My introduction to BMW motorcycles occured in the summer of 1975. I was 17 years old and had exuberantly nailed a job at a Honda/BMW dealership, indenturing myself to uncrating motorcycles. A perception of BMW elitism was immediately instilled simply by virtue of how the German machines were boxed up at the factory. Unlike their Japanese counterparts, the BMWs came fully assembled. All that needed to be done was raise the handlebars and attach the mirrors.
It may be said that Soichiro Honda followed the path illuminated by sensei Kano. In the company's 60-odd year history, Honda has dominated opponents, not with brashness and brawn, but through an obsessive devotion to perfection, and the constant refinement of its design and technology.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were literally hundreds of companies around the world building motor-cycles, all vying to capitalize on the burgeoning new industry of powered, two-wheel transportation.
Refinement becomes a legend. Anyone who has experienced Michelangelo's Pieta immediately recognizes the will of extraordinary talent to refine its potential and achieve the ultimate result. In the presence of legends, one needs do little except marvel, and learn with delight and humility. When the legends are motorcycling's greatest racers and their warhorses, one understands how they transcend time.
As with all bikes manufactured since the dawn of motorcycling history, Kawasaki's new Ninja ZX-14 accelerates when the rider applies throttle. However, unlike any mass-produced bike before it, the ZX-14 produces horsepower that has been measured within a few clicks of the 200 mark when ram air is in effect, essentially making it the fastest motorcycle on the market, at the moment.
When one has the resources of Lockhart Phillips USA at his disposal, he can be certain of getting precisely the motorcycle he desires. Such is the case with Wendell Phillips' Ducati ST4R, a tour de force of supersport touring customization.
In 1953 the Kronreif, Trunkenpolz, Mattighofen Motorcycle Company entered their first racing activities, the fifth running of the Gaisberg competition, and finished with first, second and third place honors. Fifty years later, KTM—as the manufacturer is now known—has emerged as a modern builder of high-quality, reliable, exceptionally well-engineered motocross, enduro and supermoto machines. They are also the motorcycle of choice by the majority of the two-wheeled field in the Paris/Dakar Rally, taking top honors the last few years in the world's ultimate endurance race.