Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Many Faces of Motorcycles - Survival Bikes
It's 2012 (in case you hadn't noticed), which seems to make little difference unless you're part of the group that believes that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world and an apocalypse is upon us. Now, we don't claim to know either way, but what we do know is that if the Mayan were right, a survival bike will surely come in handy. After all, if fuel will be harder to come by then better gas mileage will come in handy.
But regardless of whether or not the end of the world really is nigh, survival bikes do roam the streets and actually have since before all of the end of the world mumbo-jumbo. 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 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 know 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.
Chrome and polish may hold a particularly large part of the motorcycle culture, but 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.