MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Memories, Emotions and the Future of Motorcycling

The interest our readers showed in our Best Looking Retro Standard article (we now have over 200 comments posted) made me think about the impact the look and feel of internal combustion motors has had on motorcyclists.  Specifically, if the future means that the engines driving motorcycles and scooters forward are electric, with the look of a battery pack and the feel of a spinning top without the pulse of periodic combustion, what will that mean? 

We are all drawn to things we are familiar with that made us comfortable or brought us pleasure in the past.  The beat of our mother’s heart first and foremost.  The look and feel of our first motorcycle as we walked up to it, and then felt it alive between our legs.

The “retro” bikes we admire might someday be illegal or simply impractical.  The type of fuel available might change, or traditional gasoline might simply become too expensive.

Much of what we love about motorcycles will have to be redefined . . . but the “heartbeat” or “pulse” of the internal combustion engine will be difficult to replace. 

80 Comments

  1. Johnne Lee says:

    Am I the only physics major who read this article?

    I’ve seen no predictions of a quantum leap in the current paradigm of the laws of physics. Without that leap batteries will not change much at all.

    Sorry!

    • That’s exactly correct. There is no future for electric powered vehicles in the US beyond commmuter vehicle status. Even if they eventually install the 50,000 or so recharging stations that gets bandied about occasionally it still takes hours (minimum) to recharge. American consumers will not tolerate this. And as far as oil supply it’s a subject I’m interested in. We are a dozen generations away from a true “oil crisis”. What we’re getting today is a manufactureed one for political purposes. The cheap and easy oil is getting leaner. But there’s plenty of oil that we simply aren’t allowing ourselves access to. It’ll change in time.

      And oh by the way. Even if we do go all electric. Where does electricity come from?

    • Mark Pearson says:

      I’ve got zero scientific credentials but I’m an internal combustion enthusiast and think it’s a real shame we’re throwing away 100 years of development just because we can’t figure out a cleaner burning fuel.

      I’m not convinced electric’s the way to go. I’m wondering if there’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing going on – people don’t hear or smell an electric vehicle so they assume it’s polluting less. However, as has been pointed out, there’s a nuclear or coal-fire plant somewhere brewing up the go-go juice.

  2. Neil says:

    I rode my first bike in 1974, a two stroke Kami 80 with a Fuji engine from Taiwan, same engine as the Hodakas. The pulse of the engine is certainly important to me, bit of vibration thrown in for character. I enjoyed the top end hit of the two stroke and its chain saw buzzing. – I now have a Suzuki TU250 which has a nice single cylinder flavor to it, smooth but it just lets you know it’s there until the high rpms when it sings along and sends pulses through the frame to say it is speeding up. I also bought a Harley Nightster from a friend and it certainly lets me know it is there. It is the essence of mechanical and very motor…cycle with its shaking cylinders at low rpms and long throw shifting like a truck. The torque blends rider and motor together in a nice little chugging symphony of physics. – I can imagine riding an electric bike and perhaps programming in some computer driven whirr of some kind, though perhaps that it a bit over the top. We should all enjoy our internal combustion engines while we have them as well as the reality of other parts of life which in the future may become more virtual.

  3. Bullet Bob says:

    I will miss gas engines when gas runs out but I will buy electric and never regret it!

    That Griso is gorgeous!!

  4. I,ve been riding motorcycles for 40 years and also fly R.C. airplanes and have been watching most of the fellows in the club switch over to electric planes. They are clean, noiseless, cheap to run and require no field box or clean up at the end of the day. I’ve been holding out but must admit getting very envious. The glow fuel up in Canada alone is about 25.00 a gallon. So eletrics have come a along way and I will never say that i wouldn’t buy a electric motorcycle as things are changing fast.

  5. Lee says:

    The Top Ten electric motorcycle holiday list:
    10)Best “hop up part of the year” a Yoshimura high output capacitor
    9) Your riding buddies won’t be circling gas stations looking for high test anymore
    8) Ride by wire throttle no longer an “option”
    7) Shell replaced by General Electric as a primary race sponsor
    6) The racing grid includes Rossi on a Hover followed by Stoner on a DeWalt and Hayden on Dirt Devil
    5) Oil leaks replaced by short circuits
    4) If you crash on the race track everyone will be able to hear your scream
    3) Mental picture- Assless chaps, sleeveless biker vests, tatoos and volt meters! Need I say more?
    2) A new meaning to the term “chick magnet”

    And the top electric motorcycle quote…
    1) Is that a 220v plug under your seat or are you just happy to see me?

