Wheel alignment

Wednesday 16 June 2010

But is it art?

Y'see, I trained as an engineer and according to my darling wife, all engineers either border on Asperger's Syndrome or fall completely into that category.  I think what she means (as much as any guy knows what the opposite sex really means) is is that we prefer "real stuff" to touchy-feely things like emotions, subtle nuances and ART. These things normally float in through a guy's ear and out the other side without leaving any residual traces or impact.  It's a bit harsh singling out engineers as targets for this withering sarcasm as most guys I know share these characteristics.

I'm certainly not  wishing to start a battle between the sexes but thought it was useful background on how I tend to view motorbikes - very much function over form. Well, perhaps just a smidgeon of form due to Jennie's encouragement not to be a complete ass.

Getting to the point, I had a most enjoyable 340 km  round trip yesterday to a motorcycle dealer in Hamilton to have new tyres fitted to the Street Triple (more on tyres in a couple of posts).  Anyway, having consigned the bike to the tender mercies of the service department, I was clear to grab a coffee and wander round the  showroom for an hour.  The Hamilton Motorcycle Centre is agent for Triumph, Ducati, Kawasaki and BMW and the showroom is comprehensively stocked with multitudes of models representing these brands.  Now whether it was the sunny day, a good ride, outstanding bike centre staff, or the sum of all these things; I was very surprised to find that I wasn't looking at the functionality of these bikes, but their shapes, colours and artistic merits - eeeeek.... must take my man pills.   All joking aside, looking at them in this light rather than a purely technical  one was a real pleasure and I must really do more of it.

I'm not saying that Jennie would enthusiastically embrace any of these bikes hung on a wall in lieu of our paintings and photographs, but she might appreciate the fact that I've stepped out of the usual way of looking at things!  Learning from more experienced bloggers, I'd actually packed a camera and I'd like to share some of the photos I took to illustrate the artistic side of motorcycles.  Click to enlarge.

Ducati 1198S rear end.....(wiping drool off chin)

Oh, those curves.......

Rocket 3 engine - immense power and a thing of brutal beauty.  
Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have approved

Plain matt black Rocket 3 tank - where less is more

Thunderbird engine
Tell me this isn't art!

Every woman looks great in a black number with diamonds
Every guy looks great on a black number with chrome

Ok, so I've been ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek about functionality and form but it's hard to dispute that the bikes above are superb examples of beautiful machinery, whether you're a die hard sports bike fan, cruiser enthusiast or whatever.  The other thing I've noticed is that modern bikes seem to attract favourable comments from both sexes when parked up anywhere, not just guys; maybe another telling commentary on classy styling.


  1. Geoff, it certainly is art, and they are absolutely beautiful examples of it. Love the 1198s!! And that matt black Triumph tank looks awesome....

    very, very nice!!

  2. Geoff,
    I am also married to an engineer, hence I know what your wife has to put up with ;-)
    But those bikes are definitely art and well photographed, too, so you're not a lost cause to the touchy feely stuff...
    You failed to mention that very woman looks great in a black number with diamonds AND looks great on a black number with chrome. Cheers, SonjaM

  3. Nice pics, Geoff! It's fun to wander through the bikes when having a tire change.

  4. Anthony:
    Thought you'd like the Ducati after the comments on your blog! Not sure how you'd keep a matt tank looking pristine though!

    Hahahaha - you will have Jennie's sympathy! Thank you, I'd like to think that I'm not a total lost cause...

    I do apologise, but I was leaving women out of the bike equation deliberately because black and chrome has traditionally been a male bastion. Can't you stick to black numbers and diamonds, leaving the black bikes to guys? ;-).

    Thank you. You're spot on and it's even nicer wandering through having only bought a bike 8 months ago, so somewhat removed from temptation! I think it will have to be a lottery win before an 1198S ends up in our shed!

  5. The matt black Rocket III would be just for show....it would sit in the corner of the dining room or something like that :)

  6. Hmmm I think any bike (not scooter) made in Italy could definitely be slotted into the "form" first column.

  7. Geoff:

    If I understand correctly that you love the lines of bikes that resemble the female form, with lots of curves that you could caress during every ride, then we are of the same opinion. But I tend to go with the flow now and would not consider anything exotic where parts could be a problem, or where service is questionable. While I love the Ducati 1098 I would never purchase one. I do love your street triple and would be very tempted to secure one as a spare for my "vistors"

    Wet Coast Scootin

  8. As a fellow engineer, there is only one thing I can say. Pull yourself together man and snap out of this arty-farty stuff! Get back to the hands-on, practical, testosterone filled man-stuff. Nice pictures though....

  9. Pete:
    Totally agree. In fact, it may have been the lines of the Benelli TNT which subconsciously influenced the decision to get a Street Triple.

    You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment :-). I might add that like some gorgeous, curvy females; gorgeous curvy bikes tend to be high maintenance too (Oh dear, I may have dug a rather large hole here).

    Securing a Triple for visitors is a noble and generous thought on your part if taken at face value. However, I sense the beginnings of a ploy to add another bike to your already impressive stable of things automotive. Your wife will instantly smell a rat.

    I can only apologise wholeheartedly for my craven behaviour. It's a good job I've let my CEng lapse since retirement or it would be grounds for being struck off. You have my word that I'll try harder in future despite the lack of any female endorsement.

  10. Nice post Geoff and one that I am sure could be debated ad infinitum, being a non-mechanical, non-engineering type I tend to find it more difficult to separate the form from the function side of motorcycles, it's just love!

  11. And that's just how it should be, Andrew!


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