Bikes. Bikes are what brings us together here at Surly and I think we can all agree that bikes are awesome and riding them is even better. Hell, riding mountain bikes is one of my favorite things to do and I spend a pretty good chunk of my day doing just that most days nowadays.
But it wasn’t always this way. Long before becoming a full-time bike geek, when my big brother and I were just little twerps our dad built and raced fancy German cars. During those days, my brother, mom and I would camp out at the track and walk around while Dad did his thing. I was young enough to not remember everything, but the sound of a GT-1 car flat out was one thing that stuck. The sound of these cars coming down a straight instilled enough excitement and joy in my brother and I that we would scamble over to climb the fence every lap to get a peek:
Years later dad would quit racing cars and he and I started traveling around to the motocross races. I was small and the bikes were small, but I got bigger, the bikes got bigger, and more and more people started showing up. I know the sound of a motocross bike isn’t for everyone, but to me there just aren’t many sounds better than a fresh 125 being ridden by a factory hoss:
See the thing about a 125 moto bike is they don’t all sound the same. You can literally hear how much power it has by the way it sounds, and back in those days if someone was sitting on the gate revving a bike that sounded like that, I might try to line up next to someone else.
Now I know that the satisfaction of a well tuned bike is a near silent ride with only the rustling leaves and wind in your face and birds chirping and all that, but can it hang with the sound of an F1 car?
What about an Italian V-twin superbike?
So I’m happy with a quiet bike. I really am. It’s just that I miss the noises. They say that scent has the strongest tie to memory of all the senses, and maybe that’s true, but hearing these mechanical beauties brings me back to those places awful quickly. And it’s easier for me to make dirtbike noises while I ride my bike than burn C12 and castor oil.
So whether it’s a factory CR 250, a 427 side oiler, a 440 with a six pack, a fat V-twin, an air-cooled flat six, or even a boxer with a turbo that blows your hair back, I’m with you. I’ve got an awful lot of great memories from those times in my life so if you hear me making funny noises while I’m riding, I hope you can understand.