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Interesting article. There is something to be said for keeping things simple. Indeed in engineering school a professor always would write K.I.S.S. . (Keep It Simple Stupid) before every project. However, I must side with your young fellas on this one. Folks like mechanical things because they can visualize things easier than electronics or electrical things in general. However, inspite of the perfect 65 Impala, electronical devices are much more dependable than mechanical devices. Remember mechanical tunners on TVs or mechanical timers on Microwaves. They suck. For those of us who have grow up building computers from scratch, electronic devices are just as dear as your old guys 65 Impalas (with carbs and points). Or harleys for that matter. Although the new cars today are more complex they require less maintenance, always start even when its cold etc. Also consumers have driven the complexity in the form of every increasing requirements. Now everyone wants power windows, locks etc. So the good old days are gone I say great. I embrace the future and make no apologies for it. :) Besides please don't take my remote away from me.
 

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Well made mechanical devices can be a joy to troubleshoot and repair, although as a sallow microchip plumber, I find fixing electron motivated equipment just as rewarding. But even as 26 year old gen'xer I can see Glydon's point. I recently had some problems with my late model pickup and not being able to diagnose it, I was forced to take it to the dealer. Well gee all it needed was a new throttle position sensor (TPS), heated oxygen sensor (HO2), and vehicle control module (VCM). I have found that everything complicated and expensive has an acronym. This doesn't mean I would trade my truck's electronics for the systems found on a '65 Impala. (not to say I wouldn't stop to clean the pretty lady's points) It is frustruating not to be able to fix your own stuff. In electronics you can't see the forces involved so you must have schematics, special test equipment, and training to fix a circuit. To me this doesn't make it any less rewarding than fixing that old camera, just less accessible to the average Mr. Fixit. I see alot of bitterness in the ole timers towards new technology which I think can mostly be attributed to the fact that they don't want to invest the time needed to learn how something works, so it must be bad.



P.S. The 280Z was a piece of *****, an impaired Impala doesn't need a babe to get attention on the side of the road, Hondas don't break down, and Old Bill's wife must have enjoyed TCW3 cologne.
 

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That was one of the points that hackfu and I brought up. I'm sure to Glydon's shop teachers in high school, those 'wacky 4 barrel Holleys' (or whatever the hot ticket was at the time) were inscrutable to them. It's a generational thing. Not to say that I didn't like Glydon's writing- I don't agree with much that he has to say, but I always enjoy his POV and his interesting points. His "Football Bikes" article (the one that MO didn't publish last month) was the best, though. See if you can find it in the citybike.com archives, it's very entertaining and worth the read.
 

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I have to agree, new is better, after starting out driving *****-barge chevy's and other '70's garbage, I would hate to go back. while I appreciate a nice restored or original Charger or Mustang or Panhead, or whatever, I'll take a new Lexus or acura anyday! who wants to go back to tube-tires and points? what a pain in the butt. I've got a dandy timing light I'll sell to the luddites cheap.
 

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As Tim stated, some people like to fix their own things. I, for one, like to fix my motorcycles; especially since I crash so often and the shop bill would force me out of college.



I'm day-dreaming about the new V-Strom at the moment (I go through a new fancy every few weeks), and when I took a test-ride I felt that it had some fuel-injection issues down-low. The sentiment was shared with about half of the V-strom owners who experience it. Being a fuel injected bike I can't simply shim the needles or adjust the fuel mixture screw; but rather I may have to recalibrate the TPS or buy a Power Commander ($329) so that I can use a Laptop ($1,000) to tweak the fuel map.



Granted, tweaking a few numbers on a laptop is a lot easier than pulling the carbs, but it creates a greater divide between a user being self-sufficient to fix himself out of a bind, rather than dependent on the time and fees of others.



Bring on technology (and buy me a laptop).
 

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You're right--it is a "generational thing".Twenty-five years from now all the kids will wonder how the hell we rode those crappy,underpowered Gixxers and 998s with their wooden suspensions and skinny tires.Then you guys can write a story about the grand old bikes of your youth and try to pass along a little wisdom to the new crop of squids.