    Give me the Guzzi!!

  6. Random says:

    If US import taxes weren’t so high you’d be already riding ethanol-fueled bikes too, and laughing at the hybrid/eletric “future”.

  7. Ed Chambers says:

    NO thanks, unless they create an electric bike that’s insanely fast and ridiculously cheap there’s no reason to own one.We already have the technology to produce ethanol and biodiesel forever should we actually run out of fossil fuels so why bother?.

    • azi says:

      Future electric bikes have the potential to be much faster, lighter and more powerful than any current motorcycle running on flammable substances. The only thing holding us back at the moment is battery and/or fuel cell technology.

      As for the “insanely cheap” comment, one only has to look at any electronic tech gadget. Wait long enough and the most exotic item will be sold in supermarkets for peanuts. Remember when DVD first came out?

      • mr dirtrider says:

        To say that bikes will be lighter and more powerfull is counting on technology that doesn’t yet exist. The amount of power stored in an 8 pound gallon of gasoline is huge. There are no batteries at the moment that come close.

      • Honker says:

        Remember when 8 tracks came out? Cassette tapes? Walkman’s?
        Man do i feel old.
        Crap I built my first computer, probably a quarter of you people posting are using a smart phone or wireless internet connection of some type.Just agreeing that technology changes, usually for the better.
        Who knows where electric motors and battery technology.

  8. CraigE says:

    That Guzzi pushes all of my (old) buttons…

  9. Youth says:

    I think motorcycles are more of culture than just a mode of transportation. Sure, you can have an electric bicycle or even a scooter/moped, but electric motorcycles just don’t fly. The vibration on the motorcycle is the “heart beat” of the engine. Different bikes have different heart beats. I may not like Harleys, but they have that distinctive “beat” that makes them Harley. And you can’t take that away. Different crank configurations provides different beats that provide unique beats for these bikes. Making them electric is nothing more than soulless vehicles on 2 wheels. And I also think fins on air or oil-air cool engine on cowless bikes make them part of beauty. That’s why cafe racers rock.

  10. MarkF says:

    That Guzzi is a beauty. While normally avoid spokes (except the BMW tubeless) for a non-touring bike the look outweigh the inconvenience. As for electric bikes, I have no interest but I do want a “retro” scooter and I could settle for an electric that looked like a Vespa.

  11. ben says:

    Larry, I am 36. As I said, my interest in electric bikes is less than zero, I will never spend dime one on an electric powered bike, much to the chagrin of those who are trying to shove electric powered vehicles of all kinds down my throat. To me an electric bike is a pathetic substitute for the real thing, to me it is a no go, like suggesting a gelding mule can take the place of Secretariat. never

  12. KENT says:

    as much as i wish to embrace the electric motorcycle , When that time comes i hope that I am either in my grave or long done with motorcycling , I have been riding for over 30 years and own 10 motor cycles now . I will if need be run them until i cannot buy , find , use used or make parts . There are things that make motorcycles more than just transportation , and the rumbleing heart beat of a internal combustion engine is at the very core . Change this and you will loose thousands of riders. But heck it does not seem like common sense runs rampant thease days . Hech try to figure out how to run them on natural gas collected off of garbage piles would be better than electric . North america can barely make enough electricity to keep from browning out now.

  13. Brinskee says:

    Who knows when/what is going to happen; for now the color/look of that Griso is working magic on me… wow

  14. William says:

    Man, that Moto Guzzi is a good looking bike. It looks like all business.

    I could see myself getting an electric ride for the daily commute. I don’t have to get on any highways so it could work for me. Charging time might be an issue. If you run low on gas, it takes less than 10 minutes to fill up the tank and you’re back on the road. I doubt you can charge up a motorcycle’s battery in 10 minutes, so you better not forget to plug it in every night.

