Common Tread

Mysteries of the motorcycle world

Aug 22, 2016

After years of observing and writing about the motorcycle industry, you’d think I’d have it all figured out. But no. Some things still puzzle me.

Here are a few of them. (Warning: There should be a snark alert attached to some of these.)

Have you seen that Yamalube TV commercial with Bob “Hurricane” Hannah? Who thought that a great way to sell more oil would be to belittle Hannah (seven national championships in a career cut short by injury) by saying “You’re no Cooper Web” (two 250-class championships, so far)?

Arch KRGT-1
What if the "KR" stood for someone you've never heard of? Arch Motorcycle photo.

Sure, it’s nicely built, but how many people would pay $78,000 for an Arch KRGT-1 if a movie star’s name wasn’t on the project?

Along the same lines, if the motorcycles themselves were exactly the same, but the company had been founded in Mumbai instead of Milwaukee, how many people would buy a Harley-Davidson?

Honda recently released this video of the first RC213V-S being delivered to its new owner in the United States. Is anyone surprised that the $184,000 street-legal bike immediately went “on display” instead of on the street or track, where it would be spanked by a five-year-old CBR1000RR?

Why is Kawasaki the only major Japanese or European manufacturer without an entry in the big-bore adventure-touring category?

If both an F 700 GS and an F 800 GS have a 798 cc parallel twin engine, what does BMW want us to think the numbers mean?

Why do I get the feeling that people today who are saying electric motorcycles will never amount to anything are the great-great-grandchildren of people who once said cars would never catch on because horses never got stuck on the mud roads and could easily refill by munching grass instead of needing to locate hard-to-find gasoline for sale?

Lotus C-01
Still available, it seems. Mecum Auction photo.

Is there hope that common sense is still alive? I ask because nobody wanted to pay $370,000 for a KTM with a trick frame, some odd body work and a Lotus sticker.

Got answers to any of these questions? Enlighten me below.