Some motorcycles are born with soul, others are given soul by their builders/customizers, but most are given their soul by the rider. The guy or gal that has either stripped it down and rebuilt it into something it wasn’t before or just put gas in it and ridden it from here to wherever and has the stories that go along with it.
Henry Ford created the assembly line for building cars and every vehicle manufacturer owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ford for that. Bike builders however, are a different breed. Some builders are visionaries, some are just parts changers and most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
Throughout every motorcycle magazine are advertisements for every chrome goodie imaginable that is only going to make washing your motorcycle a chore that equals the effort required to paint your house, six electronic doo-dads to make your next trans-continental trip more fun (you will have to get your neighbors 10 year old to show you how to use it however) and an exhaust system that is guaranteed to piss off your neighbors when you fire up your bike for the Sunday ride at 6AM. These are not the things that give a motorcycle its soul, you do.
A vintage Ducati with its Stacato wail at speed, a Triumph triple with its Howl throughout the rev range, a Kawasaki two-stroke triple’s Scream as it scares the daylights out of you (while it’s headlight is pointing towards the moon!!), the Harley Davidson ‘potato…potato…potato’ and a Vespa scooters sewing machine buzz. These are all sounds we love and live for.
What do you do to give your motorcycle its soul? You ride it. You and your motorcycle see the world, you feel the road, see the mountains, the desert, the ocean, the hot, the cold…you get it.
You modify your bike some times it’s as simple as an exhaust change, or maybe add luggage, a GPS, or you build the crap out of it…you give it a soul a soul that is also yours.