DCSportbikes.net  
» Help Support .NET!
DCSportbikes Premier Membership for 25$ per year. Discounts! Click here for full information.

Now available in the .NET Shop:



Get your DCSBN Gear!
» Shoutbox
Sorry, only registered users have the ability to use our real-time shoutbox to chat with other members.

Register now, it's free!
» Online Users: 324
1 members and 323 guests
davidcycle
Most users ever online was 4,519, September 2, 2015 at 03:26 AM.
Go Back   DCSportbikes.net > Non-Sportbike Forums > Non-Sportbike Chat

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Motorcycles and the rise of function over form/ decline of art on everyday life
Unread
  (#1)
Firebreathing VTwin
 
Dieder's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,112
Join Date: July 21, 2003
Location: Reno NV
Motorcycles and the rise of function over form/ decline of art on everyday life - October 22, 2007, 10:06 PM

Not sure where I found this but I had to share this with my Pops, a biker, who can appreciate the finer things in life.
His reply

"Too bad only a motorcyclist understands all this! But it’s still true even if others don’t know about it."


I enjoyed and related to this....


Quote:
My father loves trains. He loves them so much that he buys dvd’s about trains and train trips across America . Classic trains or modern trains he is train nuts. While watching those videos about the old train engines and train cars with him, I started thinking about design and use.

Looking at the way the cars were appointed (the polished brass trim, plush upholstery, carved wood, etc.) really made me think about how we (the human race) went from function following form, to form following function. Humans used to put form first in a lot of what we did. No matter where you look the engineer’s function has supplanted the designer’s form in the modern world.

I really started to despair about this loss of artistry in our daily lives. OK so despair may be too strong a word, but it did get me down a little. I started pondering some of my favorite things and how they have changed over time to become slaves to function. I began to wonder if this form following function illness was as widespread as I originally thought. After giving this subject much thought I came to a few conclusions, some of which I’ll share with you. I think that it can be said with some degree of certainty that a Douglas DC-3 is a much prettier airplane than a Boeing 737. I think we also would agree that a 1950’s era Buick is much prettier than anything they’ve built recently. I could also list boats in this as well since an old wooden Chris Craft is much prettier than a new Bayliner.

Of course my thoughts turned to motorcycles next (you’ve been waiting for this haven’t you). I started thinking about 50’s and 60’s era Triumphs, BSAs and Nortons, not to mention Ducati’s and Moto Guzzi’s. I then started to mentally compare those bikes with their modern counterparts. I realized that the design of motorcycles (with a few exceptions) hasn’t fallen into the same function trap as everything else. Can anyone truly say that the design of a Ducati (except the Multistrada) is completely engineer driven with little to no thought for beauty? Is a 1964 Ducati 250 Mach 1 more beautiful than the 1098? Is a 1966 Triumph Bonneville more visually appealing than the new Daytona 675?

Obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think that most people will agree that when it comes to motorcycle design, form can exist on equal terms with function. But why is that? Why do motorcycles, one of the last bastions of beautiful forms, co-exist with function? Is it because motorcycles are not logical? Is it because a motorcycle purchase more often than not comes down to the bike that stirs your heart? The bike that makes you want to poke your head in the garage 1000 times a day just to make sure “she” is still OK? The bike that your wife calls the “other woman” because you “spend more time with her than you do with me”?

I began to realize that function actually could work together with form instead of beating it into a bloody pulp. Maybe all it takes is manufacturers understanding that their customers are driven by passion and not logic. Understanding the product they are selling is selling because while nobody “needs” it a lot of people “want” it (“it” being whatever they are building). Maybe these are the reasons why the exotics (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, etc..) Are also one of the last places you can go to find function and form playing nicely together.

Motorcyclists (and the really rich) are some of the last holdouts that prove there is still a minority of people that aren’t willing to give up style just to get a few more miles to the gallon. People that refuse to go quietly into that dark night of bland, visually offensive machinery that has no soul or passion.

Maybe this is why people in Great Britain and European countries are more motorcycle mad than those in the USA . They are surrounded by old architecture and beauty in engineering far more than those of us here in the States. They see function and form working hand in hand everywhere and motorcycles fit into that "visual pattern" very nicely. Americans (North Americans for my Latin American readers) view motorcycles as toys and not something practical. We like our lives to be surrounded with things that make our lives easier, don't need too much attention, don't cause us to miss the important phone calls about our dry cleaning being done, and can transport us to our destination without causing any wrinkles or messed up hair.

