Sticker Shock

[The otherwise lovely Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is, like a lot of modern motorcycles, sticker bombed. And not for product, they're warning stickers. When the meds kick in, I accept these dimwitted examples of a legal system run amok as a necessary evil, a way to protect the truly imbecilic and genuinely careless among us. (Raises the question of whether they should be saved, but that's for another day.)

It’s not like these bleats on vinyl are interesting reading. One sticker on the Guzzi says that dropping things down between the steering head and the body can inhibit steering and cause a crash. Really, no kidding? Another warns that you should never run gas poisoned by more than 10 percent ethanol. Okay, I kinda get that one. Yet another sticker says, “Never install accessories or replacement parts not approved by Moto Guzzi as original equipment. This can degrade the handling and safety of your motorcycle, and can cause an upset with subsequent accident and serious injury or even death. The stability and safety of any motorcycle is adversely affected by the addition of any load carrying accessory. See owner’s manual.” So, how can an accessory be original equipment if it doesn’t come on the bike? I half expected to find the entire owner’s manual printed on another label elsewhere on the bike. I was disappointed. Under the slim seat is a just diminutive tool kit and vineyard dust. Hmmm.

O[h, and the best part? That huge warning label on the rear fender was, on our test bike, applied with obvious disregard for symmetry and in apparent belief that it would not live past the first maintenance. Maybe there's something in the unofficial Guzzi service manual that says: 600-mile service—change the oil, inspect the muffler bearings, remove dumb-ass stickers. Even if not, I appreciate Guzzi's quiet expression: This label is stupido so we're not even going to put it on straight. Basta!

It's not you, Moto Guzzi, it's us. Somewhere in the American bureaucracy is an individual—probably some GS-1 initiate, high on power and emboldened by a government-issue rubber stamp. He decided that we needed to protect each other with the most ridiculous, unhelpful and vulgar warnings of the most painfully obvious, marginally lethal outcomes imaginable.

You, sir, are an idiot.