Cool Motorcycles: Survival Bikes
June 20, 2013 - San Diego, CA
In the past few years apocalypse theories and predictions have been aplenty. I'll even admit to having attended an "End of the World" party on December 21, 2012, the day that people swore the world was going to end because of the Mayan calendar. But that day came and went and the only difference in December 22 was more hangovers and some really disappointed people sitting in grocery stocked basements.
Still, our obsession with the apocalypse rages on, sometimes manifesting in cool ways. Take the cool motorcycle niche of survival bikes. Closely related to another unique slice of the motorcycle pie called Rat Bikes, "survival bikes" was coined in the late 1980s and 1990s by, supposedly, the British motorcycle press. Take the black matt paint and grunge from rat bikes and add a dash of post apocalyptic style and viola!
While many sport bikes and bike concepts offer a look into what cool motorcycles may look like in the future if WWIII doesn't hit, survival bikes are a whole different kind of futuristic. Often inspired by the Mad Max films, they're usually equip with bigger tanks (for those long rides through the desolate lands of the less populated earth) and have the grungy feel of rat bikes since precious water would be more useful to drink than waste on polishing paint. Typically, these bikes are often a hodge-podge of mismatched parts from scrap heaps rather than new OEM replacement parts since those companies will have obviously gone out of business the second all hell broke loose. And if something breaks, it's fixed with whatever will get the job done such as zip-ties or duct tape. The only thing missing on survival bikes is a machine gun should be strapped straight to the handle bars.
Recently, both rat bikes and survival bikes have seem to become a little more mainstream. Going against the brightly colored and chromed out stock bikes being pumped out by motorcycle manufacturers, survival bikes have always been a one of a kind. But now? Companies such as Harley-Davidson have taken a note or two from the grungy style and have started throwing out some bikes with matt black paint and an unusual lack of chrome. Even Victory Motorcycle's 2013 Victory Judge is looking a little leery.
Well known motorcycle clothing and riding gear company Icon has even built a few of their own survival motorcycles. The Magnificent Bastard based on a 1986 Honda VFR1000R is a cross terrain motorcycle that goes as far as to being fitted with a citizens band radio. And their Roach Harley Sportster even includes a winch bolted on to the front forks. Of course, both of these bikes are one of a kind but have been used largely to market their motorcycle gear.
Chrome and polish may hold a particularly large part of the motorcycle culture, but cool motorcycles like survival bikes stand out in their own unique way. Whether you love them or hate them; need one or just like to look, there's no denying that they stand out. And who knows, they might come in handy if the "end of the world" guys ever end up being right.