Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Primum Non Nocere

Primum Non Nocere.  "First, do no harm."

This is the fundamental guiding principle of medicine.  It should be the same for anyone that would lay a wrench on a motorcycle as well.

The two-wheel community is awash with "builders" and "customizers" churning out choppers, cafe racers, brat bikes, bobbers, rat bikes, scramblers, streetfighters and their even more hybridized offspring, brat scramblers, rat bobbers, cafe fighters, rat brats and scrambled chopper racers.  Every bobo with a shed and a hacksaw is trying to create his or her "dream ride" and ending up more often than not with Frankenstein.

Don't get me wrong, I fly the DIY flag more proudly than rednecks in a jacked-up truck do the Stars 'N Bars, but I've also come to accept that there are certain things the motorcycle factories and all their engineers with fancy degrees know better than I.  In my limited wisdom, I have become loathe to mess with these things.

If we accept the premise that a motorcycle is a vehicle first, then there are a few tasks it must be able to perform and in a better fashion than say, a 1987 Yugo with 200K.  First it must go.  Second it must stop.  Third it must turn.

Any modifications in either of the three areas should only seek to improve upon the foundation laid by the factory.  Many times this is not possible, so maybe it's better to leave it alone (do no harm)?

In the "See Me, Hear Me" mentality possessed by so many motorcycle enthusiasts what would seem to be common sense is thrown out the window.  It's a case of function fucked over by a warped sense of form.  Go ahead and stretch the front or rear of that bike until it's nothing more than a John Holmes sized penis extension.  Take perfectly good working suspension and make it rigid so it pounds you into hemorrhoids, impotence and herniated discs.  Remove half of your front brake system so that people get a better look at your super shiny chrome rims.  Cut, hack, grind, chop, bolt on, take off, do whatever it takes to make us feel like individuals.  Idiots, but individuals!

Obviously it's your bike and you're still free enough to do what you want to do with it, but before we pick up that wrench, torch or hacksaw, maybe we should ask ourselves, "Why?".

So you take a motorcycle with nearly 200 horsepower, capable of 200 miles per hour, install a floppy extended swingarm so it needs a runway to turn around and remove one of the front rotors so it now has half the stopping power?  Seems like a good idea to me. 
Seriously? I can bend those fork tubes with just the power of my mind.  One pothole and you are headed to the hospital.  The front brake provides 75% of the stopping power of a motorcycle, so let's not install one.  Brilliant.

So you took off technologically advanced shock absorbers and replaced them with solid struts, then, it was so uncomfortable you had to add a shock absorber to your seat?  It's that kind of forward thinking that got America to where it is today.
No fenders to keep water and rocks from spraying you front and back and nothing to keep your testicles from dragging on the rear tire if god forbid you slide back off the Karen Carpenter thin seat.  Rock on man!

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