This has been quite the month. At one moment the world was on the verge of balance, the new calendar year ticked over another digit, celebrations, and resolution made, and Bagger-land was motoring along in overdrive. I was on my way to a toy party full of libidinous women, and being the sole testosterone generator attending, I thought I was on top. I was stuck in a cage with my beautiful girlfriend anticipating a crazy night full of fantasy and adult novelties.
Suddenly my dreams were interrupted by a question I wasn't prepared for: "why don't you cover trikes in the magazine?" I almost swallowed my gum and barely avoided hitting a Prius practically parked in the carpool lane. My initial response was less than enthusiastic-for some reason the query made me defensive and angry. Why was this girl trying to harsh my mellow by proposing such an idea? It felt like an interrogation, so I responded like a cornered weasel and simply said, "because we don't and never have."
She obviously reads Baggers as she countered with, "well, Harley-Davidson seems to think trikes are pretty important, since I saw the Tri Glide you photographed." Yeah, great I thought, and had visions of snowmobiles, boats, and scooters that H-D used to make. Should we run those too? I attempted to get technical by pointing out that motorcycles have two wheels and trikes have one more. That trikes don't have saddlebags. That many people I know don't put trikes in the same category as motorcycles, bla, bla, bla. She sensed my anger and condescension, so for the next 15 miles there was utter silence except for my furious gum chewing.
With all the class of a veteran journalist she politely asked another question: "if you don't put trikes in the magazine where else are they going to be featured?" That was followed by a left to the gut, with "besides, your magazine says Custom Touring on the cover not custom motorcycles." Ouch! She went on to emphasize that there was more room for touring on a trike, that some people might not be able to ride a two-wheeler anymore, and that the Tri Glide is still much more bike than it is car.
I was pretty blown away with the reasoning, but still not likely to go out and get a trike. Skipping all the juicy details of an evening of decadence with 30 very attractive, professional, liberated women, we arrived back home. Like the dutiful editor that I am, I log onto my e-mail to find a letter from Strohkr, apparently from North Dakota, followed by a few other messages from lovers and haters of trikes. I couldn't believe the coincidence in timing of the letters or the discussion. The world was definitely more aligned than I had thought. It stank of conspiracy a bit though. Now I had to actually address this further.
OK, for the most part the Tri Glide is an Ultra Classic Electra Glide: 2/3 of the frame, frontend, Tour Pak, six-speed tranny, clutch, fairing, etc. It's that rear frame section and an extra wheel that seems to provoke some people. It's still a machine that was made to ride long distances in comfort, haul your wife/GF/BF on and well, tour. This goes along with another part of Strohkr's message about slapping bags and a windshield on a Vespa and calling it a bagger. In my opinion, a Sportster, scooter, or a 650GS are not touring bikes no matter how big the bags are. Now, before anyone gets offended, these bikes can be used to tour on, but they were not designed to put long days in the saddle two-up, and fully loaded. Touring bikes offered by the various manufacturers are usually larger and heavier, and made to be comfortable and functional during the long haul.
So, that's my brief take on it. I'll be all around the country this summer trying to get opinions from all sides. Let me know what you think. Hit me up through e-mail, snail mail, or just stop me the next time you see me and tell me about it. In the meantime, just enjoy and ride what you have-one day we might all need the extra wheel.