Good topic, Mordeth.
I’d like to separate the ideas of “Harley” and “cruiser”, if that’s OK…
First, let’s clear something up. Recently I’ve noticed that newspapers in Taiwan refer to ANY bike over 250cc as being a “Ha Lei Ji Che”, which is the Chinese translation of “Harley Davidson Motorcycle”. They should be saying “Zhong Xing Ji Che”, or “heavy-type motorcycle”. A Yamaha R1, for instance, is a “Harley” according to Taiwanese media. They have boiled down “big bikes” to the lowest common denominator: “Harley”. If this happens again, get back at them: call up the newspaper and say “You Japanese people are all the same.”
The Harley Davidson market is very special and nearly fixed, but not exclusive. HD makes bikes for people who enjoy the “tradition” of riding a very heavy motorcycle with its inherent vibration and unique exhaust cadence. The very traditional nature of the bikes is what attracts their customers. Non-HD riders may switch to HD, or vice versa, but that’s probably rare. If someone gave me a HD motorcycle, I’d accept it, but if it were to cost more than NT$1000, I don’t want one.
They always incorportate the newest technology into sports bikes first, don’t they? That comes from racing technology. Knowing all the things the bike is doing while you’re riding, to me, is nearly half the fun. I love sports bikes. As for being “the loudest”? I hope not. My dream bike is an R1 and I’d like to take off from a restaurant stop somewhere and show people how non-invasive I am by keeping the stock pipe. A few more HP isn’t really that necessary for me.
Ah, like the Yamaha FZ1000 Fazer which skylarkpuma mentioned in his list. Great. I’ve seen a few. NICE bikes. I haven’t ridden one, though–unless Yamaha FZ-150 “Breeze” counts. (Question: Were these bikes called “street fighters” for a while, or am I thinking of something else?)
The expressways are opening up in the near future? First I’ve heard of this. Is that cruiser-only or other bikes, too? Mordeth said: “I’d rather do 8 hours on a sportsbike than on a Harley.” Me, too!!! I would LOVE to spend 8 minutes on a Harley–just for fun. Then, I’d love to spend 8 hours on something like a Shadow 1100 or Kawasaki Vulcan, and after that: 8 days on a Honda Gold Wing. (Ah…hell! Come to think of it I’d like to spend 8 days each on all of those bikes, except for the Harley. )
Last week, I spent 2 days with SatelliteTV up at his place in A Li Shan. I rode around on his “Hartford” VR-150 or something. Mordeth said “get ready to “re-learn” how to ride.” That’s true. I could not force myself to lean into turns with a narrow knobby tire. I just didn’t trust it. Later, I tried to follow SatelliteTV when he was riding his bike and he totally left me. He laid that thing down low in turns and had to “wait” for me to catch up.
I am in the process of purchasing a cruiser to eventually replace my “in town” bike and I think that Mordeth has a really good point about supermoto being a good bike for driving in town. I have recently thought that I would like that kind of bike for in-town driving, and maybe a trip to the outback once in a while. Mordeth’s idea of supermoto is a good one, and he’s not alone
Questions for Mordeth:
- How dangerous are knobby tires on pavement or “twisties”?
- Would you recommend changing to “normal” or even “less knobby” tires for everyday driving? (To increase road-grip and maybe reduce noise/vibration?)
- When you said you’d have to “re-learn how to ride”, what did you really mean? (Does that mean I’m a good rider who figured it out right away, or a very lucky bastard who didn’t think it was much different than other bikes)?
In the more-affordable, in-town department, Kymco (as an example):
Last year, if you looked at www.kymcorider.com, they had the relatively new Venox model (250cc V-twin cruiser) as well as the old Zing remodeled as the single-cylinder 150cc but with dual exhaust “Hipster” and then there was a sort-of supermoto bike there. Now it’s gone. Does anybody remember what that was called. It seemed to have a cheesy name and I imagine that being the reason that I have never seen one on the road.
I’m thinking that something like a supermoto might be the bike that will replace my current in-town bike.