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More than just a machine

21st Oct 2019 8:00 am

Rishaad talks about how all motorcycles move the body but only some move the soul.

We humans have a tendency to anthropomorphise things that are dear to us. Logically, this is silly, because the things we name and cherish have just about as much life in them as the sum of their raw materials, which is precisely zero. Regardless, we persist with it, and here’s a prime example.

First, we have the new S 1000 RR, a stupendously fast 207hp rocket ship, but one that makes lapping the BIC at a pace that’s something to look forward to and not wet your pants over. And then there’s the MV Agusta F3 800 RC. Aside from the design, the BMW is the superior motorcycle in every single aspect. It’s faster by a country mile, the electronics are far more sophisticated and, yet, it manages to be a less intimidating machine. All at roughly the same cost as the MV. Logically, I should be madly in love with the Bimmer, but the reality is that it’s the F3 that’s been keeping me up at night.

If you follow a lot of auto content, you’ll keep coming across words like soul, character, charm, spirit, personality and what have you. But until you start to experience vehicles for yourself, it’s completely understandable if you just don’t get it. Look at it this way, we love motorcycles because they make us feel good, and different motorcycles do this in different ways and to varying degrees.

You could classify this ‘soul’ business as the way the machine speaks to you. In the case of the MV it came down to so many things – soaking in that gentle buzz through the entire motorcycle as the engine screamed through the gears, not fully knowing when the front wheel would decide to break contact with the tarmac, banging through that delectable quickshifter, and most of all, knowing that I couldn’t afford to ease my focus for even a second.

On the BMW, things were very different. I loved how it worked with me and I would absolutely want to spend much more time with it improving myself as a rider. But eventually, I could see a future where I might want to move on to something a little more emotionally engaging.

These are things that speak to me – I like my machines sharp, involving and just a little angry, but soul could mean something completely different to you. Perhaps the strong chug of a Royal Enfield single as is it torques its way out of a low speed in a high gear? Whatever it may be, if you find a motorcycle that tugs at the heartstrings, you can be sure that you’ll build a relationship with it that goes far beyond the cold logic of a spec sheet.

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