What Is a Rat Bike?
What is a Rat Bike?
A Rat Bike is a motorcycle that's showing its age and is being maintained in the most economical way possible.
Rat Bikes have had a recent surge in popularity but the concept is as old a motorcycles themselves.
The life of a car is pretty set by the time it leaves the factory:
- The original purchaser drives the car more-or-less every day until they no longer want to own it.
- He then sells the car and it goes through a series of owners until it's finally deteriorated enough to be scrapped.
The life of a motorcycle is less determinate:
- The original purchaser may not ride the motorcycle every day; in fact, the motorcycle may be ridden only a couple of times a year. During this time of little use, the motorcycle may be polished and maintained to an excessive degree and may still look brand new for many years. The motorcycle may even be upgraded to better than new condition. Some may enjoy having a nice, shiny, scratch free motorcycle sitting in their garage but to a "rider," this is just unthinkable.
- Or, the original owner may actually ride his motorcycle. With riding comes faded paint, pitted chrome, scratched fairings, dirt, grime etcetera. As the motorcycle begins to show its age, some will trade it for a bike that's bigger, better, faster, newer - reasoning that maintenance isn't fun; riding is.
Some owners truly come to love their bike and wouldn't trade it for any other. When their bike breaks down, they fix it. When the cost of repairs gets too high, they get creative:
- Need to reupholster your seat? Use an old Indian blanket or maybe a piece of leather cut from an old jacket.
- Need a new exhaust pipe? Wrap the old one in exhaust wrap.
- Need a new headlight? Find one at the junk yard; any make will due - Harley, Honda, Ford, maybe even John Deere.
- Need wires, tubing, fittings? They're cheaper at the hardware store than at the Harley Davidson dealership.
- Need a new paint job? Rattle-can black never needs polishing.
Of course, there's always room for an 8-ball or some brass knuckles.
Sounds like the start of a great Rat Bike!
This is NOT a Rat Bike!
Don't let the flat black paint fool you - this is a $50,000 Exile Cycles custom made by Russell Mitchell. Way cool... but definitely not a Rat.