If you’ve spent much time around sport-touring or adventure-touring riders, you’ve likely heard a strange term being tossed casually around, typically at rallies or Saturday morning pre-ride coffee. “Farkle.”
You’re a smart cookie though, and have figured out that it seems to refer to motorcycle accessories…but why are some accessories “farkles” and others are just, well, accessories? Or is there even a difference? Allow us to provide this handy and very official-looking definition:
Farkle (n): A modification to a motorcycle that satisfies the following criteria: creates “bling,” serves a purpose (the usefulness of which is in the eyes of the farkler) and is most likely expensive. Often used among touring riders to denote or convey status amongst their peers. Ex: “I picked up a new farkle for my ST today: a GPS-based burger joint locator!” (v): To farkle; to accessorize one’s motorcycle with farkles. Ex: “Boy, John really farkled out his K1300GT; it’s even got a cup holder!”
Legend has it that the word “farkle” was invented by, or at least originated with, a Honda ST1100 owner’s group, as a way to describe the increasingly esoteric accessories that touring riders “needed” for the most comfortable, convenient ride possible. It has alternately been described as a mix of the words “function” and “sparkle,” in reference to the farkle’s stated purpose and tendency to look flashy and/or expensive, and as an acronym: Fancy Accessory, Really Kool, Likely Expensive.
The phenomenon isn’t limited to sport- and adventure-touring riders, of course—most motorcycle subgroups farkle to some extent. They just might not know it! Heated seats or grips, engine heat fans, windscreens/deflectors, GPS units, cup holders, anything that needs a RAM mount to be attached to the bike and auxiliary lights are all good examples of farkles. Elite farklers might even find that they need a supplemental bracket that allows them to mount all of their gadgets, often eliciting envy from fellow farklers.
The truth is, we love our farkles just as much as the next rider. They let us add a personal touch to our machines, and let’s face it, a well-chosen farkle really can make a long trip safer, more enjoyable and more comfortable.