• Mar 14, 2008


Click above to view more pictures of the 2008 Honda CBR1000RR

Motorcycle design has been evolving over the years to the point that sportbikes of old look almost nothing like what's currently on showroom floors today. Full fairings add an aerodynamic look to the modern sportbike, although the basic mechanicals underneath remain the same. What's most interesting, though, are front end and headlight designs, which are what often differentiates one bike from another and gives a bike its character. It turns out that this unique look is sometimes designed to make people think of the bike as human. For instance, Honda's latest CBR1000RR has headlights designed to look like eyes with an abbreviated "nose" in between. By establishing a human connection, other drivers are more likely to notice the motorcycle, which is definitely a boon for safety, and it also gives the rider a connection to the machine making him or her feel that it is an extension of themselves.

Some motorcycles are purposely styled to look aggressive or mean, intimidating the rider and reminding them that their lives are on the line. It's not often that we think of motorcycle styling as a safety measure, but it's something we can appreciate. Still, there is a part of us that appreciates the elemental mechanical look of classic bikes that much of the industry has lost today. Fortunately, choices abound on the market, so there is surely a bike out there that will appeal to each individual rider.


[Source: The Windsor Star]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Some motorcycles are purposely styled to look aggressive or mean, intimidating the rider and reminding them that their lives are on the line."

      Please.... Did Sheriff John Bunnell write this piece?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gorgeous bike but I'm too old to ride now, though I use to ride Triumphs and early Yamaha DT dirt bikes. Oh well, now, I'm the doddering old car in the left lane with the directional flashing to senility.

      Ride hard when you're young.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Also the Ducati bikes have started doing this like the 1098
      • 6 Years Ago
      Human? Demonic is more like it. You'll have drivers hunting you down.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A car would never catch em!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Would be nice for a Harley or a Goldwing, a fairing that wide, increases the frontal area of this bike thus increasing the drag. Which defeats the whole philosophy of the "sportbike"

        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, it's not that simple. The frontal area of the bike not only includes just the fairings themselves, but other things like the wheels and especially the rider. Having a narrower and smaller fairing cross section does not necessarily mean a bike with less drag. Just take a look at the Hayabusa- the fairings were designed to be wider in order to create an "air pocket" that deflects air around not only the motorcycle, but the rider as well. This actually ends up decreasing drag more than a smaller, narrower fairing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Mr. Oak
        should I or should I not comment... Hmmm.. No, I'm not going to.
        I do love my CBR1k though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Did you just say that 'sportbikes' are less aerodynamic than a Harley?

        I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you had to mean something else.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gixxers are better.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What motorcycles need are catalytic converters.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, no, they are not. At least not in the US.

        The EPA only updated the standards in 2006.

        http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/Article_Page.aspx?ArticleID=4352&Page=1

        And as for pollution, they pollute a lot more than a car. As this article points out, the cleanest motorcycle is 100 times more polluting than a Prius.

        http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?archive=1&storyid=260&first=4649&end=4648
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, as I said NOT in the US. As I live in California, which, last I checked, is in the US, I am concerned about emissions standards here. And they are poor.

        Oh and here in California, people can and do ride bikes year round. So it is not some sort of "I ride 2 months out of the year" thing.

        Europe is improving but it is only in the past few years. The US is improving, but only in the past TWO years.

        And it's easy for a modern bike to surpass old emissions standards that were set 27 years ago, in 1980. Even so, your point is pointless. Improving emissions was not some goal in the design process (for older motorcycles). It was a byproduct.

        And yes, comparing a prius to a sportbike might be unfair. But so what. Tell you what; why don't you compare a performance bike to any sportscar. Take your pick. WRX, GT-R, Corvette, M3, they are all cleaner than a bike. Why? Because, even though standards are getting tougher, they are nowhere near the standards for cars. Oh, and you mention all the emissions controls on a Prius. Guess what, they are there to reduce emissions. Which is exactly what I said is needed on motorcycles. Which don't have them. Which is why they pollute more.

        And how about this for a simple test. Stand by the exhaust of a motorcycle and stand by the exhaust of a sports car. Which one reeks like a 1960 Chevy and makes your eyes water?

        I will say that things are improving. And hopefully in 10 years it will be a lot better. But I doubt it. There are plenty of fools that are more interested in tuning their old Harley for max noise. Because apparently, in some parts of the motorcycle world, noise = performance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Modern day sport bikes do have cats.
        • 6 Years Ago
        In the first link they have a chart showing Eurobin standards. It's very clear the Euro standards are higher then EPA standards. Also considering most manufacturers have bikes out years before a new emission standard comes out and meets those new standards, motorcycle manufacturers are doing more on their part then automotive manufacturers.

        In the second link they only compare against hydrocarbon. In Eurobin 3 hydrocarbon must be a max of 0.3, the 2001 bike they tested got 0.32. Eurobin 3 was enforced in 2007. The fact the prius has 70 horse, 2 catalytic converters and an additional hydrocarbon absorber to reduced emissions, I don't see why you're comparing its emissions to a motorcycle built in 2001 that is a performance machine.

        Comparing the prius emissions to a machine that's designed to be fast is like comparing the Prius emissions to a Yamaha BW that gets over 120mpg. Apples to concrete blocks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        do you know what it takes to manufacture one of those Priuses... You think those batteries are all assembled in the US or Japan? Planes are used to ship all those extra battery components around the world to make every Prius. and well... planes pollute the least of all... right?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree about thte prius. I'm not that big of a fan of them. But again, my point was that motocycles are gross polluters for their displacement.

        I'm not against motorcycles. I am just saying they need stricter emissions. Simple as that. I can't imagine why someone would be against that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Emissions for motorcycles are already very strict. Considering the small amount of people who ride them and the fact you can only ride then for half the year, in most areas, it isn't necessary. What they need to do is start developing their 1000cc engines to have more power. 600's are almost as fast as 1000's these days.
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