Chopper vs. Brutale - A "double standard"?
Does it really seem like I am applying a "double standard" to the Ridgeback and the Brutale? I think the crux of the issue is that I get paid to discuss the facts, merits and weaknesses of the motorcycles that I ride. I do this, so that readers can make informed buying decisions or at least be entertained and enlightened during their boring workdays. For readers who dont care what a motorcycle is actually like to ride, they can skip my words and check out the tech specs and plethora of photos in every article.
In the case of Big Dog Ridgeback review vs. MV Brutale review, the facts happen to be that the Big Dog was a ***** poor tool for anything that involved actually riding the motorcycle. I (rightly) criticized it for that and for the fact that the discomfort associated with the Ridgebacks riding position is caused strictly for the sake of making the rider "look" cool. In addition to discomfort, the "chopper" riding position deliberately compromises all aspects of the bikes dynamic performance and safety. When I rode a chopper and it handled like a "chopper", I told the readers that it didnt work very well as a "motorcycle". I do the same thing when any other bike I test has a bad trait, for example: ZX-10R headshake and shifting problems, weak Harley brakes, Brutale fuel injection and suspension tuning, etc
In the Ridgeback review, I pointed out the bikes weaknesses, just as I would with any other bike. I also pointed out its strengths in the realm that it was designed for (it is loud and mean sounding, impresses bystanders, draws a crowd, etc
In the Brutales case, the bike happens to work well as a motorcycle. Even though the Brutales riding position happens to offer the MOST EFFECTIVE means of controlling a moving motorcycle, I still criticized it for being uncomfortable. Furthermore, the fact is that the Brutale's functional shortcomings are miniscule compared to any chopper's, yet I still pointed those Brutale shortcomings out to MOs readers. In the Brutales defense, its dynamic shortcomings are NOT caused by a basic design that is deliberately compromised and in flagrant disregard of the fundamentals of motorcycle handling (like a rigid choppers lack of rear suspension, or raked-out and extended forks). I was disappointed with the Brutale, because its flaws are easily fixable and I think the MV factory should have sorted them out, before releasing an otherwise outstanding motorcycle.
MO is a motorcycle magazine for people who ride motorcycles. My complaints about the Big Dog Ridgeback AND my complaints about the Brutale, are centered around the facts pertinent to their basic operation as a motorcycle. If your idea of "motorcycling" is based on trying to get a date with a woman, or sitting around with a bunch of drunk guys bragging about the bike that is parked in the lot, then choppers are a superior motorcycle in every regard. Thankfully, I think most of the MO readers are more interested in a motorcycles capabilities and functionality, than they are with its ability to impress people who seem to know very little about actually riding motorcycles. -Sean