A motorcycle means different things to different people. And I mean that beyond the various formats and derivations that we find ourselves surrounded with. For example, there are people who want a Ducati Multistrada, but a more outdoors subset person of this bunch necessitates the existence of an Enduro version, too. And, of course, there are the permanently entrenched divisions dictated by the very nature of motorcycles – cruisers, sportsbikes, dirt bikes, and so on. But for every cruiser, sportsbike and dirt bike, you have a chopper, a super-naked and a supermoto, too. It’s about what the motorcycle means to the rider.
But – and there is always a but – there is certainly no inescapable ultimate rule of applicability when it comes to motorcycles. Nick Sanders circumnavigated the globe on a Yamaha YZF-R1, while Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman chose to take along a BMW R1150GS Adventure each to ride from Lond to New York City. Riding a big enduro trail bike off the road requires superhuman levels of strength, talent and stupidity, though not necessarily in that order. The same, I’d imagine, would go for a Yamaha YZF-R1, too.
However, if I were to stick to decent-enough roads, I’d probably go with the Yamaha YZF-R1, too, because it’s almost a certainly that a high-quality liter-class superbike is put together better than an extremely popular solution for an increasing number of people around the world in a mid-life crises. The fact remains that both kinds of motorcycles went around the world, despite being more or less unsuited for the purpose. It’s best not to judge a motorcycle by its cover. Or its rider, for that matter.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you hit the nearest motocross track on your Harley-Davidson. However, there’s something to be said about the sheer absurdity of doing something with a tool entirely mismatched for the purpose. Which is probably one of the most important reasons why we ride motorcycles. I think ‘because it’s there’, ‘because I can’ and ‘why not?’ are the strongest reasons to do things that give us purpose. The aches and pains will delightfully remind our future selves of all the fun we had in the past while we could. I mean, if we are to sail through life as smoothly as possible, then we should stay well away from motorcycles, right?A motorcycle means different things to different people. For me, it all began as I was in my early teens with an inexplicable and annoying urge to see the world from the seat of a motorcycle. It was like being shot out of a cannon onto an unsuspecting world. It was an escape from the infinite boredom of a regular existence. ‘Look at your friend, he’s scored such good marks. What about you?’ ‘I can ride a motorcycle’. It was the most important thing in a world that did not understand a thing about what a motorcycle means. And it still is. So, what is a motorcycle to you?