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Who knows Best?


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I went for a ride, just to experience the ride the other day. It was the first time I've done that in over two years, and perhaps the second or third time in five or six year. It was wonderful.


I was riding an R1100RT, something I hadn't done for over two years too. Out on a mix of freeway, country roads, and city streets, I was purring along the freeway just having this wonderful time - really comfortable. I recall looking down at the tank, my feet on the pegs in the lower part of my view, and the dash and fairing in the upper part, seeing this and at the same time feeling, oh, the gestalt of it, and realized, "Hey. This is just a wonderful bike for doing this." Yeah, it was being a grand ride. This was a wonderful bike for doing this, oh, somewhat like commuting as I had in the past, right now, rumbling comfortably on down the freeway.


I thought what a great bike for this kind of riding. It makes a great commuter, say for getting to the office in downtown Baltimore at 6:30 or 7:00AM, outside the deep traffic cycle. It's doing this so well, I can't imagine another bike doing it much better. And, then I thought of my FJR. It had been bought more to serve me better at other riding perhaps more toward the edges of my personal riding envelope like up steep twisty mountain tracks, and those multi-week, cross US trips with their varied riding, and for fast, fast sport tours. But, darn, this bike was doing this simply wonderful job here.


I then thought about the new model K1200GT and how it had been compared to the FJR. I don't recall specifics, but in terms of performance the measured items had differed by a tenth of a second or two and single digit feet metrics. By my own measure, other characteristic like ride, handling, braking and such were different by not by much of quantity and only little more of quality. And then, I realized there had been many magazine reports where one or the other either in comparison to each other or other bikes had been labeled Best.




As the road rumbled toward, beneath and then on past me, as I felt that and saw this bike I was riding and having this wonderful experience on, I couldn't really separate what I was experiencing from "Best". It didn't compute - At least not with the limited mental resources I'd allow that to divert from good, secure riding. So, as I was putting everything away and buttoning down after the ride I gave it some thought. It stayed a light thought though, one without grand conclusions. I really was kind of afraid to separate this wonderful experience I was having from the exalted level I valued it, on some six or seven year old bike, and Best. It seemed hurtful somehow to me. So, I thought I'd pose a question to you all about Best. What do you think about the concept of Best?


I expect different perspectives from folks, certainly from my own. And, by way of exemplifying that, with no intent whatsoever of imposing it as fact, nor even as the only type of perspective, I'll state I have negative concerns about the concept of Best. I see it linked with an American imposition toward the almighty value of Winner; So much attention is placed upon and so much value attributed to Winning and to a Winner. In the Olympics, there's a Gold Medalist, sure, but do we realize the woman or man that came in last in some event is an Olympian, for Heaven's sake? I think of the millions of kids who play a sport, or study a subject, or exercise a craft and watch virtually all the attention, all the recognition, all the respect, and the admiration too heaped upon some Winner, some Best. And, that makes me sad. But, like I say, that's just one perspective, and just one kind of perspective.



In terms of motorcycling, the bikes, accessories, whatever, or even just in its abstract application to elements of life, what do you think of this concept of Best?



Best wishes,

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Best in my opinion is what fits the ideal of a individual.


Ultimately that's all that really should matter right?



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The best motorcycle is the one you're riding. I've owned bikes from 200cc to 1200cc and I can't seem to be able to measure the difference in "fun" between them through the years. Riding a Honda CB200T to college every day 25 years ago and being able to fill it up with the change in my pocket compares admirably to taking a cross country trip on my K1200GT now. Its all largely relative. Yeah, without a doubt, the best bike is the one you're on.

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. . . what do you think of this concept of Best?


What? That a "Best" of this nature usually encompasses personal experience/expectations and bias, and is therefore almost inescapably subjective? Of course it is. But it's so much fun to discuss it, or even argue it. Or better yet, to watch it being argued. Without absolutes, no one can win. But they try. Oh, do they (and we) ever try.

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Interesting question, Dick. As I see it, the idea of Best implies a purpose and a goal. Best is "best for" or "best at" and so it ties in to intentions, some particular person's intention, as well as his hopes, fears and ideas about what is possible.


It's relatively easy to agree on a best when it comes to something like accessories because they're invented to satisfy a particular goal. When it comes to motorcycles, their abilities and the range of goals they can be used to satisfy, it becomes impossible to agree on one best.


For a while, I commuted using two motorcycles each quite different from the other. They created a virtuous cycle where riding one increased my enjoyment of the other. Each was better than the other for a few weeks at a time and that was simply because of my own shifting desires.

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I haven't found one bike that is the out right "best" in performance through out the entire ride.

It may be because, the type of bikes that I perfer to ride, usually are built to work best on certain types of roads and don't do as well on others.

If you think that "best" means, something that may not be the best performer in all situations but it's overall performence is very good on every type of road. Then yes , there are bikes out there that do fill this term. The RT comes to mind, but on the other hand, in the Cyn's it isn't even close IMO to a true sportbike on these types of roads.

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Sometimes "Best" is what I want to do.

Sometimes "Best" is what someone else thinks I should do.

