Time to Get Technic-al With LEGO

Entertainment Reviews Toys

Photo Sep 03, 6 09 43 PM

Hi. My name is Jamie, and I’m a reborn LEGO fan. As a kid, I was obsessive. I remember several holidays and birthdays where I got nothing but LEGO sets. Then I drifted away from the brand and had delusions of “adulthood.”

Now I have kids of my own who have fallen for those little bricks in a big way…and I’ve fallen back in love with them as well. I suppose it’s natural.

Despite the thousands of bricks I’ve assembled with them, it wasn’t until recently that I put together my first LEGO Technic set. Frankly, I’d just never been drawn to them.

So it was with much anticipation that I tore into the latest set in the Technic line: the Street Motorcycle. Part of the fun of this build maaaay have been in beating back the kids (“This is Daddy’s toy!”), but I really enjoyed putting this one together.

LEGO Technic has been around since the late 1970s (when it was known as the Expert Builder line). The complex sets are geared toward older kids, and the models are much more detailed in their construction. They’re meant to be realistic and function (in some respects) like their real-world counterparts. The Street Motorcycle comes with a recommended age range of 9–16, and that seems about right.

cycle kit

Another difference is that the bags inside aren’t numbered as they are in standard LEGO sets. You need to tear open all of the bags at the beginning since the pieces are spread out. Pieces are bagged by function (more or less) rather than by order of build.

The Street Motorcycle comes with four bags, two wheels (in four pieces), a sticker sheet, and two instruction booklets. Each booklet is for a different build design, so only one is needed for either build.

Technic sets also come with a different set of “bricks” than standard LEGO sets. Technically, the pieces are compatible with regular bricks, but they have a completely different design. Most pieces look like rods and beams, and almost all are “studless.”

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If all you know are “standard” LEGO sets, Technic is definitely a change and will take some getting used to. About halfway through the motorcycle, my 4-year-old son asked when we were going to start building with LEGO.

“We are building LEGO. That’s what this is.”

“No! I mean LEGO! The kind without all the holes.”

They’re very different.

The Street Motorcycle consists of 375 pieces (a majority of which are small connector pieces). The final build is actually quite impressive in that it has a rugged front and rear suspension, a chain drive, working steering, a kickstand, and a detailed engine with moving pistons.

The moving pistons might win the cool prize here. Four pistons – housed in the engine – move up and down as the wheels rotate. Color me impressed. I built the darn thing, and I’m still not entirely sure how it works. My hat is off to the Technic engineers and master builders out there.

cycle

It’s also a lot bigger than I was expecting.

This was a great introduction to the world of LEGO Technic, but I’m not entirely sold on them yet. Despite the way-cool features that make the models more realistic, I still prefer the look of the traditional bricks.

But it was a heck of a lot of fun, and I’m willing to give it another go.

Han Solo minifig for size comparison
Han Solo minifig for size comparison

(Disclosure: A sample of this set was provided for review purposes. All opinions remain my own.)

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2 thoughts on “Time to Get Technic-al With LEGO

  1. Cool review. I think I was around six or seven years old when I built my first LEGO Technic set. I think it was this one: http://brickset.com/sets/2129-1 Back then, a lot of Technic parts DID have studs. The shift to almost entirely studless builds in LEGO Technic began about fifteen years ago.

    These days the only Technic sets my family tends to get are the really big ones… for instance, a few months ago my brother and I built the Cargo Plane (http://brickset.com/sets/42025-1/Cargo-Plane). Of course, my brother and I also collect action figure themes like Bionicle and Hero Factory, which use the Technic-based Character and Creature Building System (CCBS).

    It was weird to me after becoming an AFOL to find out that so many other AFOLs were completely disinterested in Technic, since as a kid it seemed self-evident to me that Technic was “LEGO for grown-ups”. Even nearly 40 years after its launch, many AFOLs still don’t consider Technic “proper LEGO”.

    Of course, I also appreciate that the Technic building experience is a lot different than the traditional LEGO building experience, in that you’re attaching parts from all directions, and sometimes it’s hard to tell how the section you’re building will fit into the model as a whole. Disassembling Technic models can be even trickier than assembling them, and if you make a mistake while building and don’t catch it soon enough you might have to undo a LOT of building just to correct it.

    Even at age 24 I don’t have the engineering know-how to create elaborate, functional Technic creations of my very own. I can certainly marvel at Technic sets and MOCs, but LEGO Bionicle’s CCBS is still what I prefer to use for my own creations, followed by the traditional LEGO system of studded bricks and plates.

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