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What the colour of your motorbike says about you

Words: Kerry

It is most likely that personal preferences in colour choices are the result of our own individual life experiences. These come from our upbringing, cultural beliefs, recent trends, and what we are innately drawn to.

While these things may seem meaningless, they actually unveil some pretty intimate things about who we truly are.

For instance, did you know that the colour of your car or motorbike reveals things about your personality? It can actually work as a “psychological shortcut” that expresses how we want the world to think about us.

Now let’s face it, we have all actually judged someone with a certain coloured vehicle. An example being, seeing someone who’s driving along in a little red sports car – we all have an instant reaction, whether it’s positive, or wondering if he’s compensating for something. Basically we all want to make an impression when it comes to owning a vehicle. As well as that, we all generally think we have the best taste on the market, and that perhaps everybody will be envious.

In a study titled Impact of color on marketing, researchers found that up to 90 per cent of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone, depending on the product. While they didn’t mention motorbikes specifically in the article, who knows, it could still apply!

Anyway, just for fun we have done some fun research and come up with some colour descriptions of bikes and their owners. Enjoy it with a large grain of salt.

Black

Now to be fair, technically, black is not a colour; it’s the absence of colour. But it is indeed a popular choice for motorcycles. Now why would it be so popular? The options range from somebody wanting that look of luxury and sophistication, right through to those who believe colour is girly and black is the only option. You could even say they would like themselves to be seen as ‘Bad Ass’ riders.

Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil and mystery.

Now on motorcycles, let’s face it, a shiny black paint job can be dead sexy. On a negative side of sporting your black motorbike, research into crashes can show black motorcycles stand out the least and may well put you at a higher risk of accidentally being hit.

Now that appearance of black is so loved by some, that they even take nice helmets, remove the visor, spray paint the helmet matte black, then ride around with sunglasses on…hmmm each to their own.

White

Now the opposite to black is white, which on the other hand, is the absorption of all light, and to some people, this isn’t a colour either, it could be considered colourless. To be fair, there are not a lot of white bikes out there. Perhaps Triumph has a few white combination coloured bikes, but it would otherwise be custom jobs.

White is so often associated with concepts of purity (the driven snow, angels, pure stuff) and is often considered to be the colour of perfection. Heroes wear white hats and ride white horses, right? So maybe you chose a white bike because you’re really just an all-around nice person who’s sort of apure at heart, but your bike will be clean with style. Just maybe don’t go too far and go for all white leathers. That really might be taking it a bit too far.

Yellow

Supposedly a cheerful colour, but when over used can have a disturbing effect. Apparently it invokes warmth and cheer, and on the road, it’s high-visibility is literally, an attention getter, hence, another Ferrari-favourite colour. Yellow taxicabs were put out there to do just that, grab people’s attention. So if this is your bike’s colour, you definitely live by the mantra “look at me”, whilst also “don’t worry, be happy.” (Surely that’s why you buy yellow?) Psychology would say those choosing yellow would be young, or at least young at heart.

Now Paul here at BRM mentioned he had owned a yellow Aprilia RSV-R in the past (seems the boss has no colour class standards – oops), and he claims it was very much a ‘look at me machine’. Whether it made him any cheerier we don’t know, but maybe we should keep it in mind when looking for his Christmas gift if he gets grumpy.

Red

“At once, red is the passionate and ardent hue of the spectrum, marketing the saint and the sinner, patriotism and anarchy, love and hatred, compassion and war.” – Faber Birren

Now all the research says the same here. Red evokes strong emotions: “red rag to a bull”, “painting the town red”, or “red-blooded” passion. Let’s face it, the song Lady in Red may not have been so engaging if it was lady in beige.  It’s also linked to excitement, just think of Ferrari’s “racing red” – we would rather a red Ferrari than a yellow one that’s for sure. But, you can’t talk about red motorcycles without talking about that other Italian maker of fast, beautiful things – the Ducati. Red bikes on the street are pretty much all Ducatis until proven otherwise, but yes, it’s popular in any brand. “It’s a colour that screams speed, and it’s difficult to separate the words speed and Ducati. So, are red bikes inherently more dangerous? Or do their riders simply wish to be seen that way. Are you a sexy daredevil (at least in your mind’s eye)? Or maybe you’re the unknowingly appealing red Honda rider!

Green

The colour green is associated with nature, freshness, tranquility, and good luck, but when it comes to motorcycles, green just means Kawasaki to us Period. Green as opposed to red, means stability and safety, and is the free passage in road traffic.

Now good old ‘Team Green’ has been Kawaski’s mantra for decades with Kawasakis in any other colour looking slightly weird. Whether the riders are fresh and tranquil we’re not sure but there’s been some seriously fast green Kwakas in the past which makes me think not. Green is strongly associated with calmness, so perhaps it’s the best bike to have over take you.

Blue

Now blue is the most commonly listed ‘favourite’ colour.  Having a blue bike doesn’t necessarily mean you have a case of the blues, rather you prefer a bit of colour than something plain. The colour blue provides a large scale of blue shades from the depths of navy right right up to the pastel hues of baby blue.

Blue is associated with loyalty, faithfulness, trustworthiness, and sincerity. The trusty old blue groups make true-blue friends apparently. Although you may exhibit flamboyant behaviour, you are introspective and sensitive enough to try to find common ground with someone you may not relate to at first.

Orange

Now orange is not a favourite colour for the majority of humans. Our research showed in the ‘favourite colour list’ only 5% of men and women claim the neon. Although the high-energy, high-vis vibe this colour gives off makes it a favourite for motorcycles, both on and off the road. Apparently KTM adopted the colour orange when emerging from bankruptcy in 1994 as a way of establishing brand identity. Since then, predominantly all KTMs featured this colour.

It is rarely used as a car colour, but we guess that’s because as above it’s basically nobody’s favourite. According to ColorPsychology.com, people whose “personality colour” is orange are extroverted and sometimes flamboyant risk-takers who aren’t very good housekeepers (hmmm we know a lot of men with a KTM, so that one must be true)

Go anywhere with dirt bikes and there’s obviously a lot of flamboyant people around, with a sea of orange talent over the paddocks. On the road and its nearly always large adventure bikes that feature this colour. Now with many of these owners getting on in age, maybe they are trying to make up for something by picking this colour?

The Bottom Line

Colour psychology and associations are an interesting part of the complex working system of our brain. We all ‘feel colour’ whether we realize it or not. How or what we feel about it varies from person to person. Perhaps the hippies in our community are so happy as they sport the mixture of all colours to obtain all those positive vibes. Time to buy the boss a tie dye shirt!