To some, motorcycles are simple machines. To others, they’re mystifying mechanisms that are better left unexplained. While our highly-informed readers undoubtedly fall in the former category, there’s no harm in brushing up on the basics, right? To help us get back to fundamentals, the Fortnine YouTube channel dissected an old Suzuki and explained each component.
This rudimentary breakdown is more crash course than a full-fledged lecture. Most folks know the purpose of the gas tank, suspension, engine, and transmission, but many stop short of learning the inner workings of such mechanisms. Luckily, Fortnine’s Ryan resorts to layman’s terms and crude humor to keep our social media-obsessed brains engaged.
Of course, the simplicity of an old motorcycle is helpful for this exercise, if not a bit dated. Yes, some bikes on the road still use a kickstarter, but many have moved on to an electric start at this point. Carburetors are rare nowadays due to strict new emissions regulations, but fuel injection performs the same function, even if it’s a bit for sophisticated. Disc brakes are much safer than drum systems, but both use friction to effectively shed speed.
For the highly-educated motorcycle enthusiasts, the more interesting topics are the ones that Fortnine doesn’t cover. Many see modern bikes as overly complex, making them difficult for the part-time mechanic to wrench on. Admittedly, Fortnine's Ryan does thoroughly explain the rectifier/regulator and ignition coil, but those aren’t exactly cutting-edge technologies any longer. To get into that, the seven-minute breakdown might turn into a 30-minute dissertation.
For instance, it would require an entire video to fully cover systems like radar-equipped adaptive cruise control, active suspension, and IMU-dependent traction control. To that point, the building blocks of motorcycles remain simple but the technologies that make them safer and more comfortable are quite complex. It seems that modern bikes are both simple machines yet mystifying mechanisms at the same time.