Motorcycles used to be all about speed and performance but due to technology expanding at a furious rate, we have more subgeneres of motorcycles today than of electronic music. In fact, there are so many genres that some bikes only fit into their own genre, in an attempt to fit into multiple other genres. However, despite so many categories, there are still gaps that consumers have to jump depending on what they want. Why can’t a reasonable mid-range, mid-power sport bike be brought into existence? Why do the manufacturers either want us to have a motorcycle that is downright excessive in every way, or doesn’t have enough?
Let’s look at 250’s as an example. Back in the early 90’s, small displacement, high-power, light and svelt sport bikes were available. I pull on a great review over at TwoFiftyMag.com, comparing the old and new CBR250’s. The older bikes used to be much faster, lighter, had more competitive features – like dual front discs, and yes, used to cost more. I would rather pay double the new bike price for one of the old ones, than the same price for a used 600. I don’t want a 600. I want a 250 that subscribes to same power to weight rules that the 600’s and 1K’s are built on. 1 horsepower for ever 2-3 pounds… The used to exist, and no longer exists because the manufacturers have turned the market into “bigger is better”. Just look at the brilliant bike the ZX-2R used to be, or the old RD350, and 500’s!
Sure, I realize that they are all filthy by today’s emissions standards, but, erm, if manufacturers can keep squeezing out more and more power form a 1000 while keeping the emissions legal, they can do it with a 250 as well. Don’t tell me Honda’s engineers doesn’t have the ability to do something!
I guess at the end of the day, it all comes down to the fakeness of our society. Most riders don’t want to go super-sonic on their rockets. They want to look cool. Wheelies,burn-outs and sunglasses are more important than corner speed, race leathers and a helmet. Just like appearance and comfort are much more important than performance for the touring crowd. I shouldn’t blame the manufacturers, I should blame the pathetic general populace for yet again squashing something amazing with their apathy.