Bam, got you with that title, didn’t I? There's a whole legion of nerds grabbing gamma deathrays, or whatever Star Wars people use, right at this moment.
Calm down, my bespectacled, retainer-wearing
friends acquaintances. The focus of my ire is a motorcycle, not a movie.
Here’s the thing. I love motorcycles. Motorcycle marketing types, though, rank somewhere between lawyers and insurance salesmen in my book. They ruin motorcycles. Why does everyone in a Harley ad scowl? Why do comfy touring bikes now have a beak-lookin’ thing on them? Why does the paint and helmet of a sportbike guy always have to match? Why is the Ural Dark Force a thing? Crappy marketing, that's why.
Allow me to tell you about the really cool motorcycle, and then in a moment I’ll start slagging the super-lame marketing effort.
The Ural Dark Force is, for all intents and purposes, a Ural cT. These are cool bikes. If you doubt me, check out the photo gallery from our Camp Wandawega article or our review on this sweet machine. This is a one-wheel-drive, sidecar-equipped Ural motorcycle. Let me be clear: I would ride one of these very happily. I always appreciate an excuse to add “In Soviet Russia...” jokes to my stock, and the ability to sky the chair is perfect for a person with my traffic citation history. The price ain’t even awful: A cT runs $12,999.
Here’s the rub. Some yahoo in the marketing department came up with this bright idea to try to draft a little momentum off the Star Wars franchise. This is where they start losing me. Black motorcycles have one job, Ural. One job. Make the rider look like a badass. Engineer boots, greasy hands, and slicked-back hair all help. Pairing up a black motorcycle with a Star Wars theme downshifts "did a little time in the joint" to "lives in mom’s basement" without a clutch. Boom, roasted.
So like I said, that’s where they start losing me. Before I really get into things, I want to find out how much this package costs. A cool two grand over the standard base Ural price gets you, your wife, and your kid onto and into a Ural Dark Force. OK, that’s not terrible, right? Here’s where that vein in my temple starts throbbing. Here is what the buyer gets by buying one of the mere 25 Dark Force versions to be built:
- Enduro bench seat
- LED headlight
- Blacked-out engine and black ceramic exhaust
- Extendable three-foot light saber
So for two grand, you get a black engine and exhaust, uncomfortable seat, and a $400 headlight. The real crime here is that this bike weighs 43 pounds more than the actual Death Star, and makes only a fraction of the power. Perhaps at this price the Dark Closet should include acne medicine and a few decks of Magic cards. Couldn't we get some Honda technological badassery shoved into something that looks like a Pod Racer? Nope. That would be awesome and dangerous.
The Dark Force, strangely, looks a lot like a Harley Dark Custom, but they’re somehow attracting riders at polar ends of the spectrum. (I am wondering who will be quicker to send us a Cease & Desist letter — Lucasfilm or Harley-Davidson? Sadly, that’s the most serious thing I have written so far in this article.)
I guess marketing is winning. Stunters on FXRs will wear full-face helmets, "street trackers" will continue to be a made-up false nostalgia item, and I guess two dozen people or so will buy a Dork Force.
Nerds, claim your prize. Get these things off sales floors so I can stop snickering at you.