Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Many Faces of Motorcycles - Streetfighters
Street fighter: it's a phrase that brings to mind a strong and aggressive presence made for the streets that we unknowingly roam everyday. Yet, despite their recent appearance on the factory floor of many motorcycle manufacturers, street fighter motorcycles didn't first appear there. Back in the 1980's sport bikes came from the manufacturer donned with full fairings galore. But as street bikes such as Suzuki's GSX-R hit the European and American markets like never before, riders were soon coming up with new ways to break the mold such as with the birth of motorcycle stunt riding. It didn't take long before the sport bike made a whole new niche for itself.
With some many people sitting atop high powered motorcycles that just begged to be ridden to the edge, especially when encouraged in motorcycle stunting communities, it became common for these motorcycles to go down. And when they did, riders were faced with the high costs of repairing and replacing exposed plastics and the high tech headlamps that were easily damaged. But with the strong influence of the cafe racer style that had hit Europe, riders in London, Germany and France opted out of throwing down their hard earned cash for replacement parts and just stripped off broken fenders or replaced stock headlamps for more inexpensive ones. What resulted was a more aggressive looking bike that was quick to catch on.
Of course, it's the motorcyclist way to push niches just a little bit further. Many street fighter riders soon were tearing up the streets with custom paint jobs, expensive four-in-one pipes and even custom frames. And when Europe officially solidified the existence of these machines with their own magazine, Streetfighters, in the 90's, there was no way the style was going to disappear.
Since then, motorcycle manufacturers have had a ball trying to mainstream the streetfighter motorcycle style. Ducati has managed to corner the market the best with a lot of their models, especially the Monster, which made its debut in 1993. Since then, Ducati has yet to make any severe changed to the model thanks to its success. Our favorite? The Triumph Speed Triple. Stripped down to the minimalistic yet aggressive style of the streetfighter look, the Triumph Speed Triple hit the streetfighter nail on the head. The downside? One of the great things about streetfighters is their individuality. Like most niche motorcycles, the custom ones are held in higher regard because of their uniqueness. Though the Speed Triple is everything a streetfighter embodies, buying one straight from the manufacturer loses that individuality aspect.
Today, streetfighter riders have a plethora of choices when it comes to picking the perfect bike. Most motorcycle manufacturers have come out with their own version of the streetfighter style. If anything, these days the hardest part of making an individualistic streetfighter is deciding what to actually change that could improve it. Still, many riders are finding ways to make their streetfighter all their own. And the style certainly isn't going anywhere anytime soon.