A lot depends on what kind of rider you are,too.Do you do all your own maintenance,or just oil changes and brake pads?Recreational rider vs. long-haul,or even better,bike-as-sole-means-of-transport rider?Do you trade-in bikes every 3-4 years or keep them over 20?I think there are more terrific bikes available today than ever before;it really is the best of times.And I own both new and old bikes.But,if you fall into the keep 'em forever group,you will come to appreciate the old bikes with their points and condensers.If your CDI box fails three states from home and 30 miles from the nearest dealer,you are screwed.IF the part is still available you have to wait for it to come in,and when it does it's going to put a major dent in your wallet.No,the old bikes didn't perform nearly as well as the new ones,but I can carry a spare set of points and feel pretty good about myself in the middle of nowhere.If I view my new bikes as short-term,disposable appliances,who cares?I'll be rid of them before the black boxes begin to fry;it's only a matter of perspective.

 

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Hummmmmmmm! If one were to look at the current tuning craze for import cars; a person just might be led to believe that there are quiet a few young people who not only love the mechanicals of their cars, but also the electronics of the cars as well. Indeed beauty can be found in modern fuel injection as it can be found in a carb.

I work as a machinist and the raw mechanical appeal of motorcycles speaks to me strongly. But the funny thing is that one of my buddies at work has a mid-seventies KZ650 which is about as stone simple as bikes can get, and I never have the desire to hop on and take to the open road. My other friend has an RC51 and I drool all over myself everytime I pass it. The RC51 is a very high-tech bike and I love it. It balances mechanicals and electronics very well....almost as well as Ducati does.



P.S.

If you squint just right...doesn't the Warrior drag bike look a lot like a Vincent Black Shadow?
 

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The idea of co-dependence is one reason some folks 'love' their mechanical equipment... it's not reliable enough to make it on it's own, it NEEDS it's owner to fix it.

Reminds me of a show on the discovery channel that I winced through the other day, about Jesse James riding with 3 guys to Sturgis on their choppers. There were more breakdowns than commercial breaks... as bad-assed as they might look, I wasn't impressed. Riding with no hands, no helmets, no jackets, on something that is always teetering on the edge of a mechanical failure is not high on my list of smart activities. (I digress)

I 'love' my wrx, new fangled fuel injection, limited slip diff. and all... I love it as a whole, not some particular part of it that needs my help to continue functioning... constipated electrons be damned, it beats the snot out of the '70 pontiac and '75 chevy's that were my first cars. [I also love my f4i, specifically, the i]

I have a wife and son who 'need' me... and my time is better spent working on them. Let the dealer fix the car.

As a caveat, I do understand the need for hobbies, and if your hobby is fixing that old car or bike, more power to ya.
 

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We have become a throw-away society. I don't think of my R1 as a bike I will own forever, it is just the latest and greatest and will be replaced. Things that are cool one year are embarrasing the next. A couple of years ago I couldn't buy a new VW Beetle, they laughed when I showed up at the dealer. Now every used car lot has at least one for sale. Who repairs an IBM XT, or even an ancient Pentium (ancient being 5 years old)?

My Dad's Pentax camera has been around for 25 years, my Canon digital will be in the family for a matter of months. In the end though, I'm willing to bet that in 30 years I will wish I had kept my old R1, my old Miata, but certainly won't be pining for my old Pentium.
 

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I had no idea that there were so many people who are proud of the fact that they are completely at the mercy of a mechanic or dealer when their vehicle goes tits up. Sure the new cars are generally better than the old ones. But many of the supposed improvements are really just methods of keeping users from maintaining their own equipment. I believe that it was Henry Ford who said that he would give his cars away if he could force the users to come to him for maintenance.



Take the fuel pump in the fuel tank scam. My fuel pump went out after only 64K miles and the replacement cost was $600 including labor. Got to drop the tank, y'know. Hardly an advancement. Especially since on my last car, a full sized Blazer, the fuel pump lasted 130K and cost only $40 and two hours of wrenching to replace. How wonderful is this new technology (sarcasm off).



I'm not saying that the new cars aren't much better in many ways than the old. But even though they have fewer problems, you can spend far more getting them fixed. Struts work better than a-frames and shocks. But a set of shocks for my Chevy truck costs about as much as one strut for the Subaru.



