Maybe it’s human nature, but motorcycle publications are constantly trying to determine which bike can lap the fastest, jump the highest, or travel the farthest. Competition is what feeds the beast. Motorcycle.com’s as guilty of it as anyone, and it’s easy to see why: motorcycling has become so segmented these days, with machines designed to satisfy one particular niche. They do it very well, too; sportbikes are insanely advanced, adventure bikes are capable of traversing nearly any terrain, and both cruisers and sport-tourers can pound out miles in two very different, yet also very satisfying, ways. And we haven’t even mentioned streetfighters, nakeds, and standards…
The term “hipster bike” gets tossed around fairly liberally these days, mostly at any motorcycle with classic or retro-inspired styling. The presence of fork gaiters or a single round headlight tends to bring on this label. As cliched as the term has become, it seems impossible to look at the Sterling Countryman Deluxe without the word “hipster” coming readily to mind.
Laaadeeeeez and Gennntlemennnn, standing before you are the three of the newest middleweight roadsters of the 2016 model year. All have family names steeped in motorcycling history, though only one can be said to use a truly historic design. The second is a ground-up remake with the classic lines of its family heritage, which is, in fact, almost visually identical but in a thoroughly modern package. The third, a sophomore model-year tweak to a new category of bikes begun just last year, seeking to indoctrinate a new generation of riders into its world-dominating marque. These three motorcycles share two other similarities: all are Twins – though all different – and all feature hipster-compatible fork gaiters.
Here’s a marque that we didn’t expect to see at EICMA. Mondial has apparently risen from the ashes to produce motorcycles once again. The storied manufacturer started producing motorcycles in Bologna, Italy in 1948 and had a great deal of success in Grand Prix racing and on the Isle of Man in the 50s. Mondial fell on hard times and has previously undergone unsuccessful attempts to revive the marque. MO last tested a Mondial in 2003 during one of the revival attempts in the form of the Mondial Piega with a Honda RC51 engine as a power plant. Alas, that revival, too was met with failure.
From Silver Lake to Wicker Park, from Williamsburg to the Mission District, from Portlandia to Austin and on the industrial outskirts of every college town in between, these annoying hipsters are everywhere you turn. You stand by and sigh as they slouch and smirk in their skinny jeans and perfectly tousled hair, grilling the barista on whether or not their $4.50 coffee is Certified Fair Trade (meanwhile, they have no problem paying $5 for a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon).