Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Honda Element + Digression ...

I heard from a friend a few weeks ago that Honda was going to stop manufacturing the Element. Sure enough, a Google search confirmed that 2011 is going to be the last year.


It's sad because there's no substitute for the Element. We bought one in 2007 because it could be had with a manual transmission, the rear seats can be easily and completely removed, and it could easily be equipped with a class 3 hitch.


The Element is a no-bullshit vehicle. It's heavy and completely non-aerodynamic. But it has nothing to hide - in turn for those problems it exposes an unadulterated void to fill through huge, b-pillarless openings.


Ten minutes is all it takes for me to remove *and* carry the rear seats into the basement. After that I can treat the cargo area like a truck bed because the interior absorbs nothing.


And after I fill this thing with _fill_in_the_blank_, I can enjoy my twisty roads the way I like to. The Element may be heavy, but you can still throw it into turns as Honda did an amazing job suspending the awkward-looking body.


I'm sad to see a truly utilitarian, general-purpose vehicle fall by the wayside. Worse, we are losing an option that's fun to drive and came in stick.

It costs gobs of money to get a vehicle approved for sale in these United States. Since the likes of the Element appear to satisfy few, I don't plan on seeing more like it. Here's hoping regulations stay away from motorcycles. Otherwise, I'm guessing the cost to enter will stifle uniqueness and innovation. And really, NHTSA, how are you going to help us if we decide to ride to work exposed on two wheels? Maybe you can start with traffic lights that actually sense us and put off stupidities like mandated ABS? Huh?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I want to get excited...

...about the Progressive International Motorcycle Show coming to DC next month, but it's nearly impossible. Why? Well, for starters, the very same show in Long Beach, CA is so significant that it warrants its own article at motorcycle.com. But if last year was any gauge, Washingtonians get a watered-down version of the show. Avi and I went on Friday last year and it was a pretty weak experience.


Off the top of my head, here's why the event sucks:

  1. It's winter.

  2. We have to pay? Are you kidding? It's an advertisement fest.

  3. None of the reps seemed all that interested in talking it up.

It's pretty awesome to have a motorcycle show land near your door. But give us a good reason to go! I mean seriously, I'm seeing pix of Keith Code's gadgetry on that review of the Long Beach show. Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies - any chance they're gonna make it out to the Washington Convention Center next month? I have my doubts...

I think the video from the International Motorcycle Show's website sums it up: