Many visitors here, probably you, are a lot more technical than most folks and I bet more than a few of you can build your own computer. If you can, you know a computer is made from very few and very standard parts and those parts can be purchased from a wide variety of sources. Once parts become standardized, producing your own version of the finished product is easy and so is large scale, inexpensive manufacturing. Companies may put their own name on a computer but they only assemble parts from somewhere else. A computer case may be designed to look unique but inside, it looks the same as every other computer.
Now, think about motorcycles. Think of each of the parts found in the average motorcycle and you can probably think of someone making and selling just that part. How unique is each motorcycle manufactured today? Swoopy bodywork removed and what do you have? The engine and frame are the most different but frames can be designed outside the major companies as evidenced by everything from the explosion of choppers to the lower production and one off sportbikes beginning to appear. Engines from the major brands tend to be different but there are other companies building capable engines today, too.
In my earlier posts about a sportbike build off, I alluded to the same idea, but my thought here is this: Why can’t we have a large scale component motorcycle industry? The street rod and kit car guys have a lot of this already and some of the kits you can buy are spectacular. Why isn’t this a bigger business for motorcycles? Lots of bikers are very hands on, it seems a natural. Lots of homebuilders even design and build their own airplanes so why don’t we see more motorcycles built from scratch or from kits? Motorcycles should be as easy to build as a computer, well, relatively, and lots of guys could build a basic (and non chopper) bike for little money. Spend a little more time or money and you get something more unique or higher performing. Is this really huge and I just missed it or is something different with motorcycles? I don’t get it.