Monday, September 17, 2012

The 'Project Bike' magazine rant

It was around 50 years, (just after the invention of electricity) that I made the decision to get the internet connected at home. My justification was simple; if I paid for internet I could get all my motorcycle content that was, and wouldn't have to buy bike mags anymore.
After a week of staring at a blank screen, mostly waiting while content downloaded after listening to my modem squeaking & squawking I got arsed with the whole thing and also realised that the internet couldn't replace my trusty motorcycle mags where I enjoyed them the most - the throne. Many moons and at least three Halleys Comet visits later and my en suite cupboard is still always stocked with bike content.

 I have no specific categories sport bike mags rub shoulders with easyrider and streetfighter magazines. You'll find bike buying guides and everything in between. Some I read cover to cover, over and over again, others I keep for that one article or bike feature that I occasionally like to re-read or reference. Some get quickly downgraded to fire starting duties.

 [frame src="" width="400" height="400" linkstyle="normal"] One common stalwart across motorcycle press is the humble project bike or "long termer". Usually a late or new model, given to, purchased from or loaned by the manufacturers. Popular makes and models reside with various staff while getting kitted out with this, that and everything in between. The issue is that too often bikes selected are common. A kawyamasukonda 1000 where the hardest decision is whether to go with the flamed pin-up girl riding atom bomb vs the green t-rex eating a hamburger tank protector.

The bike is chosen (or is it?) before the call is put out to umpteen different parts suppliers (usually advertisers within said bike mag) to see who is first to throw parts in the general direction before things are fitted in stages, weighed before and after, raced, dynoed & ridden before the bike is either returned to stock and handed back or sold to who knows who at god knows how much of a loss. I'm guessing after a years abuse from several journos most bikes are a few horses shot of their original figures and showing more wear than the average....well bear. Why can't we see more bikes that aren't just ridden but are personally owned by the people writing about them? I want to see the connection and love of their bikes while I read about it instead of "I got thrown the keys to project kawyamasukonda and commuted to the office for a week".

I want to see a bike purchased for a purpose then modified or upgraded to suit the specific needs. I want to read about weighing up the pros and cons of a modification or upgrade before during and after. I want to read about the guy that stewed over that exhaust decision for months before buying it out of his own pocket. I most of all I want to read about a failure or a negative review instead of bolting on said donated foo foo and citing the sales pitch. I want to see stuff cut off or welded and permanent changes made. A great read doesn't always have to start and end with the bike mods. Travel across the country and buy something old and shitty sight unseen off eBay with the challenge of getting it home. Buy a couple of beaters on a budget and compete in a grass-roots race series against one another. Motorcycling after all should be just as much the journey as it is about spanner spinning or your parts tally.

 You cannot give me a real world review of a bike you've been loaned for the week with specific instructions to keep in sellable condition. Similarly you cannot give me a real world review of a donated part by one of your advertisers. While some mags are still churning out the good reads many are not, this is sad because it either means that we the people buying the mags are either consumers before being motorcyclists or simply prefer to skip the text and look at the pictures. I for one am neither and hope to see more "real" put into "Real World" write ups. At Ducatiblog we pay for everything, we own. We chop, drop and ride our bikes like real people everyday.

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