L+S=MF (Cont’d)

_, I set out some of what hard science shows us about why this might be in the chapter called “Fast is Never Fast Enough.” Though the emphasis in the chapter is on racers, the pre-cognitive psycho-biological mechanisms that enable us to adapt to ever-higher speeds and acceleration are distributed throughout the population, and for some of the most committed sensation-seekers, “light and simple” will never satisfy their need for speed.

Well, to each his own and so forth. Still, of all the bikes I’ve owned in the last 40 years, the one I miss the most is the sweet ’89 Honda NX250 I bought, supposedly, for my daughter. Every time I rode that single-cylinder dohc four-valve, six-speed pocket rocket, I’d grin and remember what it was about motorcycling that captured me in 1963, the day I first rode my new 80cc Yamaha YG-1 down Winding Way in Fair Oaks, California: the amazement that something so small, so simple, so light, could make the world go by so quickly and enjoyably.

Obviously, I'm not alone in my fondness for light and simple bikes, and there is evidence that the OEMs are gingerly testing the market here again for such machines, as well as evidence that the market might once again be receptive to them. You can read some of that evidence in the current CW Forum debate under the "Feedback" section, where, under the "Finally another small sportbike option available in the U.S.," you'll see the discussion about the concepts behind the Honda CBR250R. Likewise, when even BMW is thinking seriously about launching another scooter here, it's clear something's up.

Exactly what is going on, and how it might relate to the other currently raging debate about tiered licensing, as the U.K., for example, handles it, is unclear, but what is obvious is that the times are right for major changes. I hope so, and maybe someday we Americans will once again embrace “light and simple” in our motorcycles and many will regard the mega-bikes the way we moto-kids of the early ’60s used to regard prewar Harleys and Indians: as lumbering dinosaurs, relics of an age that knew not the likes of the Hustler.