Sometimes those are mutually exclusive, and sometimes not.

"Best" may be the recognition, by someone else, of that which they feel exemplifies the penultimate achievement in that area.

The problem I see with determining the "Best" is one of the variables is time dependent. At what time is/was it the best?

The four minute mile? Impossible. Not.

Man on the moon?

BMW winning Daytona?

The best is yet to come?

To be the best, there must be a comparison to that which was.

To maintain the position of "Best" there must be a continuous reevaluation as new data is created/achieved.

If somethingsomeone is the "best there ever was", is that always a superlative?

It is usually easy to see what is "Best" for someone else.

Not so easy for an individual to do in regard to their life.

So, is "Best" a concept or a superlative?

If it is a concept, are we talking now, then, or always?

If a superlative, is subjectivity an objective basis for determining this?


It used to be easier.



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Paul Mihalka

Dick, I won't even address the subject of "Best", except that in many regards you are maybe the "best". Dick, this is the kind of post we were missing from you for too long a time! Welcome back! clap.gif

Best regards and wishes,


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I like to think of best effort...best for me and those around me....winning is a good concept only if it goes with the idea of learning how to lose because we will all lose at some time and need to know how to be a good loser. We do get into "mine is better", "mine is bigger", "mine is best" because we haven't developed the concept of how to lose and gain the benefits that derive to our own self-esteem.


Today we want to protect children from everything negative and pump up their "resume" as the best way to prepare them for the future. The problem is they then don't know how to deal with adversity or failure. My father certainly wasn't elegant in his child raising, but if I hurt my leg he would tell me to stop worrying about it, after all I had two legs. Don't run to the dr., wash it off and go back to playing. grin.gif


If you are interested in a good book which while not just about "best" does deal with the issue of the problems caused by fast paced, high technology, achieve at all costs society. Family Matters by Robert Evans. Shows why "best" gets in the way when it is the only piece of the puzzle.

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Dick, ...in many regards you are maybe the "best". Dick, this is the kind of post we were missing from you for too long a time! Welcome back! clap.gif

Best regards and wishes,


Well said, Paul!

Interesting question, Dick!


My "best" is related to my experience (as well as input from others) and what I have found that performs the desired function in the fashion I prefer. That said, I typically try to make the "best" of a situation! tongue.gif

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It's a warm fuzzy moment.

A cherished memory.

A warm breeze, sun on my face after a cold winter.

A well executed play on my Little League team.

A good engineering design at work.

A hug from my 6 year old daughter, a flower she picks and gives to me.

A perfect ski turn in 2 feet of powder.

When my wife reaches over a squeezes my hand.

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I really don't think there's an absolute best, Dick. Brand snobs are really just that: snobs with a cause. I am partial to certain brands because I connect to them on an emotional level, but alongside that preference is my intellect.


You're one of the folks around here who writes impartial reviews of different motorcycles, and I think that's a great thing.

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I know what you mean abou the RT, Dick. It took me over a year to finally decide to sell mine, even though I hadn't really been enjoying the ride all that much for quite some time. I just couldn't rationalize it. What's wrong with it that makes me want to unload it? Nothing, of course. It does great in weather. It does great on the long, straight, flat freeway. With appropriate suspension mods, it does far better in the canyons than a bike of its size and weight should.


Oh yeah...and it is perfectly happy to do all that stuff with a passenger...while loaded down for a 2-week tour.


I'm the wrong guy to ask about what's the "best" bike...I've got 6 since I couldn't make up my mind. grin.gif


One more thing:

I went for a ride, just to experience the ride the other day. It was the first time I've done that in over two years, and perhaps the second or third time in five or six year. It was wonderful.


That's huge. I was to the point where the only time I rode my motorcycle was commuting and long trips. It was drudgery and I wasn't really enjoying it.


I made a decision a year ago that I wasn't going to throw my leg over the bike unless I was really excited about riding. No commuting (unless I really want to). No long, straight, flat freeway in the 116F heat (unless I really want to), etc. I was just going to focus on the joy that I used to get from riding....When I'd get up way too early, freeze my ass off riding up to your neck of the woods and we'd spend the day melting tires and turning gasoline into giggles.


Along those lines, I sold my wonderful RT. It was a great bike, but too practical. Over the last couple of years, I've bought three really stupid bikes. My CBR600RR is a terrible street bike. I can't sit on the damn thing for more than 20 minutes before I need an orthopedic surgeon. But oh my....get it on the track, and it is pure nirvana. My DRZ400 has a seat made out of granite, a small gas tank, and basically no capacity to carry anything that I can't put in a backpack and carry on my back. But on the trails...heaven. I get that thing in the dirt and I'm 10 years old again, going sideways under power and riding big wheelies between all the corners.


Then there's the Tuono. I don't even know where to start with that thing. It is physically impossible to crack the throttle or nudge the bars on that bike without smiling. And more often than not, I find myself just laughing out loud as I strafe through the corners.


This stuff is tremendously cleansing for the mind. It's not about GPS's and autocoms and PIAA lights and fancy tire pressure monitoring systems. It's about fun. Plain and simple. It's about a rowdy 10 year old building a jump ramp out of scrap wood and trying to see how far his BMX bike will fly.