    With many motorcycles already getting in the 40-60 mile per gallon range, I think the near future of motorcycles will be in squeezing out even more fuel efficiency out of internal combustion engines. 400cc – 600cc bikes getting 100 miles per gallon would be more likely to sell to U.S. consumers than an outright switch to electric. But then, who knows what the lawmakers in Washington will come up with.

    I have been contemplating a Ninja 250 for commuting and am only waiting until the new Honda 250 comes out to see if I like the way it fits me better. I’ll still keep my bigger bikes as long as I can.

  15. vtx1300 says:

    I will miss the loud rumble of a big V-Twin, the high pich scream of 16,000 rpms from your inline four sport bike, or the loud thump of a motorcross single, the distinct sound a triple makes and unique sound of a boxer configuration. Something an electric bike will never be able to mimic.

    I agree with others that two wheels is two wheels and as long as it has performance in it’s description I’m game!

    Be curious to see how Harley handles the electric age? I know people are hardcore bikers and won’t ever switch from a Harley to an electric but if a lot of your GREEN poloticians have their way all gas powered vehicles will be banned. Then what?

  16. Bob says:

    Comparing an electric motorcycle to an internal combustion powered motorcycle is like comparing the internal combustion bike to a horse. I’m sure that in 1900 a motorcycle seemed impractical. The roads were bad and you had to find gas somewhere when you ran out. The horse had no problems with the bad roads and he ate grass, and drank from a stream. You could ride a horse across the country. I’m not sure when the first motorcycle crossed the country. I’m sure a lot of people loved their horses, and believed that they could never be replaced by a motorized cycle. To them, their horse was sacred. I’m of the generation that I believe that internal combustions engine motorcycles are sacred. Triumphs, Guzzis, Nortons, Sportsters, BSA, Enfield, BMW, Japanese bikes, etc. etc. etc. Gifts from the gods, like a good horse used to be.

  17. Don says:

    Tron = schmon.

  18. Bigoted Biker says:

    Silent, electric, no exhaust, gee-whiz bikes? Little, itty bitty engines wrapped around a bunch of comospolitan looking plastic? It will happen. Call it the continuation of the homo-ifcation of America. First, it was metro-sexuals, then it was paying them millions of dollars a year to hit a ball with a stick when they are nolonger good at it (Derrick Jeter), and now it will be metro-sexual, scooter looking motorcycles. The world can’t come to an end soon enough.

    I suppose we could glue real engine looking, chrome plastic parts on to these electric bikes, add a digital sound system with the blip, blip of a real engine, and have phony fumes come out of the exhaust, but then wouldn’t we feel enough more ghey knowing that all of this is fake and not real, no matter how good it make look and sound?

    To help answer this question (and to expose our latent, unmanly hypocrisy), we may want to ask ourselves another analogous, related question which we have all already experienced: Do we feel more ghey when we go to the local strip club and oggle at the girls with the phony, plastic boobs, silicon injected lips, nose jobs, and the butt lifts and implants?

    Given that we actually go and pay our hard earn money to see and casually molest girls with what we all know beforehand to be phony accessories – I’ve never known a strip club to go out of business – why wouldn’t the same logic work when it comes to our bikes? As long as the fake, glued on engine display, the sound, and the exhaust fumes look and sound right, as long as it impresses our friends with the receding hair lines and the over the hill chicks at the bar, what does real or fake really matter? In that case, who is really gonna care?

  19. Bill Chwala says:

    Until there is a battery technology breakthrough that allows electric vehicles the same range, performance as a gasoline vehicle, as well as a recharge time similar to the time it takes to fill a gas tank, electric vehicles will never catch on in the broader marketplace. They only make sense in a city/commuter environment where there will be enough time between rides to recharge a battery. Any ride longer than 50-60 miles requires the range only a gasoline vehicle can currently provide. The currently available lithium batteries, while much better the a lead acid battery, still can’t provide the range a full tank of gas can. Especially under high load and/or full throttle conditions. I see the internal combustion engine being around for the next 50-100 years. Hopefully they are even more efficient by then, but they will still be around….

  20. Jeremy in TX says:

    I love internal combustion engines and the variety of configurations that manufacturers employ in motorcycles to achive the balance of torque, power, delivery, character and design. But I am sure there will be a variety of of different solutions and configurations in electric world eventually that manufacturers will put out there to accomplish the task of differentiation.

