My bike has 12 buttons on the handlebars... or, Are we ruining motorcycling?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by canoeguy, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Johann

    Johann Long timer

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    I´m heading the same way. Love riding large aircooled Japanese fours but simply don´t have enough money to keep them in tyres and chains. Petrol is getting silly here (Portugal). Last fill up was 1.61 Euros a litre for cheapest unleaded (95 RON). Been eyeing up a Mash Black 7 250 with a knockoff GN/TU250 engine. The important bit is the 90mpg, skinny tyres that are cheap to buy and stone age simple to service.
    #81
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  2. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    Create a perceived need, and the Consumer in Want will do the rest.

    "Adventure bikes" existed long before the Marketing Department cobbled the niche together. I consider motorcycles like my DR650 to be better ADV bikes than many so-called Adventure bikes.

    I'd love every electronic gizmo on those modern leviathans, until they stop working. Such features serve a purpose, I understand this, but when one failure can stop the show, I have to consider whether such fluff is truly necessary whilst on a proper overland journey. Frankly, in my view much of it is wholly unnecessary. Nice to have, yes, but hardly compulsory. Look at what the fellows in Cycles South accomplished, with little more than their own fortitude.

    On a carbureted dual sport, what isn't there can't fail. Ridden within their design brief, and appreciated for what they are, I don't believe that we're missing a thing. Not for a moment. :thumb
    #82
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  3. ddavidv

    ddavidv Dark web dangerous

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    You'll get a wild variation in answers. And I am certainly an automotive weirdo. Current stable, since you asked:
    1997 BMW M3 (track toy, not even tagged)
    1993 Ford Lightning (for towing the track toy)
    2006 Ford Mustang

    If I lived somewhere that the state didn't spread tons of metal-eating ice melt I'd probably drive a 1960s car every day. Or maybe I wouldn't. Depends on how much work I'd have to do to it.

    Noteworthy though that both my main car (Mustang) and go-to bike (Bonneville) are modern versions of classic machines. I get the vintage look with modern features. Cars newer than my Mustang hold no interest for me and I'd drive S197s the rest of my days and be happy. Ditto if I could only have one bike it would be the Bonnie or a Guzzi V7.
    #83
  4. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    Since you're in a mood to be judgy...

    It remains a stone cold fact that bikes today are far more reliable than they have ever been in history. People become attached to motorcycles as they were in the era they started riding. But if I were going on a "proper overland journey", I'm not sure I wouldn't trade the supposed repairability of a failed mechanical part for the far lower likelihood of a failed electronic one. It's just one risk for another. I totally get and respect a qualitative preference for simple mechanical things, but my eyebrows go up when folks try to frame it as objective superiority.
    #84
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  5. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    Since you're in a mood to be moody, reread my post. I acknowledge both sides, and explain why I've landed on the side that I've chosen for myself. For myself, mate.

    And the first thing I said here was that I appreciated our ability to choose our level of tech. One of the many Likes for that post is yours.
    #85
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  6. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    Yep. Now you reread your post.

    Kind of begs a defense, don't you think? I'm all for preferring simple things for what they are (my favourite bike in the stable is as primitive as it gets, short of a carb), and am always the first to jump on the 'ride your own ride' bandwagon. But as soon as you want to make what you don't like sound stupid, you change the terms. Why can't everything be legit for the people who prefer it? Never understand this...
    #86
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  7. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    I consider the simple thumpers better bikes for adventure and rtw travel as well and it was what I chose on my one international trip. Why? Well when I looked at the forums for specific models I noticed that issues in the DR or KLR forums generally took a very short time to diagnose and fix and very seldom does it require parts. I sought out trip reports of the bikes I considered and saw the same thing. The famous thumpers just kept chugging and when they stopped the solution was usually very easy.

    When I read about more modern bikes with issues on their trips it is often a show stopper. I have read many reports involving a bike stuck in south America waiting on parts for their bikes. I distinctly remember the report where two new BMWs had catastrophic engine failure...for using the wrong octane of gas. Both of them...that's some crazy stuff. Yes, I know you can remap them for other octanes.

    Now no doubt many modern bikes make many trips around the world with no issues. But I have yet to read a trip report on one of of the big three thumpers where the bike went down for the count.

    On another note I committed to buying a 2004 DRZ-400 tonight. I still want a DR but now I have a proper thumper back in the garage! I think that puts me down to five buttons?
    #87
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  8. GreyThumper

    GreyThumper Long timer

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    It would be ruined if EVERY bike had 12 buttons on the handlebar, but the reality is that there is a greater variety of choices now than even a decade ago. Your bike's level of complexity is really up to you.
    #88
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  9. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    I just don't enjoy wrenching on motorcycles, I prefer to spend my little free time riding them. If given a choice to rejet a carb or to plug in my laptop and fine tune it, I choose the laptop.

