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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Was exactly IS "character"?

I read a similar thread to this before at SBN, but I thought it would be fun to discuss here. Sorry, can't remember who the original poster was.




We've heard it before... "My bike's got 'character'."

What exactly does that mean to you? Does your bike have "character"? How so?

I ride a Triumph Speed Triple. I call it my Problem Child. It has given me problems since the FIRST day I got it. But I still LOVE it! My other rides are a Honda VFR and a Honda GoldWing, and while I love those bikes, the Problem Child is the one I look to first... every time. Is THAT "character"?
 

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It almost seems like the character of a bike has more to do with the rider thatn the bike it self. It seems like when the look, the sound, the aura of the bike, even its faults mesh with your personality you say it has character. Other people may not get it but that is simply because they are not you. THey may wonder why you like a bike that has a few problems and tell you to get a honda but its because they are either boring people or haven't yet found a bike that fits them perfectly.
 

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a honda civic has no character....a porsche 930 does. it's not about the money though as so does a 79 vw superbeetle convertible...or a '67 corvette stingray, where a new z06 does not. to me you hurt the character of a bike when you make the 600,750, and 1000 models all the same blue and white color scheme...making them indistinguishable, i.e. gixxers. nothing on the road looks or sounds like my daytona...just like noone else looks, walks, or talks like me.
 

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Matter of semantics

This is probably just a matter of semantics, but I prefer the word "Soul" instad of "Character."

Character reminds me of the old guy hanging out at the General Store telling stories, or how you might need to go through some ritual, like ignition on, twist throttle exactly 1/4 turn, and exacty 3 times, so your old Triumph Bonnieville would start on the first kick. Or how you might need to carry a small screwdriver, guages, and emery paper on every trip 'cause your old 750SS's points couldn't hold a setting if you epoxied them in place... That's 'character'.

To me, "Soul" means the feeling the bike gives it's owner... The loping, ultra long-legged feel of an Italian Sport Tourer, the WW-2 fighterplane howl and balance of a big triple, or the manic scream and knife-edged feel of a 600cc supersport... Different bikes and owners being different, the things that might 'speak' to me would naturally be different from what turns your crank; And also,a person might crave a different feel at different times...

Either way, it is very possible to make a bike *too* perfect, and massage all the 'soul/character' out of it.

Just my $0.02...

Scott :bigspecs
 

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Its tough to define "character"...

All I know is that my '93 Ducati 750SS has a feel that I never
experienced on the Katanas, Hurricanes, and Ninjas I rode
before I went "European".

There's just something about that old twin. Its cranky when its
cold and there is no fuel injection but once she warms up I've
never heard a sweeter (meaner?) idle.

I pulled the CR fairings and replaced them with full fairings. I
also put carbon pipes, steel brake lines, and an upgraded front
brake rotor on her.

A buddy of mine is looking at Triumphs and Aprilias now. He had a
Katana 1100 when we first met. He's sold on European now.
 

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character is listening to Mike talk smack about your bike, and not caring cause its mine...all mine.....or at least it was..now its' the impounds *sigh*

:redflip
 

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Cranky Euro-Gnome
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I've noticed that there are people who appreciate "character" and "soul (henceforth referred to as C&S;) ) and those who do not. In my experience, the vast majority of the "do nots" are only in it for the adrenaline rush, while the "do's" are into it for the ride, the feeling you get while out in the open, the almost surreal feeling of being one with the bike. You have to love motorcycles to recognize this, not just ride them.
C&S is not a product of being "flawed", it's just a product of being designed and engineered outside the (aisian) norm. What sets them apart? The roar of a piped triple or a Duck with Termi's, the tourque rock from a Guzzi or a Boxer twin, the attention to detail, the 4krpm shudder that lets you know there's a living, breathing, Euro-fiend making horses to make you giggle in your helmet. These bikes almost make you think that they just might have a little mind of their own, but YOU are their savior.
It's not about flaws. The most flawed bike I ever owned was a Honda, but I wouldn't say it had C&S, it was just a POS:laughing
Cheers, Lee S.
 

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Some it's just damn effective marketing. When folks press me on what type of bike I ride (my first answer is "yellow") their usually impressed b/c "Ducati" sounds exotic. This impression isn't based on their knowledge of the bike, cause usually they don't have any.

Some of it's how well the "intangibles" are integrated into the design. An example would be the desmondromic approach resulting in a unique sound.

my .02
 

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I have to agree with Lee.

If I remember correctly Peter Egan tried to put this to words before and came up with the difference being riding/driving and motoring.

You ride/drive characterless machines. I drive my company car. I used to ride my GPZ 750. But, I would go "motoring" in my 944 turbo or my '65 Mustang. I "motor" on my Super III.
 

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It's in how you feel when you ride the bike. It's how others react to you riding your bike.

When crusty old Harley riders deride me from a distance thinking I'm on a "JapCrap™" bike, and then they see the Triumph logo, and they come talk to me about the first bike they had in '67. That's Character.
 

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Directionally Challenged
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I always thought that it was a bike that you could bond with. Whether that be throuigh looks, or sound, or even problems. It's the bike that you get emotionally attached to. My Buell is like that for me. It's got a good sound, quirky design, and is just a blast to ride. A bike has character if it stirs the soul.
 

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"Character" can also be a synonym for "undesirable traits".

For instance. "My 1967 Norton was a character filled bike, which leaked oil from it's primary drive cover faster than the Exxon Valdez!"

:lol
 

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TJA1 said:
"Character" can also be a synonym for "undesirable traits".

For instance. "My 1967 Norton was a character filled bike, which leaked oil from it's primary drive cover faster than the Exxon Valdez!"

:lol
That is what epoxy is for.
 

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I think that character is what makes you excited to get on your bike and ride it. Especially after you are at the local hangout and see all the newest latest and greatest and are happy to be riding YOUR baby out of there.
 

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Some people go for that bang-for-the-buck. My thoughts?

"Who the fuck cares about bang for the buck. I spend quite a bit of my life commuting and I'd like a big ass grin on my face while in the process."

I want something that I can connect with and makes ME happy. I think in the end anyone who is passionate about whatever it is they do thinks the same way.
 

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I like to think my bike has character. still no soul, but it does have character.

I think Random has it right. A bike that has character is a bike that stirs YOUR soul.
 
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