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High bars are so passé

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by mattb, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. A talented philosopher I know was asked a few years ago, by a cool philosophy-undergraduate at a party, who his favourite philosopher was. He answered Aristotle (whom he had regained an interest in via some postmodern philosophical re-readings). She replied "Aristotle is so passe!" We thought that was an 'interesting' criterion for judging philosophical wisdom.



    With time to kill before work today, I was flicking through one of my favourite books, The Bikeriders, by Danny Lyon. I bought it a few years ago when I was getting sick of the whole cafe racer obsession. Sick of it, because I couldn't mention my SR500 without hearing that phrase in the next sentence. And every functional if wobbly 30yo old bike was being hacked into an ugly ridiculous attempt at a cafe racer. The Bikeriders instantly replaced my formerly favourite book, Johnny Stuart's Rockers!. I love the bikes of those 1960s outlaw clubs so much - take a nice BSA and chuck some high bars on it. Simple, but radically cool! Anyway, a lot of people were and are getting into cafe racers because they want some sort of thing which the Harley wannabe crowd want, while defining themselves as alternative to the weekday-IT weekend-pirates. But they're adults playing dress-ups no less than the pirates. Better taste, I grant, and I'm not criticising them - indeed I love bringing imagination into the motorcycling experience. What I don't like about it is that to bag high bars among so many of the cafe crowd is somehow an expression of possessing an alternative cool. At the time I was playing with high bars on the GR650 and SR and loving the effect - there's something just so...'acid trip'...about them - but I was in consequence copping this attitude that there was something profoundly faux pas about that. I noted, and was saying to friends in the light of those criticisms, that this whole dogmatism reflected that alternative wannabe status, and that in a year's time suddenly it will be something different that is orthodox among the old-bike custom crowd. I noted the increase in interest in flat/grass/dirt/street trackers and said that that would be it, and so it is. It just makes me laugh to think that there is somehow something so wrong with high bars right now, and in some arbitrary time period from now, it will be the coolest thing to do. Maybe it will go through a similar lifespan as it went originally: high bars with little else done to the bike; then the stripped-back chopping; then teh '70s gothic and the backyard scene; then the 80s and the horridness from there to beyond. Then we'll go back to cafe racers. Maybe. Or maybe it will be a retro scene focussed on the glory days of plastic street fighters. There'll be photos posted on blogs of Thursday Night Mystery Rides, with young guys on their street-fighters and the writer waxing about the retro-coolness and glory of it all. Which, after all, would be the same as what has happened regarding the cafe racer culture.

    I'm not trying to make some particular point, rather these are the thoughts that struck me as I read flicked through Lyon's photos and loved the bikes. I still love cafe racers - my best riding mate has a wonderfully caffed bike - but I reserve the right to reach for the stars, and love it!
     
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  2. I don't think you should put high bars on your Hornet.

    :)

    To me, high bars are for looking cool & cruising, which I guess is not terribly popular now, & a cafer racer is for going fast on ie, getting to the next cafe for your skinny soy latte frappacino.

    I don't know what it means in terms of philosophy, but high bars will eventually come back into fashion, (maybe even quicker if you rock them with pride on the SR).

    I guess it comes down to fashion: Cafe racers are fashion, high bars are fashion, streetfighters are fashion to an extent, but mainly are due to necessity.

    There was a thread about someones boot not long ago, had the same boots for 40 years, been back in fashion 3 times since...
     
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  3. I just found The Bikeriders in a bookshop a couple of weeks ago. I think it might go on my Christmas list so I can put it alongside The Original Wild Ones.

    On the subject of styles, the only comment I'll offer is that the nicest custom bike I've ever seen, of any genre, appeared in Back Street Heroes May '85 issue. It was a basically standard plunger A10 with all the heavy tinware removed, plenty of chrome and polished alloy, a superb, plain red paintjob and a set of moderate pullback bars. It was truly lovely and I've yet to see anything that matches it anywhere for understated cool.
     
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  4. I'm just waiting for the bosozoku style to catch on
    CanalBlog_Livre_Bosozoku04.
    sema2010-070b_hondaCB_bosozoku2.
    :LOL:
     
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  5. Looks pretty comfy actually.
     
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  6. Don't hold your breath.

    WTF is the thing coming off the front guard?
     
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  7. That last one is beautiful!

    MV, I was intending at some point to put higher bars - Virago style - on the Hornet, along with saddle bags etc. But I put a deposit on a new bike this week, and the sale of the Hornet must fund it. more on that when I pick the thing up in a week.
     
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  8. Intrigued, will stay tuned. I suspect it won't be as soulless as the Hornet ;)
     
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  9. I think there's a few significant other's who'd appreciate the improved pillion seat :p
     
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  10. There are few bikes of the 70s cooler than the T140 Bonnie Export complete with high bars from the factory.

    Nicer than the dreadful Norton Hi-Rider anyway :sick:.
     
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  11. And here's me thinking that bikes are a practical way to get from A to B, with a bit of fun thrown in for free.
     
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  12. This is the SR500 with high bars. (I covered over my wife's face because she doesn't want to appear on the net.) It was pretty groovy, no good for anything other than cruising, and a pain in the arse when I had to push the bike across a couple of suburbs. In fact I only took them off because I had to get a RWC and I thought if the guy was an anti-cruiser bigot he'd go harder on me. Hmmm....

    b8o5w.
     
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  13. Oh yeah, and that blog I linked to - I only found it when searching for some Lyons pics to link for this thread, but I had a look around the whole thing last night and it's very good.
     
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  14. It must be friday night after a couple of coldies but those bosozoku pics have me in stiches!

    Oh, and Matt let your wife know she has cute toes :D
     
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  15. Yeah, that guy in the first pic's facial is hilarious. I don't think the 2nd one looks too bad...
     
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  16. They both have that ... thing at the front, don't they? I know what that is - that's a mystery, that's what it is. It's a device cunningly designed and adapted to differing similar implementations, the sole purpose of which is to confuse the living f#ck out of anybody who's not one of the in-crowd, especially if they're some ignorant round eye...

    Should go down the road and buy one of those little windmills on a stick you give to three-year-olds, and tape it to the knob while he's not looking. No, I mean the one on the bike. No - BOLTED to the - never mind.
     
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  17. :rofl:
     
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  18. A modified bike, or just really happy to have his friend riding pillion.
    2666045664_e5e258d8a7.
     
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  19. #19 ogden, Mar 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Ah, the cool undergraduates! And then they become the cool postgraduates, and nothing an undergraduate says or does can ever be cool again. Sometimes I think the only thing that's ever passe is our younger selves and whatever we used to be into but aren't now.

    Back to cafe racers, the most embarrassing thing about owning a Thruxton is Triumph's marketing and the way they try to sell an image to the mid-life crisis crowd. I love mine, but I'm pretty sure the only other people that think it's cool are scooter-riders and blokes who've had too many business lunches.

    I like how the red and white bike's got a sticker that says don't hang shit on me... Is this an appropriate moment for some Guitar Wolf?
    They both have that ... thing at the front, don't they? I know what that is - that's a mystery, that's what it is. It's a device cunningly designed and adapted to differing similar implementations, the sole purpose of which is to confuse the living f#ck out of anybody who's not one of the in-crowd, especially if they're some ignorant round eye...

    Should go down the road and buy one of those little windmills on a stick you give to three-year-olds, and tape it to the knob while he's not looking. No, I mean the one on the bike. No - BOLTED to the - never mind.[/QUOTE]

    :D or a little orange flag?
     
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  20. The 45 degree fairing looks really weird.
     
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