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Redusernab Asks- How Do You Like Your Motorcycles, Clothed or Naked?

Robert Emslie April 8, 2014 Redusernab Asks 42 Comments

Nude or Clothed

When it comes to sport bikes, you can go two ways, naked, or clothed. And while it’s usually true that naked is always more fun, when it your tastes turn to two wheels and a motor, it’s sometimes perfectly okay to stay dressed. The motorcycle is perhaps, more so than a car, the most visceral expression of mechanized transportation, and deserves to be on display. It’s just so elemental, the rider piloting little more than an engine and gas tank supported by a pair of wheels. It’s also designed to be in motion. Hell, if you were to stop the whole thing would tip over without a stout leg extended to prevent such catastrophe.

For the longest time, most bike engines were air-cooled. This meant that they needed to be ‘In The Wind’ which is also the title of one of Bikerdom’s most venerated rags. Today however, as motorcycle makers attempt to eke out more horses, and meet increasingly more stringent emissions standards, more and more motorcycles are water-cooled, and that means controlling airflow and that leads to the application of aerodynamic bodywork. This extrapolates to a schism of preference, naked- like the cafe racers of old, or clothed- like many modern-day super bikes. 

Which you prefer probably depends on what era you claim to have been your formative years. Me, I go all the way back to when motorcycle motors were put on display like works of modern art. Some of my less road-worn friends however, consider bikes like Honda’s sleek Pacific Coast to be all that and a bag of chips. What about your predilection, which do you like better when it comes to motorcycles, clothes on, or clothes off? And which of those is your favorite?

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  • Josh Howard

    Naked. Love being able to see all the workings of my bike.

    <img src=";
    Rode this Suzuki to work today. At high speed, they suck. But for normal use, it's fun. There's something very different about motorcycles than with cars. You can get away with showcasing the mechanical and use that for function. With cars, the added mass makes it far more difficult to move something with less aero. Gotta love that power to weight ratio for even a small motorcycle.

    • Irishzombieman☆

      I agree completely.

      <img src="; width=500>

      • Josh Howard

        I can definitely see the slight design differences. Mine's an 01. Motor was kept bright and body got a bit more shape to it with simple striping. Love the contrast on your bike. What size shield do you have on it? Looks big-ish.

        • Irishzombieman☆

          Got my baby three years ago for $800 and so far it's paid for itself, lessee, six times compared to using my truck for the commute. With the exception of the seat (not created with larger folks in mind), I have zero complaints about it. This is my first bike, and could do well as my only bike (of course I want more, but had I bought a Ninja 250 I would need something bigger for mountain rides and 2-up riding).

          Shield's a National Cycle Deflector that I've come to love. I take it off for a couple of weeks in the summer and swap it for an ugly, mileage-eating monster in the winter, but really the thing is perfect for keeping the wind blast off my chest and up my helmet without being ugly.

          • Josh Howard

            Awesome. This is also MY first bike which I paid $800 for. Thanks for the deflector link. I'm probably going to get a real short one just to move some air out around me. I love the power and am glad I didn't end up with a 250 bike.

            • Irishzombieman☆

              HA! That's funny!

            • Irishzombieman☆

              I sorta like the idea of having several GS500 bikes configured differently. One family of spare parts to keep around and focused knowledge and experience on a single motor. Ideally it'd be my commuter above, one with maybe an early 90s Beemer K-RS fairing and saddlebags, and one like this guy's:

              <img src="; width=450>

              And a pile o' parts bikes.

              • Josh Howard

                Ah yes. That's quite enduro/backroad sort of bike. Very cool.

  • I Think Not

    I prefer the look of naked, but it's more pleasant to ride something with a fairing if you're on the highway for long periods of time.

    My CBR doesn't offer a lot of protection, but the little windscreen keeps all but my head out of the wind, at least.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to ride my FIL's 1975 BMW R90/6 back-to-back with his 2012 R1200GS Adventure. So, one naked, the other fully protected.

    On the back roads we rode around north Columbus, GA, going no faster than 55mph, the lack of protection on the R90 was no issue, and it was a hoot to ride, if a little odd for me (not used to lifting effect of a direct shaft drive or the dry clutch) coming off of my CBR250R. The R1200, on the other hand, was ridiculously easy to ride, to the point of being sanitary. I've dubbed it the crossover SUV of motorcycles, and would have the R90/6 over it any day.

