In the motorcycle world the Harley guys are the biggest group of True Believers but BMW, Ducati, Triumph, Aprilia and others have their share of devotees, some of whom will gladly pay excessive prices (a logo premium or BMW guys call it "the Roundel Tax") to ride what they perceive as "the only motorcycle to own." Anytime someone pays too much for too little and then justifies it beyond all reason they have begun the drift from motorcycle enthusiast to True Believer. I'm only a motorcycle true believer to the extent that I think motorcycles are wonderful and amazing vehicles and more worthy of riding and ownership and devotion than any other type of vehicle ever made. As it happens, I've driven the current pinnacle of the production car world, the Bugatti Veyron, and it's an amazing piece of engineering but I'd rather have a Ducati Desmodecci for a day than a Veyron. I can't afford to actually own either one, which seems wrong and cruel, but that's life.
And yes, that's an actual real estate development sign in Arizona.
Actually, a couple of years back TPC sold their Ducati shares to some Italian group so Ducati is back to being thoroughly Italian, as it should be. Of course knowledgeable Ducati faithful will then remind me with sneer that Aprilia's engines, until not long ago, were built by Rotax in AUSTRIA! GASP!! Except I don't care so it didn't work. I'm a fan of Aprilia but not a True Believer. The Rotax built Aprilia V60 engine is one of the best in the world but I don't care where it was built, it works superbly, and sounds even better…better than a Ducati. I do admit to being a purest though, as impractical as that is nowadays, to the extent that I think Italian bikes should be designed and built by Italians, Japanese by Japanese, etc. etc. Each culture brings or can bring unique characteristics and an almost undefinable flavour to the design and building of a bike and that is worth preserving. It is what can lift mere machinery to a higher level of mechanical art.
In on-line forums the Aprilia faithful debated the unhappy possibilities that could befall the brand. Some heard that the Austrian firm KTM would buy Aprilia, others heard that BMW would snatch them up since BMW and Aprilia had done business together for many years (the first BMW F650's were built by Aprilia, the Caponord has BMW tubeless spoke rims on it). Seeing a chance to give a few Aprilia true believers bad dreams I offered up my own "facts" thus: "I heard that Harley-Davidson will buy Aprilia. They need a new outlet for their engine production because V-Rods are not selling well. I heard that next year the Aprilia RSV 1000 and the Tuono will come with a V-Rod engine in them." Someone replied calling me "evil." I was pleased. Aprilia wound up being taken over by it's chief rival, Italian scooter maker Piaggio, to the Aprilia faithful, a fate only slightly better than being bought by KTM or H-D.
Photo above right : A real Triumph engine with a proper right side shifter.
My best all time gotcha was when I had my '99 Kawasaki Drifter. The Drifter was the Kawasaki homage to Indian, some would say rip off of, but I saw it as an honest salute to a great American bike. The Drifter carried Indian's famous deeply valanced and sweeping fenders, had mostly black trim on vintage dark maroon paint, and almost no chrome save the pipes, mufflers, and air cleaner covers. Mother Kaw, as Kawasaki enthusiasts sometimes refer to the company, did a fantastic job of building a retro Indian look (got sued for it too by the real fake Indian people in Gilroy) and really have not equaled it with subsequent color schemes. I loved the '99 Drifter. It was a wonderful bike to ride on a pleasant day and seemed to possess some of the panache of the real Indian motorcycle without the hassles of riding an actual ancient bike.
Seeking purity of design and some fun I "de-badged" my Drifter, pulled the Kawasaki labels off the side covers, flipped the instrument trim over to hide the Kaw name leaving then only the monochromatic dull silver tank badge had the not-easy-to-read "Vulcan" V-logo on it as the labeled indication of the brand. The bike drew lots of comments and was often mistaken for an Indian. I admit that it was a bit of the intent on my part and fun. I always corrected people, told them my dad had been once been an Indian dealer and I wanted to enjoy the Indian look without the eccentricities or expense of the real item.
One night at a local bike and hot rod gathering place a fellow sauntered up to look at the Drifter. He was decked out in the official black H-D t-shirt, clean H-D doo-rag, shiny H-D boots and shiny H-D leathers. He eyed the Drifter for a moment and said seriously "Nice old Indian, man." I looked at him and then said slowly and with a cruel smile. "It's a Kawasaki, not an Indian." The guy looked visibly shaken, like he'd just Frenched kissed a girl in the dark and found out when the lights came on that it was his sister. It would have been better if his buddies had seen the moment, the look on his face, the moment he mistook a Jap bike for a real classic. He'd never live it down and probably be sent off to ride Gold Wings or some other terrible fate.