Motorcycling has seen immense growth in the past decade due to massive instability in the world. People want to live for once and what better way to do it than ride a motorcycle. People are coming to the realisation that cutting through the wind on two wheels is more liberating than it is dangerous and hence motorcycle sales have seen massive growth in the past decade.
Every month there are new motorcycles being launched which are better, faster and safer than those of the past. They come with many features that make riding enjoyable. There are however many features that are there just for the sake of being there. They do not add much value to the life of a rider, or not as much as these companies would like you to think.
This is is a list of some of the most overrated motorcycle features.
LED lights are a very important innovation for humanity. It has been very effective in lighting up the whole world. The benefits of LEDs are manyfold- it is easier and cheaper to produce, it could change colour as per requirement, it is brighter but the most valuable feature of an LED is that it saves energy.
LEDs consume a fraction of what traditional filament bulbs need. This not only allows for saving of energy but also for that energy to be used somewhere else. In motorcycles, however, there isn’t an issue of limited energy source since motorcycles constantly produce sufficient energy for the lights, ECU and the instrument console.
Motorcycles as opposed to other vehicles do not need energy when they are not running as there is no need for it. Sure starting the motorcycle needs electricity which is what the battery is for. When a motorcycle is at standstill, it does not need its lights or ACs or any other electronic gizmo to be running. Energy saving in a motorcycle is certainly not the most important need of the hour which is what makes LED lights on it, not very important.
Sure LEDs have other things to offer, their packaging needs to be smaller for example. But they are not exponentially brighter than a halogen. Halogens are actually better on foggy nights whereas LEDs are unusable.
My point is, sure LEDs are better than halogen on a motorcycle but they are certainly not as important as motorcycle manufacturers have you believe. The LED on motorcycles are a good feature but nothing to base one’s motorcycle buying decision on.
This is very prevalent in smaller engine motorcycles. Motorcycle companies in developing nations are in this cutthroat competition of claiming their mileage to be better than that of the other motorcycle. In India for example some companies claim up to 80km/l mileage for their motorcycles. Which is just an outright lie.
A 100cc motorcycle cannot go for 80 km however efficiently you ride. Even if you’re on a slope, it wouldn’t go that far! These companies test the mileage under special circumstances which in reality is just a motorcycle on a dyno like set up going at 2500 rpm making as little traction as possible.
I claim mileage as the most overrated feature on a motorcycle because it all depends on your riding style. Look at the below video from TopGear that tests the mileage of the Prius a hybrid car against a BMW M3 a sports sedan. One has a puny 4 cylinder engine while the other has 4 litre V8.
The end of shocking!
In 10 laps around the Top gear test track, the Prius got a fuel efficiency of 17.2 miles/ gallon whereas M3 did 19.4 miles/ gallon.
What it means in the Indian motorcycling context is that if you ride a 100CC Splendor at 70 kmph it would return a mileage worse than riding a Classic 350 at 70.
This is why fuel efficiency or mileage as it’s often called in India is the most overrated feature on a motorcycle.
Mono shock/ Inverted forks
Duke transformed the Indian motorcycling niche for the better. Prior to it there was nothing that produced this much amount of power from this small engine. It sold in droves and potentially ended Pulsar’s monopoly in the sports motorcycle category. Bajaj is still down from the beating that it received way back in 2012.
Duke brought many new features into the Indian motorcycling scene, such as underbelly exhaust, inverted front forks as well as mono shocks. Although mono shock was present in some other motorcycles before it namely the Honda Unicorn, it was the Duke and later Pulsar NS 200 that popularised it.
The idea behind a mono-shock is that it allows for the motorcycle to be stable around corners at high speeds. While it is certainly a good feature to have, its effectiveness is unrecognisable in day to day usage.
I have used Pulsar NS 200, Honda Unicorn, Honda CB 350, Hero Splendor, Pulsar 180, TVS Ntorq and Honda SP extensively and I have found no difference between mono shocks and dual rear shocks in day to day usage. It is only when you ride fast around the corner that you would find the Duke 390’s suspension work its magic.
Mono shocks however are not as big of a feature on everyday motorcycles to be a deal-breaker for you. Mono as well as inverted front forks are certainly superior to the traditional shocks but only on a race track and most people never visit a race track.
Special paint scheme
Being a Bajaj customer, one thing that irks me the most about that company is its pathetic facelift cycle. While other motorcycle companies try to change a panel or two, maybe add LED lights or accessories to their motorcycles, Bajaj goes for the easiest route of changing the colour scheme.
Every few years, Bajaj launches their Pulsar brand of motorcycles with nothing but new paint schemes that are worse than the outgoing motorcycle. They changed the colour of Pulsar NS 200 to white for god’s sake.
They would also come up with stupid names for these colour schemes, like “edgy”, “special” “racy” etc which means nothing in reality. Special livery for me is one of the most overrated features on motorcycles and I can’t understand why anyone would base their buying decision on it. It’s not like these motorcycle companies have raced in historic races through Europe.
Another one of those feature that irks me the most is Bluetooth connectivity. I still don’t understand what purpose they serve. They are often laggy, disconnect every few minutes, and won’t work when you need them.
Bluetooth connectivity in today’s motorcycles is so poorly implemented that you’d be so much better without them. This is one of those useless features that companies try to sell you on. It actually amounts to nothing of significance and is one of the most overrated features on a motorcycle.
Do you agree with the list? If you want to add something else please feel free to comment below.