But they look so Cool....

“Man! Those tires look sweet on that bike”…. We’ve all heard it before or have said it ourselves. Vintage Dunlops, Firestones, Avon Speed Masters etc.
I too am guilty of conforming to the need for style over function.
Its become all to popular to ride unsafe motorcycles, for the sake of being stylish, again I too am guilty as charged. I grew up racing, and can handle a bike pretty well, yet during my racing career I strived to scoop enough money to buy the best of everything. I used to pour over the bikes in the pits studying each and every component the factory guys were running, just to get that extra ¼ horsepower, or have my tires hook up just a bit more in that 3rd turn. Now my racing days behind me I bomb around crowded city streets, split lanes between big rigs, and dodge pot holes at 80mph. So its beyond fathomable why so many of us are choosing to run tires that have been sitting on a shelf for 20+ years. After finishing up my Sporty “Street Beast” I opted for a set of O.G. Raised White Letter Dunlop Qualifiers. They just seem to fit the bill all to well for the look I wanted.
However! After a late night run with Joe Scraper, I realized I was putting myself in harms way just to achieve cool. I knew as soon as I put the spoons to the rubber that the compound coupled with the age of these tires was just to hard to be draggin pegs through corners. But I let them rock and ran them anyway…they just looked to right to swap out.
I push my bikes to their limits, and it was obvious in the first corner chasing Joe that front wheel drift was not a good look to keep a bike from lowside disaster. I know, Im no Valentino Rossi, but there were more then a few instances where my learned reflexes were forced into action…and with that, knowing the sudden popularity in vintage chopper hoopla there are many, less skilled riders building bikes with one goal in mind…”vintage cool”. Most adorning their bikes with time hardened rubber, inferior or lack of brakes, and on top of all that…. held together with shitty welds. Ironically some of these “vintage” parts cost more then a brand new set, that will actually improve your ride.
Im no safety inspector and realize there is something exhilarating about riding a 2 wheeled death trap over miles of road and having a great story to tell your buddies. But I also know the feeling of scrubbing gravel out of an open wound, and having to call your Mom to wipe your ass at age 22 because both your hands are shredded to the bone. Maybe I’m just getting past that age of piss and vinegar, and at 32 years old the sense in my head is starting to take precedent, over my desire to impress. Nevertheless, I’ve just been seeing more and more of this, and have caught myself falling into bad habits, bad habits that will ensure me being sidelined later in life do to falling victim to style.
I love motorcycles to much to wear a label of “cool” and not “seasoned” as should you all. Now if my 2 cents doesn’t mean much to you, then Ill keep it and put it towards a fresh set of sticky Michelins
Think about it…

2 Response to "But they look so Cool...."

  1. Joe says:

    How do you feel about re-pops of vintage treads? There are plenty of repro Speedmasters and Firestone Zig-Zags going around, but I'd have to guess there is a reason why those tread patterns are no longer around.

    Marco says:

    Im all good with re-pop stuff...some of those treads are still in production for a reason. I just cant see running anything with dry rot and stone hard compound, for the sake of aesthetics

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