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GOING THE DISTANCE
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
I was walking home from work yesterday. I work in the Village on 9th Street just off of University, and live two miles downtown from there in the lower reaches of the Lower Beast Side of NYC. I came across this bike on 2nd Avenue near St. Marks Place in the East Village. Let me describe it to you, and my gut reaction to it. It was a rigid, with no stretch and no rake. All black. A ubiquitous Evo motor made by S & S. Fat rear tire. Short springer. Extremely small aftermarket gas tank of indeterminate make. Very wide bars that seemed three feet wide. It appeared so low that it gave me the impression that its highest point seemed to end at my kneecaps. My first impression was that this bike could've been an art museum exhibit, it was pretty in that artsy way that so many in the culture slobber over these days. My last and overall impression, was that I hated this bike---with a passion.
Reactions to bike styles are subjective...."beauty is in the eye of the beholder"....and all that crap. I realize that. Subjective impressions of a bike's style are also viseral, and believe you me---my reaction was extremely visceral. My lasting impression of this bike is that it is so far from the traditional Harley 74 aesthetic, that it looks like an alien to me. I'm not rappin' illegal aliens from a third world country, because at least those are human. I'm talking aliens from outer space, man. It's Area 51 time, man. Scare me once, shame on you. Scare me twice, shame on me.
And those bars! Oh, man, those bars..
Low, wide, and in conjunction with the rider's mid-peg Frisco riding style, this thing is a motorized prescription for a chiropractic appointment, post haste! Do you have medical insurance? Fuggedabowdit.
It seems these days, that artsy aesthetics are all that's required to send some bikers into tizzies of ecstasy, replete with fainting spells that only ammonia capsules could remedy.
They have forgotten the faces of their fathers.
I'll tell ya what. This bike didn't spell "motorcycle" to me. I know that's ludicrous on its face, but that was my impression. It reminded me analogously, of an anorectic 80 pound model-wannabe, as opposed to a real woman. A real woman has meat in the right places. Her hips move in a sensuous way, eliciting arousal in red-blooded men. Real women have all of the traditional physical cues that make 'em women. Real Harleys have the right physical cues too, so that no matter what mods you see on 'em, you can say..."That's a Harley...."
If the real woman is a Harley 74, then this little bike I'm rappin' about, is a sad, food-deprived little girl that's about three years from an early demise. Think Karen Carpenter. No curves. Nothing to stimulate the woman centers in yer brain. Just an artsy exercise in aesthetics. If this bike was a girl, it might give you performance anxiety. It's not hardon material, unless you're an effete artsy aesthete, fresh outta art school.
Even though this bike had an Evo motor, you could not indict this bike of suggesting to anyone that it's a modified Harley-Davidson. There comes a line where if it's crossed, a clone no longer is tethered to Harleys, in any way, shape or traditional form. On one side of that borderline, is Harleyland. On the other side of the border, is Alienland.
This was the case with this bike. It screamed of an alienness, that takes it out of the Harley realm, and places it squarely in a galaxy, far, far away. I believe that in order to have any validity in the biker subculture, a motorcycle should have at least, minimal traditional Harley cues. Without these, it might as well be a Honda Shadow, or an electric car hybrid. It might win best in show at the various builder extravaganzas that the mainstream biker media pushes these days, but it ain't a Harley 74, baby! Without old school values and old school Harley aesthetics, it just doesn't fit into my idea of what a true motorcycle is all about. If there are two features that I react negatively to, they're extremely wide and low bars and fat rear tires. Save it for the Guggenheim, or the Biker Lites. Just gimme that 'ole time Harley Religion! Later.