  • Kogashiwa

    I spent considerable time and expense to convert my FZ1 into the Euro-spec FZ1N naked, so I guess that's my answer.

  • Number_Six

    They both have their place. My own ride is pretty ugly but the wind protection reduces fatique on long trips, which makes it beautiful to me. However, there will eventually be a naked in the garage as well.
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    • nice blog for bike information

  • Irishzombieman☆

    I dunno–my daily ride is nekkid (see the red bike under Josh's post above) and I love the look, love the openness, but let me tell you this: Damned unpleasant when it's 18 degrees outside, no matter how much clothes I wear.

    I'd like to find something like an older Kawasaki Concours for winter, and for longer rides.

    <img src="; width=450>

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    For local fun riding I prefer the streetfighter or cafe racer look with little or no bodywork over the fully faired race replica.Because I think a Speed Triple looks better than an R1
    <img src=";
    OTOH long range riding definitely calls for well designed full fairings ala BMW RT or Gold Wing.

    • This blog is really great!! thank for sharing it.

  • Spence

    Naked as well, also with a Speed Triple. I don't get much satisfaction from outright speed except short bursts and I prefer taking the long route on back roads to long hauls on the freeway whenever possible.

  • Fully faired for the track, naked for tooling around town.

  • safetystephen

    I am on the "naked or clothed is fine by me" bandwagon. I will admit sometimes I scratch my head at chrome-bright work but nonetheless it is still quite pretty. "As long as the bike properly is dressed for the job you are throwing at it" is my rule, be it cruising, hooliganism, squid-ening, or adventuring. Never met a bike I didn't like.

    • What is there to not get about bright-work?

      <img src="; width="580">

      • safetystephen

        Well said. That is a stunner. Minimalistic, clean, thoughtfully executed and tasteful in detail. I do like a chrome/polished aluminum gas tank as well.

  • I can go with partially dressed, but I have to be able to see the engine.

    <img src="; width="580">

    …says the guy with the Spyder.

  • Compare this…

    <img src="; width="586">
    …to this:

    <img src=";

    Just sayin'.

    • I Think Not

      The latter looks miserable as hell to ride, to be honest.

      • Frankly, I'm not sure the rider triangle is all that much different from the stocker.

        • I Think Not

          Perhaps not, but that seat, though. It needs some contour.

          • Keep in mind that it's a pretty compact machine…

            [ Gv_q1LN0y68 ]

            • Number_Six

              I object to your use of the brilliant Aprilia Mille as an example – that bike has bags of character and funs built in, even if a de-stickered example doesn't look too glam.

              • I chose it because I think that V990 motor looks so awesome in the featherbed frame…

                • Number_Six

                  Gotcha. It's too bad Aprilia's naked bike, the Tuono, is still too faired-in to be really attractive.

            • B72

              Damn that setting reminds me of good old Marcus Dairy. That was a great destination surrounded by great roads. I hear there is a bigger mall now.

  • nanoop

    He likes his ride naked:
    <img src="; width="400">

  • Have had both and IMO up to 140 KPH (85 MPH or you imperials) a naked is fine, any thing above fully faired for sure.
    I'm tossed between the Hornet and the Blackbird, I think I'll need both of them again.
    <img src="; width="400">
    <img src=";

    • Number_Six

      Naked bikes are a nightmare here in Alberta, where it is often cold and windy and the riding mostly takes place in wide-open spaces. Otherwise I'd be riding a Moto Guzzi Griso right now.

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat


    For the road, this:

    <img src="; width="400">

    However, in the city, I have to admit, this machine was just about perfect:

    <img src="; width="400">

    It's a mix, but I like that.

    • buzzboy7

      I have a strange lust for the Transalp and I don't know why.

      • Number_Six

        Don't fight it. The Transalp is just awesome and you can't explain that.

        • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

          While I've had two XL600Vs, and still miss the white one, to this day, I wish I could have an Africa Twin.

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  • Guido

    Real ! Raw ! Naked ! DUCATI !

  • S3bird

    Rode a Speed Triple for 8 years and now ride a Husky Terra…guess I like em naked.

  • wisc47

    I'll take one naked Italian, please. Oh and this Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans (hey-oh!).
    <img src=";

  • Judas

    This is cool! Bikes are always meant to be naked. In addition, the person riding them should not be naked. He should wear some in order to enjoy the max out of ride.