Another wet, cold and foggy weekend, but at least that means I have had a chance to start looking at that electrical problem on the Z1100. The good news is I think that I have found the cause of the fault, the bad news is that it is called the wiring loom! So now the loom is stripped out of the bike, spread on the workshop floor and I am looking at what I need to buy to build a new one. Why did they have to make wiring looms so bloody complicated?
I wonder what Lawrence of Arabia would have thought of the motorcycles of today? In all honesty he would probably love them. In his writings he mentioned the sounds and feelings of bikes as being really important to the pleasure he got from his ride. His Brough Superior, THE Superbike of the day, produced around 56 horsepower and he road flat out on roads no better than cart tracks. Imagine what he would think if presented with the specs of one of today’s bikes…”wow, great…I bet it will be a Brough”. He would have recognized most of the components on the bikes; the basics would not have changed. With a few new tools it would have been possible for him to pull apart the bikes of today and rebuild them. Ok maybe not on the side of the road but it would have been possible to do your own maintenance.
That is one of the things that gets me about the concept bikes of today, the bikes of our future. Some of us like to play with our bikes, to alter, tune, enhance and ruin in so many different ways. The bikes that are coming our way seem to be missing that possibility. They offer a sanitized, respectable version of what we have now. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need to protect the environment more than most. I worked for a wildlife trust for years, and environmentally sympathetic vehicles are important, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like them! The need for zero emissions seems to have taken away the possibility of the internal combustion engine surviving the next 50 or so years. Already Germany has said it is going to ban new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2030 and if Germany is doing it you can bet it becomes European law to. Ok there will be older vehicles running around for years to come but no new ones and less and less as the years go by. Gone will be the sound of a thumping single, the potato potato of a Harley, the throb of a triple Triumph or the wailing of a straight four at full throttle. There will be no discussions about trick exhausts, mapping or carb set up, air filters etc; all that will be gone. I also suspect that anything to do with maintenance of the power unit might disappear as a possibility, it will probably be an electric motor and a bank of batteries, and I bet they will be pretty much sealed units with zero maintenance required…and zero chance of tuning or customization.
I am sure the motors will be great, full of instant torque and acceleration, but I am also sure they will be characterless, indistinguishable from each other and in doing so they will succeed in neutering some of the great attractions of motorcycling.
I am not anti the future, not anti progress, I am just anti something that in my opinion might well take away a good part of what I love about bikes …of course I might be wrong, it happens, sometimes!