Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Fallacy of Long-Term Product Reviews

A phenomena I've noticed in the motorcycle product placement word involves the review of products for the so-called long-term.  As a motorcyclist of almost a quarter-century, the use of a product for a prolonged period of time takes on a fundamentally profound new meaning.  I still have my first leather jacket, hanging cracked and faded from a peg on the wall of my garage.  Though I haven't worn the jacket in years - my midsection no longer permits this - that jacket endured miles of highway, freezing temperatures, rain, and a battalion of high-speed insectoid invaders.  

While the leather aged remarkably well - conditioned as it was by the elements - the lining all but disintegrated with years of regular use.  The jacket's also a bit stiff.  The arms are permanently bent at the elbows and the cuffs of the sleeves molded into crests of leather to accommodate gloves long since  retired to the rubbish bin.  Considering the abuse and the long march of years, my original leathers have withstood the test of time.

When considering long-term product reviews, I'm less interested in a jacket, pants, gloves, or boots which have been worn for three months in relatively stable conditions than those products I see other riders wearing which have withstood daily and, oftentimes, brutal testing.  I want to know the story behind the Roadcrafter with faded impact panels, smudged with road grime from the knees to the lower cuff.  I desire the tale of the boots resoled after three years, the leather pliable as soft cloth.  How many times has the liner of that favorite helmet been washed, rewashed, and replaced simply to preserve that fantastic outer shell now out of production.  

And don't get me started on motorcycles.  Three to six months in fabulous weather on a machine acquired with an odometer reading zero should be called "A Nice Beginning" rather than long-term review.  Long-term testing involves standing under a bridge overpass watching the lights of the instrument panel fade to black, the death of a ten year-old electrical system by thunderstorm.  What suffices as long-term motorcycle testing for product placement would likely only scuff a new set of brake pads.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gypsy's Reboot

When glancing through the last posts in this blog, I experience the sensation as if I discovered something I'd thought lost.  Akin perhaps to finding an old box of parts stuffed under a work bench, I read through old entries as if turning over an odd foot peg or dusty mirror, marveling at the speckled patina slowly consuming the mirrored surface of the chrome and dusting away sticky strands of cobweb.  The odor of old gasoline absorbed into a cardboard box triggers memories of long hours spent in the garage, worrying away some problem threatening the next day's ride.  With a grease-stained rag in one hand, I wipe the grit and grime from those old parts, turning and examining each for wear.  In the measured age of yesterday's parts lies the hope of the ride tomorrow.  

All gypsies must come in from the road from time to time.  The horse must rest and be cared for.  The wanderer brings in tales of the wild places, those of open highway and wilderness as well as the view of interior places fostered by long hours in the saddle and the pulse of an engine.  It is time to dust off those old parts, hold tools in the hand until metal warms to the touch, and recall the profound fortune which allows us to be vagabonds - if only for a weekend at a time.