The past decade has brought about radical changes around the world. During this epoch, not only has America elected its first black president (and first orangey one), motorcyclists have been introduced to a plethora of ground-breaking new technology. Back in 2007, traction-control systems and ride-by-wire throttles were just coming on line, and things like semi-active suspensions, IMUs and Cornering ABS were unheard of from production motorcycles.
The original Royal Star in 1996 heralded Yamaha’s use of labeling its cruisers as Stars, followed by other Star models. With considerable Star power in its lineup, Yamaha launched the Star Motorcycles brand in 2006, a cruiser-oriented marque used in North America to bring Yamaha’s cruiser line under its own tent apart from Yamaha’s other lines.
Humans are odd animals. Generally speaking, they don’t like to stray far from the herd to avoid the anxiety that comes from being recognizably different than their peers. And yet there exists a potent part of society which thrives on being unconventional. As motorcycle enthusiasts, we obligate ourselves to a distinctiveness that clearly stands apart from cagers.
It’s impossible to be an editor of a moto publication without being a humongous fan of motorbikes. As such, I derive great pleasure from riding every new motorcycle that presents itself to me, and that attitude holds true even for non-new motorcycles, ones that I’ve never before thrown a leg over.
Watching motorcycle-related television programming can be as frustrating as spending an evening at a strip club. Sure, the subject matter is nearly irresistible, but the end result is frequently unsatisfying. And that’s how I felt after watching Biketacular, a show that first aired on August 29 and is being regularly rebroadcasted on the Discovery Channel.
The film and music segments of the entertainment industry use the early months of the year to celebrate themselves with Oscars and Grammys and whatnot. For the moto industry, it’s late summer when we look back at the last 12 months of motorcycling and determine the outstanding products in the two-wheel world.
I feel pangs of guilt from time to time, like I haven’t been upholding my part of an unwritten bargain. You see, I have a daughter who just turned nine, and, as much as I love motorcycling, I haven’t yet passed on that love to her. Despite a regular stream of new bikes and moto apparel around the house, she has thus far avoided the lure of the funnest form of practical transportation on wheels.
News flash: Motorcycling can be dangerous. Illustrating this fact are the left hands of myself and international roadracer, Jeremy McWilliams, seen in the above picture, a photo I imagine many would think is more than a touch morbid. The missing digits are the result of crashing motorcycles while racing.