on where motorcycles can be improved are very perceptive.

I'm not sure I'd put the blame for motorcycle's shortcomings on the consumer's willingness to swallow junk, though. If you compare the progress that cars have made since, say, the end of WWII, and the progress bikes have made, I think they are fairly similar. From a strictly performance standpoint, perhaps bikes have exceeded cars.

Interesting stuff.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:15 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I disagree. In many areas motorised bicycles are horribly undeveloped. They have appalling aerodynamics that affect the operation of the machine at speed, a front suspension that alters geometry while operating, exposed chain drives that are little better than those fitted to Victorian factory machinery, tyre wear that is frankly abysmal. The machines have a fuel consumption and level of operator comfort that is regularly beaten by small cars and such a low level of component durability and finish that I am astonished people are willing to accept.

I guess as consumers we get the products that we deserve. If we are so willing to put up with this low level of functionality the manufacturers (whose sole reason for existence is to make money - not motorcycles) will continue to pump this junk out and rake in the profit.
Those things you mention have already been addressed. Fully faired bikes are available. Many people don't want them. All attempts to replace the fork have failed because the higher weight and cost don't offset the gain from less variable geometry. Tires remain sticky for obvious reasons. But if you want tires hard enough to go 30K miles be my guest. Fuel mileage? Buy a 250. If you want 150hp then you are going to burn gas.

Junk? Low level functionality? That would be the electric bikes being pushed. A day doesn't go buy without another article on some overpriced electric POS with a 20 mile practical range.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:37 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth_Moore View Post
Aside from the comparison to small cars, which I think is cleary "apples to oranges,"
It depends on what you are looking at. As toys for adult children then yes, a small car and a motorised bicycle are not directly comparable.

But as transport to work or to run errands? I'm not convinced motorised bicycles are superior. I think they are fuel inefficient, uncomfortable and by-and-large lack even the most basic luggage capacity.
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I'm not sure I'd put the blame for motorcycle's shortcomings on the consumer's willingness to swallow junk, though.
Why? If people were not so willing to buy them the manufacturers would have to improve their product.
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If you compare the progress that cars have made since, say, the end of WWII, and the progress bikes have made, I think they are fairly similar. From a strictly performance standpoint, perhaps bikes have exceeded cars.
I think bikes have been left behind since the late 40's. In the '50's we were rebuilding after the war and the volume bikes being made and sold were pretty shoddy versions of pre-war machines, while cars were moving on dramatically.

By the late 50's the first small monocoque cars were being made - the Mini, Fiat Cinquecento being particularly relevant to Europe (not sure of the way that post war automobiles affected motorcycling in the US - but I get the idea that the 50's was a time that the car became the symbol of 'modern' America...?) Small cheap cars like these were the death of motorcycles as utility vehicles. By the mid-70's we have motorcycles being specifically sold for leisure use - there were very few machines available that were able to be used in any functional way.

And since then motorcycling has morphed into the realms of fashion and their semiotics are seemingly more important than their function. I don't think they are even particularly performance orientated - back when I was born (1961) a Velocette 500 was the first to record an average of over 100 mph for 24 hours (I fancy that they matched that with the 350 a couple of years later) What is the record now?

I think that over any distance a car will out run a motorised bicycle - simply on comfort and range. There is a great 'race' here between a bike, car and Monotracer - 12 mins and in German but clearly the motorcycle has no performance advantage over distance (although the car relying on a GPS is clearly is not a good idea for racing!)
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:50 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
Those things you mention have already been addressed.
Clearly not very well.
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Fully faired bikes are available. Many people don't want them.
I know they are available. They simply are not very good.
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Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
All attempts to replace the fork have failed because the higher weight and cost don't offset the gain from less variable geometry.
So two entire ranges of current BMW bikes are 'failures' are they?

And I guess you have never ridden a properly designed PTW with hub-centre steering....
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Tires remain sticky for obvious reasons.
Performance cars can get 10,000 miles from tyres not 2,000 so those reasons are what exactly?
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Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
But if you want tires hard enough to go 30K miles be my guest. Fuel mileage? Buy a 250. If you want 150hp then you are going to burn gas.
But I don't need a 150hp motorcycle any more than I want a device that consumes tyres faster than oil. (When the first Hayabusa was launched in the UK some wag calculated that the cost of rear tyres was greater than the cost of fuel....)
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Junk? Low level functionality? That would be the electric bikes being pushed. A day doesn't go buy without another article on some overpriced electric POS with a 20 mile practical range.
I'm not bothered about electric motorcycles - I was replying to your ignorant diatribe about motorised bicycles somehow being fully developed.

Clearly if you can't see any ways in which they can be improved then you will be one of those that think that the ultimate motorised bicycle is some 150+hp POS.

("Go buy"? Do you mean '..go by' or '..go, 'bye'?)
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:21 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Clearly not very well.

I know they are available. They simply are not very good.

So two entire ranges of current BMW bikes are 'failures' are they?

And I guess you have never ridden a properly designed PTW with hub-centre steering....

Performance cars can get 10,000 miles from tyres not 2,000 so those reasons are what exactly?

But I don't need a 150hp motorcycle any more than I want a device that consumes tyres faster than oil. (When the first Hayabusa was launched in the UK some wag calculated that the cost of rear tyres was greater than the cost of fuel....)

I'm not bothered about electric motorcycles - I was replying to your ignorant diatribe about motorised bicycles somehow being fully developed.

Clearly if you can't see any ways in which they can be improved then you will be one of those that think that the ultimate motorised bicycle is some 150+hp POS.

("Go buy"? Do you mean '..go by' or '..go, 'bye'?)
Well, I'm certainly happy that this site has the opportunity to bask in your genius. And I'm glad to learn that modern bikes are junk. Only problem here is that you don't actually have any solutions just a general statement that there's some solution somewhere that someone needs to come up with.

Another walking solipsism. Just what this site needs.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:47 AM   #30
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Well, I'm certainly happy that this site has the opportunity to bask in your genius.
Thanks.
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And I'm glad to learn that modern bikes are junk.
Well, my point was to list some of the problems that, in my opinion, make them somewhat less developed that you appear to imagine they are with your opening comment 'We seem to pretty much achieved a level of technology that is going to be difficult to improve on.'
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Only problem here is that you don't actually have any solutions just a general statement that there's some solution somewhere that someone needs to come up with.
There are plenty of solutions - I even listed them.... aerodynamics, steering, drive systems, tyre and fuel consumption, comfort and safety.

When you dismissed one of my points I even asked you a question that you have ignored - you wrote that 'All attempts to replace the fork have failed... ' Do you REALLY think that two entire ranges of BMW motorcycles are failures? (The two, for the hard of thinking, are the current oil-head R series with the Saxon/Telelever and the K series with the Hossack/Duolever steering systems both of which are not telescopic forked.) Are they really failures in your eyes?

What about the largest selling motorcycle on the planet, the Honda Cub? Not fitted with telescopic forks.
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Another walking solipsism. Just what this site needs.
I'd rather think that there are better answers out there than simply accept what we are presented with by some corporate entity for their own benefit. I'm really sorry if that is too hard for you to comprehend.
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