Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Make yerself at home. For an ol’ dog like me, technology is a bit scary sometimes. The kids of today aren’t a bit intimidated by all the electronic gadgets, high-tech video games, an’ computer-generated stuff they take for granted because of their early indoctrination into the cybernetic environment. Hell, I remember when havin’ “The Talk” with your 8-year-old meant the birds an’ the bees, but now it’s, “How do ya program the DVD player, Junior?”
To be honest, technology throws me for a loop. I have a hard enough time with single-fire ignition, an’ some of the basic upgrades that are now available for early iron, without all the fuel injection an’ state-of-the-art tuning tools that seem to appear daily by osmosis. I guess that old adage about old dogs an’ new tricks is true, at least for me.
But ooookay, if you insist… Let’s talk about technology, just for shits an’ giggles. The concept of settin’ points in a parkin’ lot, drunk, at 2:00 in the morning is nothin’ new to me, but usin’ a laptop computer ta set the air/fuel ratio, timing, an’ advance curve just intimidates the everlovin’ shit outta me! Yeah, I know… I’m an antique, but I’ll bet there’s a lot of ya out there who feel the same way. If that ol’ Shovel or Knuck starts on the first kick, don’t f*** with it! It’s kinda like booze. Ya can order a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, or ya can drink Jack Daniel’s outta the damn bottle, an’ get the same thing accomplished without all the fuss, bother, an’ expense.
Hell, I’m sittin’ here now, drinkin’ 151 proof rum, an’ contemplatin’ my newest chopper build. It’s no secret that I love the old stuff. I build the bikes I wanted when I was a young pup, an’ I do it the old fashioned way, so if ya don’t want ta wrench on yer ride, steer clear of me, an’ the old dogs who build the real old-school stuff like I do.
Every time I get a magazine in the mail, there seem ta be hundreds of new products that are supposed ta make your life better, your ridin’ easier, an’ your gas go farther, an’ all while not bein’ touched, adjusted, or replaced for 200,000 miles. Want digital fuel injection just like the ol’ lady’s Tahoe? It’s somewhere on the page with the digital cruise control, the digital air ride suspension, an’ the digital auto-dimmin’ mirrors.
Some new bikes have windshields that adjust up an’ down, ta put those decorator quality bugs in just the right spot on yer teeth for a real dose’a Fung-Shway. An’ how about those heated grips? There have been times when my front paws were so frozen I had ta slide ’em off the grips when I got stopped, an’ stick ’em in my pockets a while before I could even turn the ignition off. Hey… That’s another good question in the “real biker” quiz! Are ya a “real biker” if your fingernails have never turned blue from the cold?
So… You’re ridin’ along on your brand new bike with your digital cruise control set, your heated grips warmin’ the outside of your digital electric gloves, your digital fuel injection performin’ flawlessly, your catalytic converter spewin’ out clean air scented like wildflowers, an’ your windshield adjusted ta give your teeth the optimum array of fall colors. All of a sudden, some internal circuit breaker pops, an’ ya drift to the side of the road. Now what do ya do? Your hands are gettin’ cold, an’ ya don’t have a laptop computer, a digital multi-meter, or a plug-in scanner. Ya open the seat an’ stare at all those pretty wires an’ cute little plastic boxes plugged into ’em, an’ the tears freeze on your cheeks. There’s no question now: Even though you’re relegated ta the side of the road, your blue fingernails say you’re a “real biker.”
Wait a minnit! What’s that comin’ down the road? A single headlight! Another biker will know what ta do… Hallelujah! You’re saved!
The bearded ol’ fart on the Shovelhead takes one look at your new ride, scratches his head, an’ says, “If ya wanna ride bitch, I’ll take ya to the nearest dealer.” His scoot fires on the first kick, an’ down the road ya go.
Yeah, I know… All the new stuff’s nice, an’ it makes the ridin’ a lot easier an’ more comfortable, but to me, it’s always been about the adventure.