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Gabe(https://miles-by-motorcycle.com/371) I'm just about to hit 30 years of riding street bikes and sometimes I'm as amazed at what hasn't changed as much as what has. I think that the general societal image of motorcycling changed far more from 1970 to 1990 than from 1990 to now, largely due to Honda (american Honda to be precise) and their "You meet the nicest people..." campaign, followed by the emergence of Harley Davidson as an aspiration lifestyle (which really started in the 80's). Both of these mainstreamed motorcycling and changed it from having a somewhat negative image to being something more akin to a legitimate hobby or pastime - a very positive change. The major change has been in the equipment, both the machines themselves and the gear we have access to. The capabilities of the motorcycles available today are simply mind blowing, especially when considering the economics. Many multiples more cars are manufactured than motorcycles, and yet I think it could be argued that more dynamic performance improvement has happened in motorcycles. that's a lot of bang for the buck in platform R&D. As someone who has always like performance motorcycles I have personal experience with the tremendous gains we've seen. Between the 1930's and 1970's you might be surprised at how little performance really improved. Handling, acceleration, top speed, horsepower, and the evolution of chassis development did not go very far. From the mid 1970's to 1985 it accelerated rapidly though. From the Honda CB750, to the Kawasaki Z1, to the Suzuki GS, and finally in 1985 to the release of the first generation GSXR. that GSXR broke ground for motorcycle performance gains that are amazing regardless of industry. When it came out it was a racebike that you could put plates on, but more than that it was the first bike with performance that could be considered "modern" even by today's standards almost three decades later. Very soon after the GSXR came the Kawasaki Ninja and 1000cc Ninja which set records for HP and speed (and became famous in the movie Top Gun). From there not only has horsepower become incredible but chassis refinement, brakes, tire technology have all had their development curves come into alignment leading to today's landscape. For less than $15,000 anyone can purchase a machine that will go 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, go over 180 MPH, get 40 MPG (or more!), stop on a dime, and turn at greater than 1G - on a motorcycle. Simply amazing. Gear has also improved tremendously, as well as the understanding of what works and what doesn't in a crash. Leather has always worked, but today's armor and the chemistry and engineering that goes into protective gear is tremendous. In many ways we, as riders, haven't changed but our equipment sure has. Although, I think we may have been even more brand "loyal" in the 1970s and 1980s when motorcycle racing was much more popular and you would support the brand of your favorite racer. I think the overall societal perception of motorcycling and motorcyclists probably leveled out somewhere between the mid 1980's and early 1990's and hasn't changed much since. I think a similar trend exists within the riding community as well, we're pretty much the same as we've been only now we can wave or not wave much safer and at higher speeds To give you an idea of how much things have changed here is a list of my principle rides from 1984 to the present day (you can look up all of their performance stats and specs), with their factory HP rating. All of these were one of the hot rides for their day 1977 Suzuki GS550 = 49HP 1980 Suzuki GS550E = 49HP 1980 Suzuki GS750ES = 68HP 1985 Suzuki GS550ES = 64HP 1986 Suzuki GSXR-750 = 100HP 1987 Suzuki RG500 = 95HP 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR = 92HP 1995 Kawasaki ZX900 = 135HP 1999 Kawasaki ZRX1100 = 106HP 1997 Honda CBR1100XX = 164HP 2011 Kawasaki Z1000SX (Ninja 1000) - 140HP There were other bikes in the mix as well (various cruisers, dual sports, dirt bikes, etc), as anyone who has had this disease for a while knows...you really can't own just one bike

6 years ago byrshaug
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