There is absolutely no area of professional or personal industry where this saying applies more than 1.) automotive maintenance or 2.) motorcycles. What do I mean by motorcycles? I mean, from the ground-up, from top to bottom. In other words, to create your own bike. (more after the jump)
I’ve written a few things here and there which I think do a pretty adequete job of conveying that, ever since I got my motorcycle endorsement shortly before joining the Oppositelock community, I’m pretty passionate about the two-wheeled world. And if I were to be completely honest, I’m not even sure why myself. Maybe it’s just because motorcycles are simple enough such that there is so much more opportunity for customization and personalization than trying to hack out a rolling cage (as some of us riders like to call it). Now a lot of you might be scratching your heads at that statement. I mean, there’s not subcultures but subcultures within subcultures completely and wholly dedicated to car customization. You can mod out a 240sx to within near literally an inch of its life, or you can build a kit car, or what have you. But, let me tell you - if that’s what you’re in to, then prepare to have your mind completely blown away by the world of two wheels good.
I mean it.
Oh, don’t believe me?
Customization is practically a right of passage when it comes to motorcycles. Go on Craigslist, and yeah, restomods are not hard to find. But go click on the “Motorcycles/Scooters” link, and I swear to God, every other bike is a custom cafe racer. Yes, they make terrible first bikes, but then again you’re not going to start out on your learner’s permit in a gorgeous resto-mod 1971 quad-light Camaro SS either. But let me tell you, the cafe racer is the most gorgeous thing out there. And there’s a specific reason for it: because the most gorgeous thing in the automotive world is personal customization.
Yes, in the basic definition of the word, a cafe racer is a truly transformative experience. It transforms some, I don’t know, 1977 CB500 from something originally designed as what would be that era’s Civic on two wheels into the two-wheeled equivalent of Dom Torretto’s 1o-second Supra. But who cares about the transformation of the bike - no, it’s transforming you. That is not a 1977 CB500. No. It’s YOUR bike. That bike is to YOUR specifications, your whims, to the absolute parameters of what you want.
What I’m saying is, that as long as you’re content with the restriction of a vehicle being limited to a frame with an engine and no more than two wheels, you actually can manufacture your own vehicle. Try that with a cage.
No, kit cars don’t count. You’re assembling someone else’s design. No. A two-wheel Mona Lisa is just that - it’s your baby. Nobody else but you made the determination of what angle will go on that truss, what kind of gas tank is going to go on that, what that seat will look like.
Oh, and modding that CB500 to within an inch of its life isn’t enough? That’s great. That’s beautiful. You know how to weld? Congradulations, you know how to make yoru own unique complete custom bike from scratch. Go look at the Cleveland Custom Werks guys who have been doing it for years. These are guys who are making motorcycles with the exact same skills set any of us can acquire, and I submit to you it is not physically possible to get any more Jalop than that.
What I’m trying to say to you is that, if there’s not a bike design out there that satisfies your lust, you have the power to say Screw It and make your own goddamned bike. You can design and engineer your own frame, stick whatever engine you want - you can make your own perfect dream bike.
And that is what I myself intend to do, one of these days.
Basically something like the Suzuki Tu250x, maybe crossed with a little Royal Enfield. I hate single-cylinder bikes. But that’s ok, because I can for example rip a parallel twin off a Triumph or a Honda, or a flat twin off a Bimmer, and hack a Tu250x or Royal Enfield frame to accommodate it. Or make my own frame. Or pay someone to do it for the cost of a well-used Hyundai Accent. It’s ridiculously cheap to say that the sky’s the limit - too cheap, if you ask me, to the point where they’re empty words. But when you limit yourself to just those two wheels in tandem, those words start to have meaning again. If you can afford a CPO Ford Focus SES, you can afford to grab for that sky.
This is why motorcycles are so amazing. You can buy 180 MPH for the price of a brand-new Mitsu Mirage, worst case scenario. Literally. You can buy the two-wheeled equivalent of a fucking Bugatti for the exact same amount of coin you’d be paying at Billy Bob’s Used Car Emporium. Or you can build your dream bike, to exactly how you want it, for even less. Or, worst case, have someone do it for you for, I don’t know, the price of a middlingly-equipped Camry. You have almost no financial excuse whatsoever to have the bike of your dreams, unless you’re going for some loaded-down Harley or something. But you don’t know what true automotive liberation is like untl you’ve got that perfect 500cc bike in your garage, the bike that’s worthy enough to carry the name of the first girl you lost your virginity to, that bike that, by all accounts, is the unquestioned perfect combination of just that right look to stare at as if it’s sitting in your living room, but also to ride.
You owe yourself to try a custom bike, is what I’m saying.
I’m also saying that I may or may not be on my third beer already and just getting started (wow if only my ex can see me now. See, she’s an unapologetic alcoholic, is what I’m saying). But ignore that last comment and just concentrate on the bike stuff.