My professional medical advice: Play. Get out more for those rides where the ride itself has absolutely no purpose whatsoever other than FUN. I'm not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express in Gunnison.

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This stuff is tremendously cleansing for the mind. It's not about GPS's and autocoms and PIAA lights and fancy tire pressure monitoring systems. It's about fun. Plain and simple. It's about a rowdy 10 year old building a jump ramp out of scrap wood and trying to see how far his BMX bike will fly.


My professional medical advice: Play. Get out more for those rides where the ride itself has absolutely no purpose whatsoever other than FUN. I'm not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express in Gunnison.


Well said. For me, the BEST rides are the ones Russell just described - those that have no purpose except for fun. And the BEST bike is the one I happen to be riding that day, as long as it puts a smile on my face.

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Hi Dick, good to see something up from you again!


I don't like the word/term "best." It's too much of an absolute. It's like words "never" or "always." To me the more important concept is "better." When something; a ride, a bike, a day, like yours, is the best it has ever been, that indeed is a joy in life! But to say it is the best, to say anything is, I think short changes the future.


This is not to say that the possibility, hope, expectation, anticipation, of another day some day better than 'this one' in any way detracts from this one, it doesn't. Today was and always will be in our memory a truly wonderful day. But "the best"? Well, maybe the best so far but beyond that, to think so diminishes the very human spirit that drives us to do something better.


It's like the cliché, "It doesn't get any better than this!" Whose to say?

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It depends on what 'best' we are talking about. Is my RT the 'best bike' - no, no bike can be because of differences in purposes, owners, locations and uses.


Is my RT the 'Best fit' for my motorcycling needs, at the moment yes. That may however, change as my needs, wants or usage changes - or if another bike comes along that fits better.


So I can have a 'Best' for now, not 'Best' for ever.


I also agree about the negative connotations associated with best. My kids were brought up with the message of give the job, your life, your deeds your full endeavours. If you do that, then the outcome is good no-matter where you fall on some artificial league table.

To be the best you can be is something very few ever achieve, although we should all aim to do that. It is only when we do not try that we should be ashamed of what we have achieved, we are all different with different talents and gifts. Who is best? Shakespeare? Plato? Rossi? They cannot be compared to each other as they are all so different. We should, as you alluded in referencing Olympians, recognise achieving what we can, not achieving more than someone without our given talents.



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I do believe in best as a concept.


For instance, what is the best tool for a task. You certainly can agree that a tire is the best tool to transfer horse power from your bike to the pavement. Notice I didn't say which tire was best.


On any given weekend, you can see who is the best golfer in a PGA tournament. Over time, it becomes clear as to who the best golfer is in a decade or century.


The idea that everything and everyone is equal is, IMO, just not true. I don't find making distinctions to be a negative effort.


If I'm going to spend my limited resources on an object, why would I choose the worst?


Cars are tested for safety, some are rated best and some worse.


Consumer Reports has "Best Buy" categories of items they have tested.


Best recognizes the ability to differentiate. I think it is a good thing and to deny the concept seems to me to diminish us as intelligent human beings.


If you want proof on this board, search oil filters. You will quickly find out that some filters are "crap" and some are best. And the difference is apparent to the human eye.grin.gif

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Dick, best is that stuff you brought to Torrey I or was it II. Even with Wurty's cigars it tasted wonderful. Best are just those kind of memories. smile.gif

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Great thread.


Best, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. There are some great comments / illustrations of that in this thread.


Best is also "transitory." Even if you can identify "the absolute best X" and obtain it, it will be "second best" soon enough, and continue in that direction. At least this is true of things "technological" it seems. Some of that is artifice, but much of it is real.


This discussion reminds me somewhat of Persig's discussion of "quality" in ZATAOMMM. It has some aspects that can be quantified, and therefore presumably ranked for whatever you're discussing -- but it is also subjective and changes with purpose, time, memory, need, perception.


Best is also subject to its referential context. What is best in one context, may be "the worst" in another context. I guess that's why it is an adjective. grin.gif

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First off, I am very glad you are posting again Dick. It seems just like old times. Anyway, "Best" for me changes depending on what I am doing or what I am riding and how I feel about things at any given time. Yesterday, riding home from work on Pepper was a "Best" because I recognized that I was able to ride, and the other commuters were only driving. Many times now, since I don't ride him that often, an afternoon or morning riding Smokey is a "Best" because of the feelings imparted. The other night, my wife Tessie and I were going thru our old pictures to send some to our grown son as a 5 year old at his request. After looking at all of them spanning some 32 years, I looked over at her and thought to myself that this moment shared with her looking at our past and future together was absolutely the "Best" ever!!

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Yeeha! Stephen
Brand snobs are really just that: snobs with a cause.


My bike is the best... 1150 RT - the red one.


My other bike is the best too.


My girlfriend is the best.


I live in the best State.


I have the best job.


My kids are the best.


I have the best screen name.


I'll bet you guys wish you could be me...

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