March 27, 2009

60/40: Derringer Cycles

Couple friends and I went over to Derringer Cycles today to check out their "board track inspired", can I say motorcycles? Mopeds? Bicycles? Whatever they are. The three of us, well... I, was on the fence about them, but willing to give them a shot. Eric and Chad were less confident in the idea of redemption, both for the bikes and myself at this point.

My glass half-full was dumped out on the sidewalk when we approached and found the front window cloaked in a ghostly white sheet and the door locked. After Chad gave it a tug, and we decided to abandon the whole idea all together, the door opened and a man stuck his head out, handing us a business card. Great, um, yeah, but I don't want a card. I want a test ride of a brightly painted 49cc moped. The poor guy had to tell us we weren't important enough to look at his bikes, well, at least that's how we took it. "Sorry, we have a celebrity coming in like, 3 minutes". Um, right. Okay. I understand privacy, even when it comes to the stars and starlets of this great city, but c'mon, not only locking the door, but hanging a sheet in front of the window... I mean, who the hell was coming? Although we never found out, we were fairly confident that Zac Efron was so ashamed of his pink Derringer he was ordering, he decided to pull a grand wizard and hide behind a white sheet.

So, what do we do when we're told we have to leave for Zac? We walk away scoffing and kicking the dirt, swearing that the place should burn down of natural causes, go to South Willard and Douglas Fir, then swing back on the way to the car and see if the door was still locked. It wasn't.

We walk in and the first thing to greet us, besides the highly knowledgeable man behind the desk, is a pink motorcycle... OUCH. The shop looks more like a "Fisher Price: My First Retail Space", complete with DWR knock-off light fixtures and IKEA furnishings, than a motorcycle shop. Or even a fake motorcycle shop, or a fake moped shop... I mean, 'A' for effort and all, but really now? I get that they are motorcycles, or nods to motorcycles, but INDIAN reproduction posters? Springfield would turn over in their collective grave. However the 'Le Mans' movie poster and b/w still from the original Thomas Crown Affair made perfect sense... what?

Okay maybe I'm being harsh, but I was still hurt from being passed over for Zac. The bikes weren't horrible, well, the grey one wasn't. They're like a bottle of ice cold Yoo-Hoo at Chevron on a hot day though. Yeah, in theory it's a good idea. Chocolate milk sounds nice, but after a few sips your stomach is doing back-flips and you're wishing you had just gone with good old fashioned water. Yes, the Brooks saddles and seat bags made them a little better, and the fact that you don't really need a license to ride them helped. But I don't think that was enough to get us to drop a few K on one just yet. I think Chad's heart skipped a beat when the guy told us that the bikes came with matching helmets though. I'm not sure how I'd feel about seeing someone riding a pink moped with a matching helmet. Wait... actually, yes I do.

After the guy behind the desk denied us the dream of test-riding one in the alley, the three of us stood there, staring at the bikes, brain-storming ways to make them bearable. Flat-black primer paint jobs? Canvas and leather saddle bags? Asbestos wrapped exhaust? Starting over from scratch and letting us design it? The denial of a test-ride didn't help their odds. Something about these not being road worthy...(caughbullshitcaugh). All in all, we gave it a "60/40". 60%: okay. 40%: awful. Which actually isn't all that bad. Spend a thousand dollars customizing it, and yeah, maybe you could come out on top. Course then you'd be spending nearly 5Gs ON A MOPED. And you'd still have to ride it at night... with no your backyard... in fear your friends would see you.

Seriously, I give it a C, a solid C, but a C. Effort was there. Design wasn't horrible, and the idea is pretty fun. Derringer owners do gather in Palm Springs and race these in a velodrome, which would be awesome, even on a pink one with matching helmet. Check out the website, go the store (if Zac isn't ordering a matching one for his BFF), and break down your own percentages.

"Do all three 'Rs' need to be guns? I mean, I get it and all, but I've read some graphic design books", says Chad as we walk out the door eyeing the one in the window and hatching a plan to come back at midnight, smashing the glass and riding off into the moonlight.

An OG Board Bandit... you be the judge...