I’m spending some time surfing motorcycle sites these days. I’ve previously written about my favourite little bikes, as well as scooters, but I thought I’d take a step up in size (with a couple exceptions) and introduce you to “Eric’s coolest looking motorcycles you may not have seen yet”.
I have to start here: http://enfieldmotorcycles.ca/maroon-chrome-chrome
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. It comes in other colour schemes, too, including desert tan. Cool thing is, for something so unusual, there is (somewhat) local service available, with a dealer in Windsor and one in Fredericton.
Harleys hardly need publicity, but I came across this Sportster just last night and was immediately struck by its aggressive appearance. Sporties may be considered the little brothers of ‘true’ Harleys, but this bike is everything riding should be: http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_CA/Motorcycles/iron-883.html
I don’t love everything about this bike – I’m on the fence about the visual appeal of Ducati’s criss-crossed frame bars – but there’s still plenty here to admire: http://www.canada.ducati.com/bikes/monster/monster_diesel/index.do
Triumphs have always been pretty. The Thruxton is the one you want if you ever decide to risk your life driving stupid fast around the Isle of Man: http://www.triumph-motorcycles.ca/motorcycles/range/classics/thruxton
Pretty as the Triumph is, Norton’s making bikes that might steal away their beauty queen sash. The Commando is a favourite: http://nortonmotorcycles.com/bikes/Norton%20Commando%20961SE/#.UPgCoURztkQ
I jumped onto BMW’s site to see what they’re producing these days, and I got to tell you, their looks leave me cold (same is the case with the cars they’re making these days). I’m not saying they aren’t great performers – BMW’s enduros have built a stellar reputation crossing some of the toughest terrain on the planet – but the styling is just soulless . So, sorry BMW, but no kudos for you (I’m sure they’ll be crushed Eric Sparling doesn’t like their bikes).
I used to like fat cruisers most of all, but I’ve moved more in the direction of standards. Still, for a cruiser outside of the obvious – Harley makes some great machines, of course – Victory is doing some nice looking work: http://www.victorymotorcycles.com/en-us/bagger/cross-country/photos
Speaking of standards – and by now you will have recognized my penchant for retro Euro bikes – it took me a minute to come to the conclusion I liked this Moto Guzzi a lot. It doesn’t immediately grab you, but there’s something very compelling about its stance, like it’s waiting to be unleashed on a winding highway: http://www.motoguzzi-canada.ca/motorcycles/v7-stone.html
From bigger bikes to really small, I’m going to end this with a couple of quick oddities: Harley’s earliest models and a tiny sportbike.
I wish Harley Davidson would do a new bike inspired by their very earliest models (like this: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1915-harley-davidson-11f.htm). I’m not saying I want an actual vintage bike, and I’m sure the originals had all kinds of downsides, but take that size and style and use modern technology to produce a small displacement, retro bike – a 125 cc Harley, with the spoked tires, squared long tank and bike seat. Set it up as a premium scooter brand, competing with Vespa, and at a similar price point, i.e. five grand or so. That would be awesome.
And speaking of 125 cc motorcycles, I’ve also been reading reviews of the Honda CBR125: http://motorcycle.honda.ca/sport/cbr125r
Surprise, surprise, the reviews are fantastic – incredibly forgiving for total newbies, and a heckuva lot of fun even for experienced riders. Only problem? A 200-plus pound 40-something would likely look like a complete spazz riding an undersized sportbike that may sound a bit like a whipper snipper.
Mind you, looking like a complete spazz hasn’t always stopped me in the past…
For more on bikes, you might want to head down to Halifax Feb. 8. 9 or 10: http://therealmotorcycleshow.com