It’s evolution baby!” Eddie Vedder screams on some Pearl Jam record released in the late ’90s. Come to think of it, this album dropped just about the time when dudes started building bikes with big motors and even bigger rear tires. Though I’m no fan of Pearl Jam (I was way more into Mudhoney), the band had some pretty profound lyrics that pertain to what was going down at the time. (It’s herd behavior, uh huh / I’m at peace with my lust)
We at HOT BIKE watched and reported as bikes became longer, faster, and wider than ever before. Though it may or may not have played out this way, it seemed if the next builder surpassed the previous builder with a larger displacement or diameter, he was the reigning king of custom motorcycles. In short, aided by TV and the internet, this two-wheeled tomfoolery happened until the motorcycle industry as a whole was a parody of itself.
I don’t blame all those guys for following the trend of the day; it was just the “in thing” to do when one lives in the moment. Living proof that this kind of vibe was all around us was the birth of the Ford Excursion, Wendy Whopper’s cup size, and 26- and 30-inch car wheels. These “re-fi my house for an $80,000 chopper” reindeer games went on for more than a decade until the bubble exploded in our faces like a massive wad of oil-and-gas-soaked Hubba Bubba.
Since then, everything in our lives has caused us to take a step back. With that intrinsic pause, a clearer vision of custom motorcycles has prevailed. Sleeker and less cartoonish bikes are now the norm. Motorcycles that are comprised of real motorcycle parts, not doo-dads found from cars and bars. And I thank God for that.