Categories: Galleries, Dailies

Our old buddy JT Nesbitt got pretty upset when he heard that Motorcyclist’s Aaron Frank had used a comment he’d left on HFL without permission. He got even more upset when Aaron dismissed his criticisms of that bike’s design. So upset, in fact, that he stopped work on his CNG-powered art deco custom roadster and wrote this rant for us unsolicited. Here’s JT’s thoughts on crashing bikes, the Ducati Diavel’s design and hassling the Hoff. — Ed.

As I pulled away from the stop sign onto Elysian Fields, the R6 redlined and I was moving sideways. Before I could manage to wonder what had just happened to my rear traction, the world was spinning and then the inevitable crunch of plastic and aluminum, the sickly smacking of limbs on asphalt and the dull thud of the helmet doing its job.

Funny how every time something embarrassing like this happens there is always a crowd to admire my acrobatics. Laid out in the middle of the street, a window rolls down and the dude inside can’t help himself. Grinning ear to ear he asks, “Yo, you aiite?” I know that he saw the whole thing.

I managed to get home under the power of adrenaline, but as soon as the kickstand hit the shop floor the pain blossomed. Fuck, crashing sucks.

Four days later and I feel like I am the recipient of a jailhouse shanking everytime the muscles around the broken ribs spasm uncontrollably. The right knee throbs with a constant dull pain. I am stiff, sore and pissed off.

Because I can’t do any work to my current car project, I got my girlfriend to take me to the bookstore so I could at least get some magazines to read while I lay in bed, wincing in pain. I managed to put on clothes and hobble to the car.

Grant told me that I got quoted in Motorcyclist and I’ll admit I was curious to see how. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even pay any attention to the motorcycle rags and head straight for the British car magazines instead, but since Grant made such a fuss about it, I bought Motorcyclist along with the usual selection of Evo, Octane, and Classic/Sports Car.

Now keep in mind, I am not in a good mood to begin with and when I get this way the only real panacea is making other people feel shitty too. Call it a character flaw, call it human nature. I don’t care cause it’s gonna make me feel better, at least in the short term.

Here goes.

Aaron Frank, you are a pussy. I understand that you post on the HFL website under some stupid pseudonym, “Salad Tosser” or some shit like that, yet you use your real name when you write for Motorcyclist. Why the secrecy? Hey fignuts, my name is JT Nesbitt. My address is 427 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans La. Wanna call me? Phone number 504-606-8847. Don’t quote me without permission again.

Next topic, your article on the Ducati Diablo, Drivel, Desperado, whatever that stupid ass motorcycle is called. There is a concept that I want you to explore here, it’s called journalistic integrity. It’s where you seek truth by asking challenging questions. Judging by the glaring omission of anything substantive in your article, I have decided to give you an unsolicited list of question that maybe you should have asked about this bike.

Why did they get a European to design an “American” motorcycle?

How about the obvious inconsistency of having a hot rod design brief and then loading the motorcycle with all kinds of electronic bric-a-brac. Do you even know what a hot rod is? First rule of hot rodding is simplicity. Mechanical elegance with less electronic complexity, not more. Did you ever consider asking them about that?

What about the me-too nature of this motorcycle? Does every motorcycle company have to offer a product for low information buyers now?

Isn’t this Diablo thing just like Honda making that stupid Fury chopper like 10 years too late to the starting grid? I mean really, the V-Rod came out over 10 years ago and it was a dumb idea even then.

What does the Diavel do that the Triumph Rocket III doesn’t already?

Does widening the Ducati market share to include people who don’t know anything about motorcycles help this brand?

Why would Ducati try to compete with Harley’s V-Rod when Harley can’t sell them? The V-Rod even has a Harley Davidson sticker on it!

And the rear tire, I mean seriously, why? I get the how, but they went to all of the trouble of having a custom rear tire made to mitigate the effects of having a beach ball out back, why? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. Right?

Who is actually going to buy this motorcycle? Cruiser guys? Isn’t Ducati’s whole carefully crafted identity anathema to overweight Alabamian rubes? I mean ain’t that Ducati’s raison d’etre?

How will a well-informed motorcyclist who sacrificed and stretched to buy that 848 and is finally feeling a member of an exclusive family respond to the pot-bellied, fingerless-glove-wearing moron who pulls up next to him at a stoplight, only to light his cigarette, give him the thumbs up, and say “Ducati For Life, Bro!”

How about just the sheer size of that thing? Why is it so big? Did you ask them about their target demographic being members of the small penis society?

Lastly and most importantly, the question is: How does this motorcycle move the ball down the field? Is this progress? What fresh ground does it break, in a wider context, not just for Ducati itself?

So how bout it Sassafras, you ever gonna step up to the plate or are you satisfied with that puff piece that you passed for journalism? Bet I know the answer. Goodbye Edward R Murrow, hello Regis Philbin.

Now, as for my quote, the one that you purloined without permission, and your weak rebuke of my statement. You noted that they used my work as reference material. You wrote, “Criticism was hyperbolic and largely unwarranted.” Wha? So my criticism is unwarranted?

Did they look at any of the motorcycles that you designed? Was it “Aaron Frank’s House of Proppa Choppas” that they studied while sketching this monstrosity? Hell, if anybody has the right to critique, it’s the people that they admitted had influence on the design. People like me.

Obviously my opinion contradicts the purpose of this catshit on the carpet lovefest for Ducati advertising dollars and is therefore automatically categorized as “hyperbolic”. What about telling the truth, is that “hyperbolic?” Is treating the people that you interview about motorcycles like adults and asking tough questions like an actual member of the press “hyperbolic?”

Now, moving on to some real hyperbole and rancor, since you didn’t ask. I laid awake last night in too much pain to sleep, rolling this whole thing around in my head. Trying to put words to my disdain for the Drivel just wasn’t happening, the pain was forcing me to think in images, not text. Sort of an “Altered States” moment of regression and enlightenment. In my moment of yogi-like meditation I devised the ultimate taxonomic classification system. It’s more like a pass/fail metric than a graded one and I want to proselytize to the whole world the revelation that I alone was granted. Behold, the dawn of a new era! Gentlemen, I give to you the McQueen/Hassellhoff conundrum.

I can almost hear the collective gasps as y’all realize the breadth of possible applications for the McQueen/Hassellhoff formula, everything from making a fortune on the stock market to predicting weather patterns. But, let’s collectively agree only to use this awesome power for good, OK?

Now to be honest, when I was 14, I would definitely be drawn to the Hassellhoff side of the conundrum and, to a point, I still find kitsch funny. Hell I almost bought a Ferrari Testarossa this spring. Just ask Grant, he talked me back off the ledge.

So I put it to you, the newly formed McQueen/Hassellhoff Cabal, where does the new Ducati Diavel belong? Is it McQueen or is it Hassellhoff?

This article represents the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the position of or any of its parent companies, subsidiaries, or affiliated organizations.

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