07 September 2012 15:26
Perusing the pages of one of Britain's more respectable newspapers (if there is such a thing nowadays), I came across an interesting article on the subject of added extras on modern cars.
Apparently the average car driver is fed up with the countless and often useless options available on their car, with nearly 90% saying they wished manufacturers would just go back to basics.
Drivers' biggest bugbears were heated seats, with a whopping 71% saying they would happily do without them.
Car owners also named electric parking brakes, electric adjustable seats, cruise control and built-in satnavs as pointless fripperies that only serve to make cars more expensive.
Is the same happening with bikes? I proceeded to do a little research of my own.
First, a trip to bmw-motorrad.co.uk to check out their R1200RT and the panoply of trinkets and baubles that go with it.
The base price of the big Beemer is £12,695, not cheap by anyone's standards. But what if you want metallic paint? That'll be 570 of your Great British pounds. And how about listening to the honeyed tones of Ken Bruce whilst riding? BMW will charge you £1050 for the built-in audio system.
The list goes on: £395 if you've got a lazy wrist and want cruise control, £245 for a toasty bum, £305 for stability control.
By far the worst option in my mind is the completely unnecessary Electronic Suspension Adjustment which rolls in at £710 - get off and adjust it manually you lazy git!
Go crazy with the options list and your RT goes from a not inconsiderable 12 grand, to an eye-watering £17,000. And that's just the factory fitted options.
There's a bucketload of accessories as well, ranging from Akro exhausts to tamper-proof oil filler caps. There's even a £176 paddock stand for your Germanic tourer, which is just ridiculous because it's shaft drive and already has a centre stand.
And it's not just the Germans either. Triumph is equally guilty. If you haven't already, take a look at Triumph's awesome configurator (http://www.triumph.co.uk/uk/configuratorPopup.aspx), where you can spec all the tasty (and not so tasty) extras you could possibly imagine and see what they look like on the bike
Or do what I did and make it as expensive as you possibly can - I turned a £6899 Street Triple into a 12 grand monster.
Either way, both these examples highlight how easy it is to turn a reasonably priced motorcycle into an expensive, frippery laden, exercise in excess.
Think carefully before speccing up your next purchase. Do you think manufacturers should continue to offer users a vast choice in options and extras?
Or should bikes go back to basics and do away with electronic this and adjustable that?