I don't like being the patsy of the Automobile Industry in their attempt to turn us into serfs. They'll charge you $200 to merely hook up your car to the Central Scrutinizer, er I mean diagnosticator. And I'm not afraid or intimidated by new technology, I'm a software engineer during the day.



Somehow I think that 25 years from now old Mercedes SLs, MGBs, HDs and VW Beetles will still command good collector value, while Lexuses and Infinitys will only elicit yawns. Just drive them 'til they quit and then throw them away. And before anyone gets pissed at that, realize that the Japanese and Americans purposefully design all their new automobiles (and the Japanese bikes as well) as throwaways.
 

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I am old enough ....

I am old enough to remember the onset of the digital age, as well as the dark days that came before it. One of my most vivid recollections regarding the transition from low tech to high tech motorcycle technology was the birth of three things: tubeless tires, electric starters, and water-cooled motors.

All three innovations represented revolutions, and all three were looked upon through narrowed, suspicious eyes by the old guard. We thought they were unnecessary complications of a perfectly good design, and that they would make any machine more prone to failure. So much so that Honda fitted the original GL1000 with an auxiliary kickstarter (hidden under the "tank"), should the electric one fail. One of our main contentions was that the innovations made bikes impossible to work on and/or troubleshoot, and that the new generation of bikes lacked "soul" (whatever that is). Sound familiar?

Now of course, nearly everyone takes these features for granted, and the anals of moto history are full of classic motorcycles with charisma and soul that came equipped with these modern conveniences.

So it's ok, I guess, to second guess and criticize technical innovations, but if I were you, I wouldn't go too far out of my way to avoid being swept up by progress. By and large progress is good, if you ask me.

And nostalgia is fine too. I engage in it myself, from time to time. But when I do, I try to remember the bad times as well as the good. To whit: Amal carburetors. Sachs transmissions. Lucas electronics. Hodaka frames.

Good column, though. Food for thought.
 

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Glydon deserves whatever bucks you throuw his way. First interesting thing I've read on here for a month, although the Schwantz racing school thing was mildly entertaining.... How's that ZZR/FJR/whatever shootout going? Just about every other website's already reviewed the new Kwacker.
 

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And Thats the Point

That's what makes MO unique. Everything they post should be written to encourage discussions like this. Some of you guys write better than anyone from MO. Great!
 

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Electronic vs. Mechanical tools

Shim the needles and adjust the mixture screw? Let's see what did I have to buy for that. Screw drivers, wrenches, cordless drill, and a little jobby to rethread a screw I stripped.

I often hear people say that something is easy to fix or work on yourself, but they always assume that I have tools just lying around. Well I do have tools, but they're multimeters, solider guns, tiny screw drivers, tweezers, and the like.

I don't think it's a generation issue, I think it's a question of how you were raised. I was taught to fix electronics yourself, hire someone to fix your car, and never let Grandpa near a sale (maybe I can drop that last one).

Bring on technology, I already have the tools.
 

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Click on Submit

This kind of discussion is what makes MO worth the money as a forum for thoughtfull motorcyclists. The comparos, news and articles are food for thought, and then for thorough discussion.

MO is understaffed, right? Well why don't you guys fill in the gaps? Hit the Submit button! If you see something interesting elsewhere that's not in MO, write up your comments, include a link to the content and we'll all get to see it and wring it out.

Think of MO as a cooperative of staff and subscribers based on this excellent Forum.

MO has the editorial responsibility to choose the best submissions and edit them to professional standards (that's part of the deal).

Please comment on this!
 

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Re: Click on Submit

Unfortunately, most of the news submissions that we get are irrelevant and not up to the standards of the better writers in the forums.
 

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Bash other things...

But not my beloved Datsun 280Z! I've long said that I'll know I've made it when I can afford to restore a 1976 280Z. (Now, a '78 is another story.) A silver blue '76 280Z 2+2 was my first car, and I didn't part with it until it had over 160,000 miles on the clock. I was physically ill for two days after I sold that car. My parents insisted (and assisted me) that I should get a newer car. So, I settled on an '85 Toyota Supra, but that's another story.

I guess that's why I still have my first bike--or pieces of it anyway. First love sure is passionate, and we never forget it.
 
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