– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Moto-Obsession or Why the Internet is Evil

I need to preface the following rant with the fact that I grew up around motorcycles. My father almost always had an off-road motorcycle in the garage, generally a Honda XR of one vintage or another. I was placed on a 50 cc Puch at the tender age of five. Somewhat surprisingly, my mother did not object too much, most likely because she had already been through the same exercise with my older brother. As I grew up, I graduated through a series of larger bikes, finally ending on a much-abused XR200.

Riding in the dirt was great. My brothers and I tore through the trails in Southern Ohio on family trips to my parent’s forty acres in Jackson. However, as we grew older those trips grew more infrequent, and quite frankly there are not a lot of places to ride a dirt bike in suburban Columbus, Ohio. I stopped paying attention to motorcycles in high school, my attention snatched away by the back issues of Car and Driver at the library. This situation prevailed for a few years, until my freshman year of college.

My father began to collect vintage Japanese motorcycles of the type that he wished he had been able to own decades before. This collection piqued my interest, and one summer I attended the Vintage Motorcycle Days held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. This event attracts tens of thousands of people every year, and they bring every sort of vintage iron you can imagine, ranging from bone stock 1923 Harleys to Ducati Pantahs. This immense collection of motorcycles started the wheels in my head turning. Riding off-road was fun, but riding on the road might be even better. Still, I remained a rational human being, capable of non-motorcycling related thoughts. This happy state of affairs lasted for another few years, until shortly after my graduation from college.

One day I was minding my own business at work (i.e. surfing the internet) when I stumbled across theweb sitee for BMW motorcycles. This was the beginning of the end. Within weeks (after a perfectly innocent visit to a nearby motorcycle dealership) I was the proud owner of a lightly used 2000 Suzuki SV650. Let’s just say that while I still own that bike, it has since acquired friends.

Moto-obsession can strike without warning. You can fight it if you want, but in the end, you don’t stand a chance. One day you’ll wake up and walk out into your driveway to find that your subconscious got up in the middle of the night and drove to Detroit to buy a ragged-out DR650 with a milk crate bolted to the back. As a man living with this crippling disability, I offer the following tip to reduce the disease’s impact.

Do not, under any circumstances, sit down at a computer connected to the internet. The World Wide Web is chock-full of motorcycle information. You’ll find yourself spending hours researching accessories for your motorcycle. Then you’ll spend hours researching accessories for motorcycles that you may one day own. Then you’ll spend hours researching accessories for bikes that you not only do not own, but that you have no actual interest in owning. You’ll become frighteningly knowledgeable about the various aftermarket exhaust options available for those few fortunate enough to own an MZ Skorpion.

After you’re an expert on every piece of aftermarket gear existent, you will likely discover that you are not the only person in the world that uses the internet. Some of these other users are, in fact, motorcyclists. Not only are there people in the world who don’t think you’re crazy because you have a disassembled carburetor from a 1994 Ninja 500 on your kitchen table, but there are people who will give you tips on how to put it back together. And even more people who will tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

Don’t even get me started on the dangers of Craigslist. Sooner or later I can guarantee that you’ll find yourself on Google Maps, getting approximate driving times to Seattle and wondering who you know that might be willing to let you borrow a pickup for a quick cross-country dash.

By this point in your descent into moto-obsession, there’s a decent chance your supervisor has noticed that you’re spending far more time placing eBay bids on stainless steel brake lines than actually working. This is the time at which you need to seek help. I have a few suggestions.

  • Under no circumstances should you marry a woman who shares your interest. As an example, my wife is slowly convincing me that we should expand our small fleet to include something with a lower seat height and a colorful paint job.
  • Do not register on motorcycle-specific message boards. You will find entirely too many people who are just as eager as you to discuss the relative merits of different brands of brake pads.
  • Do not make visiting the motorcycle section of Craigslist, eBay and CycleTrader part of your daily routine. Sooner or later you’ll become the owner of a barely-running, rust-encased Italian two-stroke that was just too great a deal to pass up.
  • Do not bookmark Google Maps. The level of detail the site provides makes it far too easy for you to search out those perfect twisty roads. After all, they’re not that far out of your way. Only a couple of hours, I swear.

Unfortunately, I can make no promises that even if you follow my advice to the letter, you can avoid this crippling compulsion. If it has you, it has you. You’ll spend your days thinking about CBRs and your nights dreaming about your next track day. The simple truth is that it will be less painful if you just give in. Remember, ride safe, and if you absolutely have to put a bid in on that vintage Triumph, wait until the last second. You don’t want any of your fellow obsessives to swoop in. You’re really doing it for their own good, after all.

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