    I must admit that electrical whirr will never excite me the way induction noise or an exhaust note do, but I’ll have nothing against eventually replacing my ride with an electrical powertrains so long as the e-bike offers comparable erliability, performance and range and it doesn’t take much longer to charge up as it does to fill up with gas.

  21. ABQ says:

    I agree with Eric S :
    “As far as sound goes, totally silent vehicles are turning out to be a problem with pedestrians who cross the road without looking because they do not hear anything coming. I suspect that will be remedied quite soon. Apparently loud pipes may save lives after all. Ebikes will be required to be equipped with their own sound systems, and no doubt the rider will be able to download their choice of sounds of anything ranging from the Millenium Falcon to the thunder of a Norton Manx, except of course the sound of the ™45 degree V twin The absence of vibration should be no obstacle either, as there is a large established industry dedicated to the delivery of electrically powered vibration on demand.”
    Entrepenuers, start your engine noises!

    • Saddleup says:

      ABQ, the sound generation issue was remedied long ago with the advent of playing cards being “played” by the spokes, with the cards held in place by clothes pins. By using this application and not having a sound system draining the battery, the Awesome E-biker might make it one outlet further down de road.

  22. Vrooom says:

    That Griso is gorgeous, probably better looking than anything in your classic bikes article. Personally, as soon as it becomes affordable and practical, I’ll be on the electric bike wagon for at least one of my bikes. Gotta be able to do some adventure touring too. The joy I get from riding comes from smelling the environment, the sensation of leaning through a perfect turn, the rush of accelerating out of it. An electric bike should provide all of that, in fact near silence would make it better.

  23. PN says:

    We’ll all adjust when bikes go electric or hybrid and it will be just as much fun as ever. With all the torque, riding will actually be a blast. Bikes will be lighter too. Electrics or hybrids will soon be perceived as having character too, and life will go on. The experience of riding, of being fully present and alive in the moment, won’t change. I’m sure all the manufacturers are looking at the future and making changes accordingly. Probably the same question was asked in the American market by the importers. Would Americans ride small two-strokes and 200cc Hondas when their understanding of a motorcycle was an Indian or a Harley? We all know how that turned out.

  24. Eric says:

    First off, I must say – that Griso is sweet. As for electric bikes – sure, I would try one. I don’t need thumps or vibrations or the smell of gas to remind me that I am on two wheels. As long as I can still get a rush from opening the throttle, can enter a corner too fast, and carry gear on it – an electric bike will be fine. FWIW – I’m 46 and have been riding since I was 15.

  25. RichBinAZ says:

    Electric bikes can be different – google the e-Tracer that just won the X-prize. Perhaps this one isn’t that practical and really needs a segway stability gyro that turns off when you get going (oooh regenerative balancing – I should patent that)
    The Guzzi is very nice – how much does that muffler cost?

  26. Justin says:

    When gas was $5 a gallon, more and more people started turning to motorcycles and scooters. I was already moto-commuting or I would have started then.

    The point being: we motorcyclists will be the last ones to cling to our internal combustion engines in large part because we will the last ones who can afford it.

    • Justin says:

      that said, most of what I find beautiful about the Guzzi above is not related to the engine. I think the exhaust looks great, but the cylinders look like they belong on the front of a biplane. this appeals to many, I know, but not me. it’s a rolling anachronism. also, I don’t know what that is on the left side under the throttle body, but it looks like the starter motor off of a diesel pickup truck.

      I think I’d find this bike more attractive with a battery pack and electric drive that was given the same design treatment as the bodywork, the frame, the lighting, the stance, etc. or a similar design treatment that cohesively integrated the electric drivetrain.

      bear in mind that, because they have fewer moving parts, electric vehicles have fewer geometric restrictions on the layout of their drivetrains. obviously, a decent battery pack has to take up a significant amount of space, but the shape/configuration can be engineered and/or designed to suit the machine it’s placed inside, instead of the other way around. electric motors are compact. the end result is that an electric-powered vehicle offers a greater degree of design latitude, which allows for a more symbiotic relationship between engineers and designers. form will still follow function, but it will no longer be a slave to function.

      obviously, to find beauty in such a machine, you would have to be able to dismiss traditional expectations as to what a motorcycle ‘should’ look like. attempts to replicate the appearance of ICE motorcycles are eventually going to seem cheesy and contrived.

