The Best “Farkle” Ever?
Farkles are accessories and other products added to motorcycles that may or may not add value and function. According to the Urban Dictionary, the word comes from combining “function” and “sparkle” to create “farkle.” Farkles include appearance items, performance enhancements, and “tech toys” of all sorts. There is no limit in terms of creativity and that elusive concept called “taste” in the creation and sale of farkles. Riders will disagree as to what is a farkle and what is a necessity. For me, living in the Northwest, heated grips are a necessity, not a farkle. Many modern motorcycles do not come with center stands, but they make cleaning and chain adjustments so much easier that (again, to me) a center stand is a necessity. Some will argue that a GPS system is a necessity, but, as I have droned on about on several occasions, a GPS system is not only a farkle but in some ways reduces the function of the motorcycle, or at least the rider. People who rely on GPS very rapidly lose their ability to figure out where they are or decipher the likely future layout of the road system ahead.
For verification, I once wrote a screed on the inadvisability of GPS for this reason and received a wonderful response from a US combat helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. He’d begun his career with non-GPS machines, and when the GPS units became mandatory found himself losing a hard-earned skill of reading terrain, speed, distance, and location by using his eyes and brain. So there!
Some farkles are, to me, just silly. Why you would want to hang braided ropes of leather or whatever on the ends of your handlebars? At one time some colleagues took a set off a cruiser that had just been traded in and installed them on my Kawasaki ZRX 1200R. Now there was a stupid sight. But, tastes do differ, and I am not immune to the attraction of silly in come cases. Keep reading…
A farkle that succeeds due to a brilliant marketing idea are “spirit bells.” These are small silver bells you attach to the bottom of your bike, usually a cruiser and usually a Harley. They are meant to ward off evil spirits. The marketing genius is that the package clearly states that they only “work” if given as a gift. Most people would not purchase such a silly thing for themselves, but at a gift – perfect. If you want to be different, buy one and mount it on the bottom of your sport bike – instant rarity!
I will posit that I own the coolest farkle ever. It was a birthday gift years ago from my friend Harvey, who went to an amazing amount of bother to design a set of “muff cozies,” a phrase derived by combining “muffler” and “tea cozy.” Confused yet?
A Triumph Speed Triple has twin exhaust pipes mounted high on the sides at the back of the bike. Harvey came in to work one day and, while I was busy at my desk, made very careful measurements of the size and shape of the rear of the exhausts, which are sort of oval. He also noted the bike’s paint color, which Triumph calls “scorched yellow.” He then shipped the measurements and many color pictures of the bike off to “Tinker.” If I recall, Tinker was his future mother in law who lived in a cabin in a remote area of Idaho (as opposed to the massive city-scapes of Idaho), and Tinker liked to knit and was very good at it. Alas, Tinker has since passed on, so her invention is unlikely to ever be mass produced.
She created two knitted cylinders in exactly the correct color, one to go over the end of each pipe. She affixed tiny British flags to each one, each with a small silver tea pot. As the crowning touch, a black braided cord attaches to black pom-poms on the back of each one. The muff cozies slide over the pipes and protect them from – not much. A curious and small squirrel? If you can look at them on the bike and not laugh or at least smile, there is something wrong with you.
My friend Jeff wanted one for his Honda CBR and Tinker duly knitted one up for him. Alas, he forgot it was on one day and it blew off on the freeway. No such problem for me – a Speed Triple evidently has enough mass to the exhaust pulse that if you leave them on and start the engine they will be “poofed” off and land about ten feet behind the bike.
I had great fun with these at a couple of shows where Cycle Barn had a Triumph display. I would ride up on my Speed Triple, which has many other accessories/necessities/farkles, and make my own bike part of the display. Then we would put the Muff Cozies on and sit back and watch. People would stroll by and almost always pause and look for a few seconds. You could almost feel their brains grinding away as they tried to decide if these were the dumbest things ever or the latest rage and that they should have a set for their own bike. Like the Triumph, the Muff Cozies have been sitting for three years while I was riding other bikes, but now the Triumph has been restored to pride of place in the garage and wears it’s Muff Cozies with pride. This way, every ride starts with a smile Now if I can just remember how to upload a furshlugginer picture or two… Copyright 2013 David Preston