At least, it helps people stay cool.

I've been told I have a great face for radio. That may or may not be true, but compared to Bikes and Beards' latest motorcycle acquisition, I'm a genuine supermodel. It's not that I'm that good looking, but that the bike is that ugly.

Allegedly the result of a toothpaste-induced miscommunication (don't you hate when that happens), they bought what they claim is the world's ugliest motorcycle: a Cushman II Eagle. Cushman was a well-respected scooter manufacturer back in the day, making a wide variety of small bikes, including some bikes for the military that were designed to join paratroopers as they skydived into enemy territory. They've been gone for a while, but in 2014 a new Cushman started building scooters again, and this was the result—such as it is.

When I think of scooters, I think of the artistic curves of a Vespa, or the Teutonic grace of a BMW, or even the utilitarian simplicity of a Honda Ruckus. This scooter is none of these. It's made in America, which counts for something. Americans have style, too, though, which the Cushman certainly does not. It looks more like an overgrown version of my neighbor's Coleman (yes, like the coolers and camp stoves) minibike.

This bike does have one redeeming quality, though. Its original 14 horsepower engine has been replaced with one from a Honda XR400, making 35 horsepower with bulletproof reliability, quite a nice upgrade.

Like my Kawasaki KLR 650, what the Cushman is lacking in looks, it makes up for with reliability and utility. Its rear rack and extra grunt make it perfectly capable of hauling around a much larger Hawk 250, just in case you need a backup bike. It can also carry an enormous cooler, filled with ice and water bottles on a hot summer day, for giving out to road construction crews and anyone else you happen to encounter in your travels. It may lack stunning good looks like a Vespa, but it will win people over—including the police officer who stops it.


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