Hipsters. They’re not proper bikers are they? They don’t ride normal motorcycles and they don’t wear practical riding kit either.
What exactly is a “brat style bobber” or “street tracker” and why did they build it out of a 1980s bike that was rubbish when it was new? They’re just posers and the whole scene is a fad, made to look more popular than it really is by advertising agencies trying to make boring brands look more fashionable!
Or that’s what I thought, until I went to The Bike Shed event at London’s Tobacco Dock in May. You’ll struggle to find a trendier venue ( it’s an early 19th century warehouse) and the crowd queuing outside ticked all the boxes for hipster hairstyles, clothing and accessories (why are you wearing a bobble hat on a sunny day and aren’t you a bit old for a skateboard?).
When I got inside, it became clear that I might need to rethink my position. Firstly, most of the crowd were much younger than the average age you’ll see at traditional bike shows. Secondly, they actually looked pretty cool and, thirdly, so did the bikes.
Most of them would be ghastly to ride – what have these people got against front mudguards, have they never ridden in the rain? – but they’d look fantastic parked outside the artisan coffee shack. And maybe that’s the point.
These guys are making motorcycling look like a cool thing to do and they’ve inspired some of the biggest names in the industry to create some really desirable bikes, like the BMW R nineT, Ducati Scrambler, Triumph Bobber and Yamaha XSR – all of them strong sellers.
I might not be ready to grow a moustache and wax it or to fit some ape-hanger bars to my adventure sport bike, but I don’t mind saying “hooray for the hipsters” after all.