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“Just wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims and strap your hands ‘cross my engines.” – Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run”
At the beginning of May I sold my Triumph motorcycle. At the end of May I picked up a brand new Ducati Streetfighter. I love my new bike, but I noticed almost immediately that the bike had a tuning problem. It did a lot of spitting and choking between 2,500 and 5,000 RPMs. I figured it wouldn’t be much of a problem to get it fixed after my first oil change. The guys over at Pro Italia, where I bought the bike, kind of laughed the problem off and told me to thank the tree-huggers over in Europe who have passed laws to choke down these beautiful machines. I took offense to this. I guess you could say I’m somewhat of a tree-hugger myself. I also asked the folks at Pro Italia if they could fix the problem. They said, “Sure, as long as you shell out $2,500 for a different set of pipes and an after-market ECU (engine control unit).” My first statement back to them was, “My bike is under warranty, I’m not going to pay you a dime.” They replied, “This is an after-market part. You have to pay for it.” I just laughed and said, “You can either fix the bike or take it back.” They rolled their eyes, but fixed it, without changing any parts. The fact of the matter is, there is a way to fix the bike under warranty. But they don’t want to do that. They would rather up-sell you. It’s somewhat of a win-win for them, and a lose-lose for me. I didn’t stop there. I went on to investigate these after-market parts, and I learned a lot. Number one, the parts are made by the bike company, Ducati. Number two, the parts are specifically made for track use only. What does this mean to the real world? Basically, once they put these parts on, your motorcycle is no longer street legal. When I asked the manager at the dealership about this, he laughed and said, “But everybody does it.” I told you that to tell you this. I spend most weekends every year on my bicycle. If you want to triangulate where I am on the planet, I’m generally somewhere between Woodland Hills, Malibu and Santa Barbara. Because it’s such a weather-friendly place 12 months out of the year, it’s one of the most scenic places on the planet. It would stand to reason that on any given weekend, hundreds of motorcycles pass me as I ride through the mountains. You know what most of them have? Loud after-market pipes. From my small investigation, this means, if you have a carburetor, it would re-jet it. If they have a fuel-injection system, the ECUs would have to change. In simple terms, this means every time you hear a loud bike, not only are they causing noise pollution, but also air pollution. And all of this, just so they can feel better about their small cocks. I guess the bigger question is, why does law enforcement turn a blind eye to it? Hell, they like to hand out tickets. It’s basic revenue in most places these days. Is it not easy enough for them to figure out who has loud pipes and hand out citations? Oh, and by the way, just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s right.