What is it about looking to the past that makes for such fond memories? Why is that today’s cars, motorcycles, and toys just don’t seem to have the same punch of yesteryear’s heyday? When we go to “throw back” our memories, we seem to have a selective memory and concentrate on the good while forgetting all the bad. What if we could have the best of both worlds? What if in a single motorcycle you could have all the reliability and performance of a modern machine, while still having the classic look of a time gone by? That’s just what the Dirico Bobber aims to do.
The Dirico story is a rather colorful one with a rather big-named backer, under the name Steven Tyler, having a hand in the creation of the company. Be sure and pick up last month’s Hot Bike for the full story of how rock ’n’ Rroll met heavy metal (rolling metal that is).
Dirico approaches the art of bike building with a different vision. Rather than trying to recreate the past, complete with its flaws, they have built a fully finished production motorcycle that from a distance appears to be from half a decade or so ago with the Army green paint, solo seat, bobbed fenders, and springer front end. But rather than infuse a factor of unreliability and dated technology, Dirico uses mostly H-D factory shelf parts including a 96-inch twin-cam motor mated with a six-speed transmission. The chassis is Dirico made and utilizes softail suspension. Some non H-D accessories include Vance and Hines tracker exhaust, billet forward controls, and Metzler’s new ME888 Ultra Marathon tires. It took the talents and knowledge of Mark Dirico to make all these parts work together and improve any place he thought would benefit from updating.
The Ride: I’ll admit. I was a bit apprehensive about riding the Bobber. In person, the bike looks like a classic and more suitable parked in a garage or museum than out and about the town. After wrapping up the photo shoot, I tracked down the key and headed out the photo studio for the streets of Los Angeles. With a click of the starter, the Twin Cam barked through the Vance and Hines exhaust and I was on my way. Before ever leaving the parking lot, I made sure and do several brake checks—both front only, back only, and both—to see what I was working with. See, I love brakes. All the power in the world is useless when dodging the streets and freeways of Los Angeles if you can’t come to a stop fast. Luckily the stopping power passed with flying colors at low speeds at least.
I don’t consider myself short at 5’9″. Instead, I prefer the term “perfect height”. Perfect for what, I haven’t figured out yet, but I like a bike with a low seat height to keep my feet planted firmly on the pavement between starts and stops. The Bobber’s solo seat kept my little piggies firmly placed on the ground, and the swept-back bars made the reach rather comfortable.
Around town, I was surprisingly shocked at how well balanced and smooth the bike felt. Despite looking old, it handled like any new bike should with plenty of motor to get old girl up and moving. The Vance and Hines Tracker exhaust not only looks the part but barks like an annoying neighbor dog and keeps the cars aware of your location. The Springer suspension works flawlessly at slower speeds, although we did notice a tendency to track the rain grooves of the concrete freeways. This is fairly common for any motorcycle, but a tad bit more noticeable on the Dirico.
One particular notable feature is Metzler’s new rubber shoes in the form of the ME888 Ultra Marathon tires. These ultra high mileage tires are designed specifically for custom touring bikes like the Bobber. The technology behind the rubber offers a stable wear and performance pattern over the course of the tire’s life. While we only had the bike for one afternoon, we hope to put these tires to the full test with some long hauling sessions soon.
Overall, the rock ’n’ roll ties, mixed with the vintage style with modern updates and componentry, makes for a pretty cool motorcycle. Whether or not it commands the high price tag that comes along with it is another story. But my guess is the customer of this bike isn’t looking at the price tag—instead is looking at the Bobber into the VIP ticket to the cool kids club.
|2013 Dirico Bobber|
|Engine Type||96 CI Twin Cam 96B H-D V-Twin|
|Transmission||H-D Six Speed Cruise Drive|
|Brakes||Floating Brake Rotors|
|Wheels||Laced 16-inch (front and rear) with Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra Tires|
|Exhaust||Vance & Hines Tracker|
|Options||Flat Black, Military Green, Solo Spirit Saddle, Billet Forward Controls|