Throttle Roll: Old-bike culture meets new-bike industry

Yamaha XSR Throttle Roll
Yamaha's XSR will be at Trhottle Roll

The anger behind the response caught me off guard. The “no” wasn’t just firm, it was aggressive. Like a door slamming in my face. Turns out I hadn’t just suggested something unreasonable, I’d caused great offence by it. Who’d have thought that the idea of customising a bike would be such an insult?

I should have thought it through a little more deeply. I’d asked one of the Japanese distributors if I could create a special by transplanting the engine from model A into the chassis of model B.

Interesting project, I thought. Direct and unwarranted criticism of their perfect products, they thought.

That was just over 20 years ago. The attitude of bike makers was that their products were ideally designed and should not be messed with. To modify them implied they weren’t perfect.

Now, almost everyone has embraced customisation to the point where major brands are supporting events like this Sunday’s Throttle Roll.

Yamaha, BMW, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Royal Enfield and others are putting money into Throttle Roll and displaying new bikes.

Talk about a change in the culture!

It’s a beautiful phenomenon, this merging of the new-bike industry with the old-bike movement. It’s uniting us more than we’ve been united in decades, and motorcycling’s better for it.

Even when, eventually, the sub-culture that underscores Throttle Roll evolves or fades, we should hope this unity carries on to whatever trends and fashions come next.


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