Thursday, 14 December 2017

Improvement? or Liability?

Both bike and car manufacturers are guilty.

They 'improve' vehicles all the time, but to my mind, the vehicles are not necessarily better for it.
Take the Honda range. Honda get a good idea and produce a motorcycle that's the best there is at the time - easy to ride, great fun, and with as much power as you realistically need on today's roads.
Then they 'improve' it, and what you end up with is a bike that, yes, is superior technically, but nowhere near as much fun to ride.
They did it with the VFR750. An absolutly brilliant bike to ride. Until they turned it into the VFR800. Superior technically - and as bland as f***.
The Honda Hornet, probably my favourite bike of all time, was fast, at times a little unstable, indisputably quirky, and responsible for thousands of insane grins on riders' faces.
This is now replaced by the CB650F, which for my sins, I bought.

It certainly outperforms the old Hornet in most respects, but I find it bland and uninspiring.

But my biggest gripe is with technical advancement. They are gradually whittling away at the skills required to drive or ride these modern vehicles. It started with indicators - no longer did you have to learn how to manage a motorcycle with one hand whilst using the other to signal your intentions. Then came electric start, ABS etc. etc. Now you no longer have to know how to pull a bike back on compression and deliver that swift sharp jab to get it going, and your bike makes decisions for you as to whether you're braking too hard or not. When I started riding, if you made a mistake and fell over, you learned damned quick never to make the same mistake again, and by doing so, you gained a greater knowledge of the physics involved in riding a bike, and an acute awareness of road conditions etc.

I can hear you all now yelling safety, safety............yes, I'll grant you that but.................

We now are looking at cars that drive themselves, bikes that can't topple over, and where will it all end? My concern is, vehicles can fail mechanically, electrically, electronically and if we're all relying on our vehicles to perform for us, what happens when something goes wrong? Who will have the knowledge and skill to cope with an emergency situation?

Now the use of satnavs is set to become part of the driving test. It has been shown more than once that people rely on their satnavs at the expense of correctly reading road signs. There's an inherent danger in too much technology, it seems to me.

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