Motorcycles don't do any of these things. Motorcycles stir your passions. They call out your name on beautiful evenings cajoling you into going for a ride. They require you to mess up your hair and get road grit on your clothes. They won't keep you dry in the rain or warm in the cold. They can be temperamental and fussy. Motorcyclists (real ones anyway) understand this and embrace it. Helmet hair is a hot fashion trend and being sweaty = having fun.


Form following function or function following form? Which would you choose? Me? I think I'll go mess up my hair and get sweaty.
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#2)
Firebreathing VTwin
 
Dieder's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,112
Join Date: July 21, 2003
Location: Reno NV
October 22, 2007, 10:11 PM

a few good quotes two of my favoites...

"all it takes is manufacturers understanding that their customers are driven by passion and not logic"

and

"Motorcycles stir your passions. .......
They won't keep you dry in the rain or warm in the cold. They can be temperamental and fussy. Motorcyclists (real ones anyway) understand this and embrace it. Helmet hair is a hot fashion trend and being sweaty = having fun. "
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#3)
Resident Rodent
 
Magic-Rat's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,717
Join Date: November 25, 2003
Location: Manassas
October 22, 2007, 10:54 PM

Good piece.

I know what he means. We have become a "throw away" society in many ways. Items very carefully engineered for a discrete lifecycle largely defined by the smallest tangible positive return on investment.

I'm torn ...

When I Missed Form:

- I remember the late 70's and early 80's. The era of 4 cylinder Mustangs and Chargers. It was so depressing.

- When I lived in Europe, I was equally distressed to see the vehicles that "mortal man" drove. It was not the Mercedes SLs for every man, woman, and child that my minds eye had envisioned. It was little Opels, Fiats, and Ford "Ka's". The rest reserved for the rich.

Thoughts On Function:

- When I lived in Europe and "by law" they rolled up the streets at 5:00 pm ... I sure missed 24 hour WAL-MART (especially when my printer ran out of ink on chart 40 of 72 with the big briefing to my boss at 7:00 am the next day). That's "process" tho ... not hard bent metal like the article describes ... so prolly not as pertinent.

- Some machines need to stir the soul; cars, bikes, and boats for example. Air conditioners and toasters ... well ... not so much. I want function over form with them. Now, if industry could just figure out what we really want. LOL.

***

In the end, numbers drive the key decisions related to form, fit, and function. You can't stay in business if you are not profitable. The result is a stratification of cost across products and specialization by branding. The most desirable things have the most people wanting them, but unable to "have" them ... and in general, that will not change (I think). It's supply and demand.

... at least we can look.

On a positive note, I think the sportbike community has a good gig. Perhaps as good as it gets. Sportbikes look AWESOME (even with Euro3 mufflers) ... and cost half what a custom cruiser goes for. But, you are right ... each year things like Euro3 "take away" ...


- Rat

"Ride to the sound of the guns."

http://www.magicratproductions.com

Last edited by Magic-Rat; October 22, 2007 at 11:01 PM..
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#4)
B
It goes to 11.
 
B's Avatar
 
Posts: 16,806
Join Date: November 8, 2004
Location: Moet Chandon on a Schlitz budget
October 23, 2007, 09:14 AM

good read.


SV650s for SALE!!!
- 2007 SV650 Racebike-Superbike KWS/Thermosman suspension/Swenz bodywork/All GSXR Parts
- 2009 SV650 Streetbike Race blue with white stripe/No wrecks/fully faired with M4 full system

Shoot me a PM or talk to Nate (Nudist) if you're interested in purchase.

Last edited by B; October 23, 2007 at 09:16 AM..
  Send a message via AIM to Send a message via AIM to B  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#5)
Agitator
 
birdman's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,769
Join Date: October 23, 2005
Location: Fairfax, VA
October 23, 2007, 09:48 AM

and yet people still rag on ducati...


Marc
CCS Amateur #851
2001 Ducati 850RS
2006 SV650 Racebike
2010 CBR1000RR

...and because sometimes you want to go fast, but need 4 wheels:
2009 Nissan GT-R
2003 Nissan 350Z (for sale, $11k OBO)
  Send a message via AIM to Send a message via AIM to birdman  
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
vBulletin Skin developed by: vBStyles.com
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest © 2002-2010 by DCSportbikes.net. DCSportbikes.net is owned by End of Time Studios, LLC.