Apr 042012

Motorcycle lovers agree: supreme function, beautiful form, and the need for speed are what fuel their fire and love for the motorcycle. Difficult to understand for those outside bike culture, motorcycles are loved and cherished by their owners.

There are, however, some really stupid problems with them. Enjoy this look at this list of 10 worrisome elements of motorcycle design.

1. Motorcycles Have Two Wheels
Can’t even stand up on its own — what is that about?! Although an impressive strata of physics and engineering goes into making motorcycles run, it’s a bit worrisome that a motorized vehicle with the capacity to tour the world can’t stand up on its own. And aren’t kickstands on a bike just a little bit dorky?

2. They’ve Gotten Fat
Everyone puts on weight as they get older, but motorcycles are ruling the road. Much like the injection and fire-paced popularization of the Sport Utility Vehicle into American car culture, huge motorcycles are becoming increasingly popular, especially in suburban populations. Why chunk up the slim lines of cafe cycles and the languid angles of an Easy Rider-style bike?

3. The Cyborg Segway
The Deus Ex Machina is a wearable motorcycle concept, and looks like a human-Segway hybrid. Although the future is amazing and cyborgs are certainly hip, it’s unclear whether turning your body into a motorcycle is in any way a safe way to travel.

4. The Harley Wobble
The Harley Wobble is a design flaw noticed in the early 2000s, and is a distinctive wobble that occurs when riding, usually on curves. These bikes tend to shake from side to side — while on sport bikes and other brands of road cycles, this rarely occurs.

5. Disc Locks
Ever had your wheel lock up and been shot face first off your motorcycle? This embarrassing fumble probably occurred because you forgot to disengage your disc locks. It’s OK, rookie. It happens.

6. Crotch Rockets
This entire class of motorcycle? Total design flaw. It seems like the Ducati 999 and the Yamaha YZF-R1 were designed to give jerks and wannabe stunters the idea that they could act like they run the road.

7. The Motorcycle-Tank Mashup
Leave it to 1930s France to design a bothersome motorcycle. Perhaps not at the top of their game (you know what happened a few years later, right?), the 1937 military designed tank-motorcycle hybrid is more operable (read: barely) in targeted reproduction today than it was 80 years ago.

 8. Bad Handling
The 1972-1972 Kawaski 750 Triple 1V and H2s were known as widowmakers. Honda, Kawasaki, the Ariel Arrow, Moto Guzzi: all of these bikes (and many more) have had various recalls, customer complaints, and accidents caused because of poor vibration frequency, shocks, acceleration, weak swing arms, and more. Bikers beware: although the mystique of the wind in your hair and the road grumbling below are intoxicating, don’t be surprised if your dream bike is more lemon-scented than fresh.

9. Invisibility Cloaks
The Moto Undone, an “invisible” motorcycle created by Joey Ruiter is as fascinating as it is beautiful. But worrisome here is the idea that your fellow motorists can’t see your perimeters. Good for a show-off and certainly fetching as a work of art, this abstract cycle is better for showcases and design philosophy than five o’clock traffic.

10. Inclement Weather
One of the biggest design flaws of motorcycles — and certainly a barrier of entry and interest for many non-cyclists — is the lack of weather protection on a motorcycle. While road rash and burns from poor exhaust routing are issues for some, the idea that there’s no true shield on a bike from the wind, rain, and other sinister elements leaves a lot of prospective riders, well, out in the cold.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.