The Art of Motorcycles

Speed on the Knife's Edge

  • 2010 KTM 990 Super Duke Picture

    2010 KTM 990 Super Duke Picture

    Motorcycle tires are generally cheaper than car tires. So feel free to burn more of them more often. | June 10, 2010

70 Photos

Think of motorcycles as cars that don't even pretend to be safe. They're so inherently unstable they need a kickstand to park. They have no roofs, no doors, no fenders, no bumpers, no crush zones, no airbags, no seatbelts, and the engine hangs between your legs. Setting off fireworks in your throat might burn right through your trachea, but it won't kill you as fast as a motorcycle.

If you're on a motorcycle when it rains, you get wet. When it's hot out the only reason you don't burn in the sun is because there's a helmet on your head and you're wearing leathers and boots with steel plates in their soles.

Bikes are elemental and ultimately mechanical. There's no separation between you the rider and the contraption you're astride. Cruise over a dime and you'll feel the shudder through the handlebars. Your hind end feels the rear tire wander along the grooves cut into a freeway's cement. When a bike leans over, you lean with it. You feel everything.

Your mind can wander when you're driving a car, but a motorcycle demands all your attention. And if you let your concentration wander for a moment, well, reread the first paragraph.

Then look at these photos.


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