Written Manifesto

An Inquiry into Motorcycle Maintenance & Designers values.

In 1906 statesman Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the House of Commons that included an extended instance of the well-known phrase “with great power comes great responsibility.” Being a designer often results in having considerable influence over what comes onto the market, consequently leaving designers with the obligation to produce products in a responsible manner. Thus I believe that the values we possess as designers is one of, if not the most important attribute; that must be developed to a higher level of thinking in order to be successful.

These attributes also translate directly into the world of motorcycle maintenance. The feeling of riding a motorcycle is like nothing else, I can’t begin to explain how peaceful it is. Although violent from the outside, it’s one of the most serene actions, the boundary between earth and sky loses itself within a white haze. Motorcycles are more than machines, more than art, they bring out the instincts, wildness and vulnerability from within me, it feels like nothing and it’s from this point I would like to introduce the relationship that motorcycle maintenance has with my design.

I was brought up around the smell of oil and sound of machinery, I know realise that it was at this point in my life when I started learning not only the Four Pillars of motorcycle maintenance but the Four Pillars of design also.

These Four Pillars are often be effected by what I like to describe as gumption. Gumption can be defined as a “shrewd or spirited initiative, resourcefulness, Imagination or ingenuity”. It is this quality that motivates an individual to perform a worthwhile task like fixing a motorcycle. Gumption is vital, however ‘gumption traps’ can drain an individual’s motivation and ability to perform Quality work. I hope to catalog these traps for a reader, so that others can learn how to avoid being stymied by gumption traps. Learning lessons – developing deep understanding of the pillars.

The internal gumption traps also known as hang-ups, are divided into three categories:

“Truth traps,” which block intellectual comprehension;

“Muscle traps,” which block physical actions; and, most dangerous of all,

“Value traps,” which interfere with internal understanding.

The most common and dangerous value trap is “Value rigidity,” in which a calcified understanding of the world prevents repairers from evaluating problems as they work. Repairers can conquer this value trap by slowing down and developing a genuine interest in the workings of the motorcycle, which will allow them to see their project in new ways.

An understanding of possible traps isn’t enough to ensure flawless motorcycle maintenance. Most importantly of all, one must live one’s entire life in a way that avoids gumption traps and channels Quality in all activities. This attitude prevents one from viewing motorcycles and their maintenance as objects separate from one’s self, and allows for seamless, Quality work.

Four Pillars:

There are four pillars to every being: your physiology, your psychology, your philosophy and your history. All the boxes loop together.

Physiology: This Pillar refers to the Physical construction of the motorcycle or design. The emotions felt from what’s Tactile.

Psychology: The emotional connection and or character, the feeling of satisfaction obtained from taking the time to achieve a successful design or well running cycle. We often personify both designs and or cycles for example ‘she’s a dog’

Philosophy: The idea of reason or wisdom behind what you have done. Detachment from the real world, speed gods and Burt – ride till you die experience –

History: Why you do what you do and how you learned to do what you do.  

Psychomotor traps, which can be engendered by unsuitable tools, physical discomfort, or a lack of “mechanic’s feel.” To cultivate the proper feel, one must become comfortable interacting with and manipulating the array of materials... Although the Four Pillars are inherently present to both motorcycle maintenance and design it is important to remember that there is much more than this examined methodology. Both actions crave boundless freedom.

The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”
— Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values