~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Facing the Music

7:57 is a very quick non-racing lap at Nurburgring

In olden times the chance to see real motorcycle races on film in the USA was nearly zilch and seeing racing bikes on TV, even less. If you were lucky you belonged to a motorcycle club that would borrow promotional movies from PR departments at Castrol or other companies that supported motorsports and you got to watch, through a haze of cigarette smoke, ten year old 16mm films of races in Europe (often in black and white).

Nowadays SpeedChannel (AKA the NASCAR channel), ESPN, OLN, and others give fairly decent coverage to MotoGP, World and AMA Superbike racing, motocross, and occasionally SuperMoto. Dakar Rally coverage on OLN is good although they spend far too much time on racer "up close and personal" segments instead of on the racing action. And while I'm at it, a big thumbs down to SpeedChannel for dropping their coverage of the Isle of Man TT races.

Racing movies are almost prolific now ("Faster", "Dust to Glory", "World's Fastest Indian") and especially since everyone with a bike, a camcorder, and access to a winding road, is making their own video. Most of the home brew videos are awful for content, image quality, and most of all, sound track. Why oh why can't you guys doing videos, whether amateur or professional, just let the bike do the sound track? Who could possibly think that some third rate thrash band or their favorite garage band can provide better sound than well tuned four cylinder engine or barely muffled Italian v-twin? You might as well use "I'm a lumberjack" from Monty Python, it would add as much class to your video.

Over at Google Video there's a great video of someone named Doohan (not Mick) and another guy dicing with cars on the Nurburgring. It's the only video I've seen of the 'Ring where a car passes the bikes. Someone who really knows how to drive a Porsche motored on past everyone and disappeared up the track. Impressive! The music sound track in the video is crap as usual but through it you can hear the bike engine wailing and even a shout of excited laughter from the rider when he gets the bike crossed up and saves it. Good stuff.

I just downloaded a 39 mb video from BMW wherein someone who rides much better than most of us flat hauls around the Nurburgring in Germany aboard a BMW K1200S. The perspective is good if a bit distorted by the windscreen, the riding is excellent, the bike is clearly amazing, and nearly smothering it all is some crappy music instead of the full sound of the BMW's 150+ hp four cylinder engine. Kudus for BMW for making a fun video but a big poke in the Roundel for not letting the bike itself do the sound track.

So to you budding Bruce Brown's out there: When you make your video, just let the engine handle the sound track, there's nothing in your library of pirated MP3 music that will sound as good. And you pro video guys, turn down the canned synth music and let the whole ride experience shine through including the engine sound.


gregLewis said...

Doug - a great piece, as usual. However, I must point out that there are very few things in life that would not become more classy by the addition of "I'm a Lumberjack".

Doug Klassen said...


Come to think of it, US Presidential campaigns would benefit greatly from almost ANY Monty Python song.


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