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Archive for January 27th, 2009

mcqueen_metisseStop.  You had me at McQueen!  You didn’t need to remind me of the Triumph 6T engine and desert racing heritage to make me think it’s cool.

I’m talking about the Metisse Desert Racer.   The original Desert Racer was built by actor Steve McQueen and his friend, stuntman Bud Ekins for off-road competition.  The  photo (above) is of a replica. 

As an avid motorcycle enthusiast and product developer McQueen pulled together the first American team in the Olympics of motorcycle racing (International 6 Days Trials) held in East Germany in 1964.  The team consisted of McQueen, Bud Ekins, Dave (Bud’s bother) Ekins and Cliff Coleman.  Dave and Cliff both returned with gold medals.  McQueen continued to race the Triumph Metisse during 1966 and 1967.  The motorbike was originally built in Carswell Oxfordshire.  The distinctive design proved to be very successful and in 1973 the company received the prestigious Queen’s Award to Industry.

Steve McQueen - Metisse Desert Racer

Steve McQueen - Metisse Desert Racer

In 1980 the Rickman brothers ceased motorcycle manufacture. At about that time the original tooling and the remainder of the stock was sold off.  In 1982, Pat French purchased all of the company’s assets.  Production continued until the mid-90’s when the economic recession forced a decrease in production due to lack of demand.

Under license and the endorsement of the McQueen estate, the company will hand-build 300 authentic motorcycles.  The completed bikes use a fully reconditioned period Triumph TR6 engine and faithfully include the ideals employed by McQueen from years ago. They include items like the styled footrests, 35mm Ceriani forks, with seven inches of travel and the yokes are from BSA which is what McQueen preferred as the handlebar position was set behind the steering stem for better control.

It’s great to see the company bring back some of the magic and easy to visualize a clear sunny California morning – a perfect day to go racing in the desert on this bike!

Photos courtesy of Metisse web site and Flickr.

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lmcJohnny is a veteran member of the LMC…aka… The Lost, a notorious biker “club”. Johnny has been rather busy these days creating “business opportunities” for the LMC in Liberty City.  His loyalty is to the club’s patch and to Billy Grey, the club’s President.  Billy just returned from rehab and is hell-bent on jacking up the level of debauchery.  The LMC is in the middle of a vicious turf war with rival clubs for control of a city torn apart by violence and corruption. Can the brotherhood survive?

Does intimidation, drug possession, trafficking, homicide, drive-by shootings, child endangerment, and gang land struggles sound familiar?  Whether it’s life imitating art or vice-versa this is the new story line developed by the creator’s of Grand Theft Auto IV  (GTA4) – Rockstar/Take2 — the “Lost and Damned” add-on for the game features a new main character, Johnny Klebitz, and an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang plot that some might debate merges with reality. 

As you may recall, Rockstar/Take 2 became world famous for developing the capability of letting players enjoy booty-bouncing lap dances in strip clubs followed with prostitute sex.  Then afterward you could run her over with your car (and now your motorcycle?) or riddle with bullets – it all depends on how you roll.  I’ve written previously HERE about how motorcycle clubs have become the new media darlings of the entertainment industry and this is nothing more than a gaming extension of that trend.

lmc_membersSo, what’s next in the Rockstar/Take 2 gaming world?  Outlaw motorcycle clubs sharing methamphetamine recipes and “how-to” online cooking guides via the in-game chat sessions?!  Where does it end?  Society is bombarding kids with music, movies and video games that glorify all types of gang lifestyle and criminal acts.  Now it’s the outlaw motorcycle clubs time to shine in the spotlight.  Sure it’s a mature rated computer game (meaning all 12 year olds will own a copy), but visit a suburban mall in any size city and you’ll find surprisingly large numbers of teens mimicking real gangs.  From flashing signs to wearing the clothing culture…all of which contributes to the misidentification (false positives) of today’s youth.

I’m not on a motorcycle club witch hunt or attacking all video games.  I acknowledge that this post could be viewed as capitalism at its best – my lamb blasting the lack of social morals at Rockstar/Take 2 will be viewed by many as marketing meant only to drum up parental outrage and make the game even more irresistible to kids.  The video game market is a $20B industry (more than Hollywood box office receipts) and maybe it’s time to establish a motorcycle club advisor role/organization?

Job #1 would be to make sure that all motorcycle club colleagues are portrayed honorably, that no one would be embarrassed by the games portrayal and they would advise gaming companies to be as accurate as possible.  On second thought,  a game based on Hospital Toy Run’s or a Veteran’s Ride is unlikely to garner much sales volume from the teenage buying public, but it sure would have a lot more social redeeming value!

Photos courtesy of Rockstar web site.

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