      as for the aural stimuli. . .yeah it is hard to beat that v-twin tiger’s purr. but we don’t really know what is going to replace that sound until it happens. electric cars are quiet in part because the drivetrain is surrounded by a car with all the sheetmetal and sound-deadening material that comes with that. I have a friend who drives a hand-built carbon-bodied electric car that makes a distinct sound while in operation. it’s hardly the burble of a pushrod v8 or the howl of a turbo four but you can tell when it’s pulling for sure.

      a hundred years ago, that sound that we’ve grown up with and learned to love was largely considered to be a nuisance: an unnecessarily violent cacophony.

      I love [engine]cycles, biplanes, and diesel pickup trucks. They make me happy. But none of them is essential to my happiness.

  27. GMan38 says:

    I didn’t even read the text to this article. Just spent my time drooling over that gorgeous Griso.

  28. Larry Geiger says:

    How old are you Ben?

  29. Don E. says:

    I had a 1972 Triumph T100R. It was a love/hate relationship with that bike. When it ran, it was the best bike in the world. Getting on the torque in the turns would put that soulful vibration through the bike. It was sheer pleasure. On the other hand, fixing the electrical system weekly, fiddling with the carbs, and tightening every nut and bolt got to be a hassle. I sold it after 4 years and got a CB750. It was a fast bike compared to the T100R. It was too smooth, it didn’t have the soul that the Triumph had. Twisting the throttle made it go fast but didn’t put that torque driven beat through the frame and into me. I sold it shortly afterward and didn’t get another motorcycle for over 20 years.

  30. Scott says:

    I LOVE watching the development of the electric bikes, but I think we’re at least 20 years away from electric bikes that will truly rival ICE’s in terms of performance and sales.

    And even then, there will be a place for good old fashioned bikes. Just look at Harley. If Harley can survive, the way they have, for over 100 years, I think that just illustrates the complex sensations that Motorcycle riders long for. Motorcycles aren’t just about getting from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. So even when electric bikes are cheaper, quieter and more efficient than ICE’s there will be old-timers (probably me for one) who will still like a bike that reminds them of their youth.

  31. Jim says:

    To paraphrase Sam Clemens, the death of the ICE motorcycle is greatly exaggerated.

    Regarding electric powered bikes, nah, one will never be parked in my garage. As an earlier commenter alluded to, thumpers and twins are the essence of motorcycling, the aural and tactile icing on the motive cake.

  32. harry says:

    The Suzuki GSX1250FA while not a retro has the ergos. Please test one and dont call it Bandit.

  33. Barna Sooki says:

    I think electric bikes can one day be exciting and fun to ride if our “freedom” to ride and let it rip once in a while is not taken away. No doubt that by the time that happens, speed and law enforcement will be so high tech that it will take the joy out of riding for pleasure. I am accepting of new technology, but will no doubt miss what we have now.

  34. Ron Gordon says:

    At 67 with 47 years of motorcycling I have concluded that thumpers and twins add so much to the experience that I can’t see myself ever owning a 4 cly. again. If the shake and lump could be added to an electric powered motorcycle I would have to think about owning one.

  35. GP says:

    As a Trail Rider, I welcome e-bikes. The fewer people who know I am out there, the better. It seems we are just waiting on battery technology. The motors and controllers are avaiable now.

  36. Mickey says:

    One of my favorite sayings my by favorite motorcycles author Peter Egan, goes

    “What of all things on earth could possibly be more perfect than to have a motorcycle, and to wheel it out of the garage early on a Sunday morning, wipe it off with a rag, check the oil, ride quietly through town to warm it up, then go hurtling down an empty country road, listening to the engine and feeling the wind in your face?”

    Pretty much sums it up for me.

    However, I thought I’d never own an automatic motorcycle, but after riding my wife’s maxi scooter I can certainly see myself on one someday. I guess the same goes for an electric motorcycle. I can’t see it at this point, but when they develop them enough for cross country touring, or at least several hundred miles of backroad strafing, I’ll ride one (if I’m still alive, after all I’m in my 60’s now, so they’d better hurry up)and make the decision then whether to own one or not. It would have to be a “standard” though, and not some goofy Star Wars iteration.

