The Oxford English Dictionary defines PERFORMANCE as;  “the capabilities of a machine, product, or vehicle“.

In motorsports we often usurp that definition and re-package it as something more glamorous or ideal.  We often consider PERFORMANCE to mean something better than the norm, perhaps more exclusive, and surely more expensive than the average “machine, product, or vehicle“.

In reality that phenomenon – being better than average – is not performance at all but is merely a refinement of those capabilities we desire our “machine, product, or vehicle” to perform best, whatever those capabilities may be.  Speed, handling, fuel efficiency, etc.

The Oxford English Dictionary also defines PERFORMANCE as;” a display of exaggerated behaviour or a process involving a great deal of unnecessary time and effort; a fuss” and I personally think that this is closer to the truth, especially in the context of the work-a-day kind of folk that seek to improve the ‘performance’ of their perfectly good “machines, products, or vehicles”, read motorcycles.

I think Leonard Cohen sums it up best:

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”