    There's bunch of settings on my modern bike's TFT screen, but I have no foggiest idea what they are and don't care; my riding mode is permanently set on "touring", I trust traction control and ABS to kick in if and when I fuck up, and I can ride a Ducati without worrying when will it break down, because it just doesn't - imagine that. I will probably never use 160+ HP at the top end, but it's nice to twist the throttle and teleport to point B when needed. The keyless fob is the only minor annoyance I could live without, I miss turning the physical key...

    Anyway, new bikes will be electric in a decade or two, so the issue will be moot.
    #89
  10. ddavidv

    ddavidv Dark web dangerous

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    The manufacturers are giving us all these modes and so on to choose from but I wonder how many buyers actually use the options regularly? Post above speaks to this; he has choices but just leaves it in one mode and doesn't even bother to know how to change it. (Not a criticism, just an observation)

    How many of us are paying extra for features we don't need, want or use?
    #90
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  11. WindBlast

    WindBlast Three chords and the truth.....

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    I actually use the different riding modes depending on conditions. Road mode in the burbs, and rain mode in the rain. Dynamic mode for the open road and twisties and when I want to scare myself and be reminded that I am not #46 I go to Dynamic Pro mode. This is the first motorcycle I have owned that has any of this stuff. My previous Triumph Sprint STs (owned 16 years) didn't even have ABS. FI was the only modern feature. I was (and still am) just a bit nervous as to what will happen should the electronics go south but 12k miles of hard riding in all weather (including rain and snow) have shown no chinks in the armor. The bikes today are light years ahead of the bikes from the 80's and 90's. My GPZ1100 had FI but it was so terrible, fiddly, and unreliable the PO put carbs on it instead. I remember replacing the batteries every spring, and fouling plugs, adjusting leaky floats, setting points, and adjusting the chains every few days. I also remember scary brakes and flexible frames and skinny bias ply tires that slid around in a hard corner. I love older bikes but I think my days of actually using one as my main ride are over. Thank you BMW for making the S1000XR just the way I like it.
    #91
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  12. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    I get tired of the buttons some. Ride modes on my GS for instance. I find my self going from gravel to twisties and back and often forget to change modes. End up romping through the twisties in Enduro pro. Sure, I can tell the difference, but it still works and is fun. Sometimes I just leave it in road mode and ride on. Good to have choices.

    They haven’t figured out a button that takes away 100 lbs yet.


    I never felt the need for buttons on my Penton years ago. Didn’t do much touring on it though.
    #92
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  13. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    I’m sure electric bikes will have many modes options. Easier to configure than IC engines.

    You want less engine braking, no problem, dial it down. Instant torque or manageable? No problem.

    There’s still suspension and ABS settings. Future bikes will be very complex.
    #93
  14. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    Who had FI in 1947? Maybe prototypes. Or airplanes. Mechanical FI.

    I’ll answer my own question. Mechanical FI was invented in 1925 in Sweden, for use on aircraft engines. First showed up in cars in early fifties. First electronic FI in the 80s.
    #94
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  15. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I think the over-complication of motorcycles is partly responsible for the growing popularity of cafe racers and other vintage bikes. Some call it "hipster". Whatever. I understand the attraction of a simple, raw riding experience just like I do with vintage cars.

    My old XL600R was nearly perfect, except for top speed. 2-up on the interstate was a no go. My Aprilia feels pretty similar in many ways; no windscreen to speak of, relatively light, great road feel. But...it can do about 120 mph. Yeah, it also has ride-by-wire, 3 throttle maps, and a bunch of lap timers and whatnot in the menus. I rarely pay attention to any of that. I just put it in standard mode and ride the piss out of it.

    Don't touch any of those buttons, and don't look at your instrument cluster. There...now you have a simple bike.
    #95
  16. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    I think one part of the appeal of those bikes is that it makes small engines socially acceptable. Riding a cafe-ed CB350 or a Triumph Trophy 650-based chopper gives you a way to opt out of the horsepower dick-waving that some young (and not so young) riders engage in without losing your street cred.

    I just got home from delivering my wife's new-to-her TU250X from Toronto to our farm, and often found myself wondering as I rode how much of the nostalgia for simple bikes is actually a nostalgia for smaller ones.
    #96
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  17. AzB

    AzB Fattest thin man

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    We had a '69 VW Fastback with electronic fuel injection. Bit earlier than the 80s.

    Correction: it was a 1968. Got awesome gas mileage, mid to high 30s on the open road.
    #97
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  18. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    I think the TU250x is awesome. I would like to have one.
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  19. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    Sounds right. In fact, the first electronically fuel injected bike for consumer sale was made in 1979 (as a 1980 model)... the Kawasaki Z1000 Classic.
    #99
  20. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    I was delighted. It's a really big-hearted bike, and maybe the nicest thumper I've personally ridden. Even if she decides riding isn't for her, I'm not sure I'll sell it.