    I’m just glad we are no longer riding horses.

  37. nick says:

    Todd sorry but I agree w Mike D. I’ve owned over 25 bikes from two stroke twins and fours (RD250LC,RG250, RG500 etc) ….. to TL series, ZX series and Busa. I was really disappointed recently when I tracked down a good RD350LC (first love) and in hindsight I wish I hadn’t tarnished those good memories with wake up dose of reality. Yes there are soul less bikes out there- there always have been!! But there are plenty to make your senses stand on end- especially when you add pipes to any of the modern twins and triples.

    Favorite bike = piped TL1000s and the smoke spitting 4 cylinder RG500.

  38. Saddleup says:

    Seconding ben’s comments. Electric-powered contraptions are for indoctrinated lemmings and mainstream America- the world of four wheels. Motorcycling going pop-culture has not served the traditional enthusiast well.

  39. Paso100 says:

    The coming age of e-cycles is on the horizon, like it or not. Consider history: the first motorcycles were simply mew-fangled internal combustion engines in a old and recognizable bicycle frame; that is what people knew and it’s always easier to combine new technology with current platforms. So now we have e-motors in basically motorcycle frames. I’m looking forward to some creative types who will redefine the entire look and concept of “bike” to go along with the new power source. Just as no one confuses a bicycle with a motorcycle, how about an e-cycle that features a never-before-seen chassis, suspension, ergonomics, etc.? Now THAT would catapult the next generation of electric cycles into the “I want to have it” category, instead of the “almost as good as” category.

  40. DE says:

    RE: E-bike sounds – If I recall correctly, one could clip a baseball card (or playing card) to the bicycle front fork so that the wheel spokes would flip the card edge. Talk about old school!

  41. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    We had our romance with steam, pertrol, bring on the new

  42. ben says:

    I will never own an electric powered bike. It will not happen, my interest in electric bikes is less than zero

  43. Dave B says:

    I don’t believe that soul or passion will fade as long as engineering continues to push the boundaries of the riders abilities. I love riding my ’68 trophy as I can ride it to the max of my fading skill. And I love looking at and talking about steam locomotives and Model T fords. But all these are for rare occasions to enjoy. The future kids may wax lyric about pulling 2 g’s on a fully articulating 3 wheel plasma drive 400 HP bike. As long as they are hanging on to the outside it will still be a motorcycle.

  44. Old town hick says:

    Current riders are stired by the sounds, vibes, and smells of internal combustion. While configurations and numbers of pistons/cylinders vary, almost all of us have an emotional connection to the explosions within those chambers. These characteristics have been hard-wired into our brains since youth. We, in effect, cannot help but enjoy the CURRENT motorcycle experience.

    As a younger generation matures among hybrid and completely electric vehicles, the “standards” of what a motorcycle experience is…will change. A person born today may shake their head in 25 or 30 years at what dad or grandpa find so enduring: two-wheeled vehicles that actually require gasoline, have gears, and emit sounds unlike anything currently available as new. These changes are not right or wrong, but they are inevitable.

    • azi says:

      I agree totally. This is a natural progression. We would all enjoy the romanticism of going on a steam locomotive joy ride on a lazy weekend, but it certainly wouldn’t be practical for the daily commute to work. The paradigm will change for the next generation too.

      This change has already happened for many other things. Analogue vs digital music / photography / moving picture, paper letter writing vs e-mail, transcontinental sea travel vs jumbo jets. We all lose a quality or characteristics when the old is gone, but have the potential to gain many new things with its replacement.

    • Michael says:

      I couldn’t agree more! WHen I rode two-stroke dirt bikes, part of the experience was the smell. Years later, I don’t really miss the smell!

      I would love to try an Empluse. I think it could be a lot of fun for my cross-town commute.

      Everything changes, and I have been riding almost 40 of my 49 years!

  45. Travman says:

    Any Griso is a handsome bike, but this Tenni version just takes it to a whole new level of good-looking. You guys need to get a hold of one to test just so we can enjoy some fresh pictures of this gorgeous bike.

