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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Winter is a-cumin' in so now is the time to jump on your bike and brave the elements - and watch it rot away before your very's in a just few wet salt-laden weeks. Oh yes! The alloy wheels will crud up (I won't mention the spokes on your classic) The paintwork will lose what lustre it had and the brake callipers will seize up just for fun. The engine will develop a metallic fungus that quickly spreads so that the fasteners - which usually have the properties of nickel-plated pasta - will need a big hammer and an even bigger prayer-wheel if you ever need to split the engine at some future date. If you have a drive chain it will go ochreous with rust, and the fork seals will leak like a twenty-Guinness-a-night navvy. The depreciation this will cause is alarming and makes winter riding almost a no-no if you have only one good bike.
The durability of the metal-finish on today's bikes owes as much to quality as Ronald McDonald does to Haute Cuisine. It's all very depressing and about as funny as the Taliban banning kites.
The advertising blurb put out by Honakawayuki tells us that bikes are year-round transport so why should we have to save wrecking our P&J by buying a hack bike just for the winter? A couple of rides in the rain on my last new bike (Honda Deauville) and the front of the engine lost its silvered sheen and developed that semi-black look that Japanese metal does so well. The exhaust downpipes and collars became rusty, the chassis-welds and footrest-hangers developed a nasty fur - and this was in summer! I had to clean it all off and apply protective coatings to the offending areas.
Now, I don't pay around eight-grand to grovel about on my back like an amputee hermaphrodite dabbing protective paint and grease to bits of my P&J that should have had a durable finish in the first place! Why do we put up with it? My old Nissan Micra car lived outside all year round (and was used all year round) yet it still survived better than my new bike which always lived in the garage. I washed the Micra now and then (mostly then), add a bit of touch-up paint here and there - and that was it! It didn't rust away during our British winter-wonderland, the brake callipers didn't seize and the nuts and bolts didn't develop a rotting oxidising crud.
And it's not as if all bikers have sultanate riches. Most of us are not of the Arty-Hi-Tech Entrepreneur Tendency, with three good suits, a top pocket full of Mont Blanc pens and a case full of credit cards to throw into combat - most of us have champagne tastes and beer-bottle incomes. We work bloody hard to buy the bike of our dreams and it demands big decisions - we're not talking B&Q flat-pack bedside cabinets here.
It is high time the manufacturers realised that motorcycles are bought not sold. They have given us bikes that are faster and more stoppable, and many have engines that will happily chug to over 100k miles without too much attention, are generally more comfortable and usually handle much better than the bikes of yore. But. The durability of the finish compared to four-wheelers is abysmal. I hope the manufacturers start to address this problem soon. (Maybe this will provoke a response from them, but I very much doubt it.) :(
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