Classic Bike Cult Feature: The Rockers v the Mods


Classic Bike Cult Feature The Rockers v the Mods (2) Influenced by the style and trends they saw in Italian and French films of the time, the Mods were very conscious of their appearance and the way they attired themselves. As opposed to the Rockers’ natural tendency to dress up in jeans, black leather jackets and boots, the Mods wore clean-cut tailored suits with narrow lapels, button-down shirts, narrow ties and loafers or pointed-toed Beatle boots. Partly, the Mods’ choice of outfit was also fuelled by their desire to be seen as sophisticated two-wheeler riding urban folk in stark contrast to the greasy look of the Rockers, the latter in itself a more semi-urban/rural phenomenon. Distinction between men and women was also greater among the Mods with lady riders choosing to wear mini skirts, short hair styles and flat shoes. In comparison, women Rockers wore the same outfit as their male counterparts. The visual distinction between Rockers and Mods even went down to their hairstyles. While the Rockers slicked their hair with Brylcreem and styled them to look puffed up, the Mods preferred a more contemporary hairstyle, the likes of which one can see on old posters of ‘The Beatles’ or ‘The Who’.

Classic Bike Cult Feature The Rockers v the Mods (3)

What distinguished the Mods most from the Rockers, however, was the former’s choice of two-wheeler. Where the Rockers busied themselves in buying motorcycles and then stripping them out as much as possible to make them go quicker, the Mods chose to ride around on Italian scooters like Vespa and Lambretta, often adding cosmetic embellishments that would help them stand out visually in a crowd. One of the most popular additions to a Mod’s scooter would be a large number of headlamps, giving the diminutive scooter a curious many-eyed bug-like look. Crash bars, two-tone custom paint jobs too were very popular. The fact that Italian scooters had clean-cut lines, curving shapes and gleaming chrome only added to their appeal with the fashion- and image-conscious Mod. Not to mention, in the 1960s they were cheaper to buy and run than cars and ran long after public transport would call it a day: an absolute necessity for a generation of youth that partied hard and frequently till the wee hours of the morning.

Classic Bike Cult Feature The Rockers v the Mods (1)

 

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Aninda Sardar – who has written posts on Bike India.



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