Have you ever had a project not go exactly like you planned? If you noticed that I didn’t say “project bike” there, that word choice was intentional—because maybe you’re just at the beginning of thinking about your first project bike. However, as a person who has worked on many a passion project prior to ever even thinking about a project bike, I’m here to tell you that some of that precious knowledge you’ve already gained completely carries over into project bike territory.
In this video, YouTuber SuperFastMatt takes us on a detailed breakdown of how he tried to build a custom land speed record attempt motorcycle four separate times—and how (and why) he failed. His analysis is unsparing, hilarious, and incredibly relatable—even if you’ve never personally tried to build a custom land speed record attempt motorcycle of your own.
Why? Probably because, at their heart, most projects—be they bikes or other things—share a number of traits in common. As he spells out toward the beginning of the vehicle, all projects require some mixture of time, money, space, and motivation to complete things—from your individual sub-tasks, all the way up to full project completion.
Most people don’t have unlimited supplies of any (or all) of these things—but if you have motivation, you can usually find creative ways to bend the other three parts to your will. The problems usually happen when motivation runs out. A setback may only seem tiny to an outsider, but if it feels utterly soul-crushing to you, then you may set something aside for weeks, months—or even years until you’re ready to deal with it again.
This video is particularly great because it works on multiple levels. On the one hand, you’re getting a blow-by-blow synopsis of what was clearly years of Matt’s attempts at getting this particular build off the ground—or, at least, more quickly across the ground than was probably advisable for this vehicle. On the other, you’re getting a close-up look at the inner workings of one curious, mechanically-minded person’s thought process in working through failure—which could, ultimately, help you work through your own failures.
The fact is, most of us have to keep trying, falling down, getting back up again, and learning from our mistakes when we attempt new things. Very few people are automatically good at just about anything. Most of us just have to keep trying, keep learning, and keep improving. That stubbornness may not seem like a good thing, but it is. Then again, so is learning to recognize when it’s time to light something on fire and shove it into the sea. Cheers.