Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beauty or Brains?

I think Fiat Linea has the best looking grill I have ever seen on a car. I say that because I have never seen the Aston Martin DB9. The Linea is unquestionably the best looking automobile in India today. And that is why I will never buy it. Let me explain.

Look at this. This is the Yamaha YZF R15. A thoroughbred racetrack motorbike.

It looks staggering from every angle.

Except this.

If you look at it carefully, you will notice that under those huge fairings is a really skinny rear tyre. And it is such a bloody eyesore. You will also notice, if you have even the most rudimentary sense of aesthetics, that it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting atop a telegraph post.

That's what you would think. But therein lies the rub. That is no ordinary tyre. It is a bespoke MRF medium-soft compound tyre which is finely tuned along with the chassis and the rear suspension package to provide optimum grip and traction under all riding conditions. But more importantly - and here is where it gets interesting - it is evidence that somewhere, in the boardroom of a huge bureaucratic multinational organisation, the engineering department managed to convince the marketing and advertising departments. Which means there is a very good reason why the bike looks like a famished Somalian goat from behind. Something about that tyre was so phenomenally good that a bunch of overpaid corporate fat-cats sat quietly and listened to an engineer.

It is a fact that functional things seldom look good. Have you ever seen a beautiful turret drill? Or an exquisite parachute harness? See, that's the point. You wouldn't marry a woman because she has a purse that has 28 secret compartments? Fair enough. But if you suffer a puncture in the middle of the night on a deserted highway and you desperately need a puncture kit and possibly even two sets of spare tyres, wheel rims, the tools to change the tyres and maybe even a can of petrol... remember it is not her nice legs that will come to your rescue. Then you'll wish you hadn't made fun of the purse.

So guys, the choice is yours - Not having to wait for 6 hours for the highway tow truck to show up? Or nice legs?