    • MikeD says:

      I wouldn’t own it(spokes) but it sure is PRETTY to stare at. Is that REAL Leather on the seat ? Delicious…

      • MGNorge says:

        Oh, I don’t know. I rode on spokes for years and only had a few loosen on a dual-sport years ago. Besides that the spokes on my bikes were just fine. And if you’re talking looks, and maybe especially retro, spokes have few peers. I believe what you see above is the real McCoy. Guzzi blogs are alive with this model.

      • Gary S. says:

        It is interesting to note that on some new motorcycles, spoked wheels are a somewhat pricey option. On the BMW big GS, the spoked wheels are said to be stronger and better for off road than the std. (cast?) wheels. In my opinion, for road bikes, it is an appearance item where some are willing to pay a premium for the look (certainly desireable on a retro), but it is not an inherently inferior wheel construction.

        • Bob says:

          I’m pretty sure that the spoked wheel is preferable to a cast wheel on bikes intended for adventure touring, like the GS, because certain road conditions that might result in a broken spoke would crack a cast wheel. If this happens someplace remote like Tierra del Fuego or Zambia, the rider with the broken spoke can theoretically repair the wheel while the rider with the case wheel is sh*t out of luck.

          In the case of Harleys or (new) classic Bonnevilles, the spoked wheel is a retro styling element and not associated with any functional issues.

    • Jamboa says:

      Yes the Griso is a looker an attention hoe but I have owned this bike. It is only for the Guzzi enthusiant willing to put up with it’s quirks. The reason I unloaded mine at great financial loss was the embarrsing dry clutch and drive line slop.

      • 2 Guzzi says:

        So you didn’t like a shaft drive as much as a chain and that’s a quirk. And nothing wrong with the clutches on Guzzis they last 100000 miles or more

  46. Frank L says:

    The most recognizable sound in motorcycling is the Harley-Davidson “potato-potato-potato” exhaust sound. It’s very similar to the lumpy out-of-sync beat that the human heart makes. Funny about that…. Maybe hearing that heartbeat for 9 months prior to being born has something to do with the amazing loyalty H-D riders have toward their motorcycles and their sound. Maybe….

    • Dave says:

      Which may explain why H-D pillions are referred to as “mommas” and there is a preference for said “mommas” to be amply endowed.

  47. todd says:

    I think modern bike are just as devoid of soul vs. old bikes just as much as electric bikes will be against the current bikes. Like a frog in boiling water, people are content with less and less soul as the years go by.

    -todd

    • MikeD says:

      Meh, is all relative and just opinions, i beg to differ with yours. My 03 SV1000N has plenty of “soul moving racket” that is, lmao, w/e that means…i guess i could be on your shoes 30 years from now saying the same u just did but about electric bikes.

    • Rich says:

      I don’t believe humans have souls much less motorcycles. Perhaps you mean character?

  48. Thoppa says:

    I think we can look forward to a multi-format future; an electric commuter, a gasoline tourer and some hybrids.

  49. Wilson R says:

    I don’t think that electric will stir the soul like internal combustion has from the very beginning. I do believe that electric bikes will be fast and reliable, but devoid of any soul. I hope to keep riding gasoline powered bikes until I die.

  50. Erik S says:

    Talking to a bicycle riding acquaintance the other day, I mentioned that if I did not have a motorcycle, I would ride a legmotor (or a scooter, or anything else with two wheels, even gasp, a Segway). Riding a two wheeler is flying on the ground regardless of motivating force. I could be happy with an ebike that had decent range and power. Will electric bikes inspire the same passion as their IC ancestors? It might be like steam locomotives vs diesel electric, a diesel locomotive is very cool but no match for the charisma of a steam engine, but it does the job.
    As far as sound goes, totally silent vehicles are turning out to be a problem with pedestrians who cross the road without looking because they do not hear anything coming. I suspect that will be remedied quite soon. Apparently loud pipes may save lives after all. Ebikes will be required to be equipped with their own sound systems, and no doubt the rider will be able to download their choice of sounds of anything ranging from the Millenium Falcon to the thunder of a Norton Manx, except of course the sound of the ™45 degree V twin :-) The absence of vibration should be no obstacle either, as there is a large established industry dedicated to the delivery of electrically powered vibration on demand.

    • MikeD says:

      The absence of vibration should be no obstacle either, as there is a large established industry dedicated to the delivery of electrically powered vibration on demand.

      LMAO !!!!!!! Priceless.