Art and Function

When we buy a new motorcycle, we spend a great deal of time simply admiring it. Particularly in the first few days of ownership, we spend hours gazing at it. It doesn’t matter if the motorcycle is new, ninety years from the gates of the factory, or born some time in between. A new-to-us motorcycle is a thing of great beauty.

It isn’t the function of the bike alone that draws our gaze, though it doesn’t hurt that the object of our affection will take us over farm lanes, through woods, along an ocean, across the desert, over rivers and streams, and through high mountain passes. The eye candy is in the way the exhaust pipes flow, cylinders thrust, frame arches, and fenders curl. It is in the way that art, or form, combines with function in perfect balance.

It doesn’t much matter which brand or model. All motorcycles are functional art, a blending of form and function.
The example shown above is my ride, a 1999 Road Star. Yamaha did a wonderful job when they designed the Road Star, known as the Wild Star in Europe. As I mentioned in the Motorcycles post, this is my second Road Star. The first one didn’t survive an attempted-murder-by-automobile.

At the time it was designed, this was a perfect long-haul cruiser. Now it is a bit dated. It would need a 6-speed transmission, and a displacement upgrade to 113 Cubic Inches to bring it current. A fuel capacity of seven gallons wouldn’t hurt, either. It seems unlikely that Yamaha will update the Road Star. During the past few years the company has been content to market the Roadliner, Stratoliner, Raider, and Stryker models, while ignoring the great need to update the Road Star. Why is an update needed? Well, just look at the four newer big cruisers. There are solid power plants buried under the bad design decisions that cover the four newer models. It certainly is just my opinion, but in stock form they look butt-ugly, but not quite butt-ugly cool. They could all be customized to the point where they looked as good as the Road Star for a few thousand dollars, but why bother? Just buy a Road Star and you are already there. Now, where can I get a six-speed transmission for mine?

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