As a test rider, I evaluate every kind of motorized two-wheel (sometimes three-wheel) contraption. I don’t have the chance to fall too deeply into any one subculture of motorcycling. If I have four test bikes in the garage, one might be a Superbike, one a V-Twin Cruiser, another a Dual Sport, and the fourth a small-displacement scooter with 12” wheels. I view my task as evaluating each fairly and objectively, while keeping in mind the attributes potential users of each type of bike would be most interested in learning about.
Sure, I have my own personal background and biases, just as all humans do, but I try to keep those out of an evaluation. Nevertheless, as a result of running MD for nearly 15 years, I have become keenly aware that motorcycling has several subcultures within the subculture motorcycling itself represents. From getting to know the manufacturers (everyone from Harley Davidson to Vespa), and reading thousands of reader email and comments, it is clear that motorcycling is not viewed as one big happy family by every rider. Many riders fiercely proclaim, and defend their particular group as separate, and even superior to others. They are proud of their Tribe.
Sometimes Tribes respect one another and cooperate, and sometimes they fight. Human nature, I suppose. If the United Nations has failed to end war, I don’t expect this little editorial to bring lasting peace among all the Tribes, and it won’t. What I do expect is that riders, and even non-riders, that visit this little corner of the web known as MotorcycleDaily.com, if they choose to speak to other enthusiasts here, show respect and remain aware that, despite the anonymity of the internet, you are talking to human beings with feelings (pretend it is face-to-face).
Finally, some, maybe even most, of us never joined a Tribe. Try not to feel superior. As I have ridden all these different machines, I have gained some sense as to why the Tribes formed. Tribes are not inherently bad.