The latest episode of RideApart speaks exactly to this issue. They interview Miguel Galluzzi, Vice President of Design for the Piaggio Group. Galluzzi talks about the current proliferation of plastic on bikes and how it came about because we forgot what motorcycling is truly about, enjoying the ride!
To paraphrase his philosophy on design: There is just design and there is design with soul...and soul lasts forever. He also endorses soulful design as simple design.
It is a great watch: