The Massachusetts day was so immaculate it made our otherwise stoic AIM sales rep, John Smolinski, weep. Actually, that’s not quite true. What caused old John to blubber was far more profound than any beautiful weather. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
Prior to John’s charming waterworks, I was given a gleaming new Dirico Motorcycles USA (formerly known as Red Wing) ProStreet to log some serious miles on. However, before the real adventure began, I spent my first few hours aboard the scoot chugging along in a 1,500-strong charity procession called Rock Ride: Boston For Africa, a two-wheeled fundraiser largely organized by none other than Aerosmith’s legendary front man Steven Tyler. If anyone is a little confused, allow me to make the connection.
In case you didn’t know it, Steven Tyler has always been about motorcycles. Sure, he’s got a voice, and, yes, he’s a rock star, but at his core, Steven is a bike builder. At least that’s the idea. “Custom Motorcycles By Steven Tyler,” declares Dirico Motorcycles’ slogan. “Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.” What all of that means is that Steven has partnered with veteran cycle engineer Mark Dirico and Manchester, New Hampshire’s AC Custom Motorcycles to design and create a line of relatively high-end factory customs. If the ProStreet is anything to go by, the crew have done a first- rate job, while also playing it safe.
Take a close look at this styling sled, and you’ll notice a large number of good old H-D Bar & Shields. In other words, almost every component on this bike is manufactured by our friends at the Motor Company. The mill is a stock Screamin’ Eagle 103″ with 9:1 compression that makes an adequate, but not thrilling, 74.53 hp and 83.36 ft-lbs. of torque. The bike is fed by H-D electronic sequential port fuel injection sucking through a cone-shaped Screamin’ Eagle air intake, and exhaling via Samson Big Radius pipes. Power is delivered through a glorious, buttery smooth (no surprise there) BAKER six-speed tranny.
This all amounts to a solid, reliable drivetrain that’s meant to go the distance and can be conveniently serviced not only by private shops, but also any H-D dealership. While it would be nice to see more power from the 103″ engine, you certainly won’t find yourself lagging behind. If only H-D would lighten up with choking down its motor so much, we’d all be happier. I mean, 103″ producing only 75.4 ponies? Come on. But that’s not Dirico Motorcycles’ problem. Besides, for those more throttle-thirsty, Dirico will build the motor any way you want. If 124″ is your poison, no problem.
Also familiar to Harley loyalists are the bike’s instrumentation, mirrors, headlight, inverted CVO forks, and hand and foot controls. Yup, they’re all H-D. Likewise, the 5-gallon gas tank and the dash, which are cribbed directly from the Deuce and, more recently, Rocker models. Thankfully, everything is integrated with great style and finesse. Nothing about this bike feels or looks shoehorned in. Like I said, Dirico Motorcycles did bang-up work while also playing it safe. H-D riders are bound to feel right at home when they drop down into that not-exactly-cush Corbin saddle and take in the surroundings. Bringing the whole affair to a most capable halt are — surprise! — Harley four-piston calipers front and rear.
For the record, a few things actually weren’t borrowed from the minds in Milwaukee. First of all there’s the proprietary frame, a hand-built (by AC) DOM mild-steel, single-downtube skeleton that incorporates a cool 36-degree rake in the steering head. Similarly cooked up by AC are the fenders, both sleekly hugging the rims of the Performance Machine wheels. It’s a low, lean, mighty attractive package that turns its fair share of heads. This machine is also remarkably easy to ride, especially given the bike’s 8′ 7″ length and the fact it sports a 240 Metzeler in the stern. Granted, as fat-skinned sleds go, that’s not a huge tire, but it certainly ain’t small.
Now back to John’s tears. Our misty-eyed man accompanied me on Steven’s Rock Ride charity parade — on a different bike, thank you very much. The worthy event culminated in a Boston waterfront party replete with some of the music industry’s top names. It was at this bash that John, a huge Aerosmith fan and a professional musician himself, showed me some video he’d shot of Steven while riding next to him on a Tyler-designed steed in the morning’s motorcade. John then admitted that he’d shed a few wet ones as a result of being so close to rock and roll greatness. I couldn’t believe my ears. In an effort to justify his emotions John quickly added, “They were tears of ecstasy.” Of course they were. But does that make it right?
After John’s confession, the time came for me to fire up the Dirico ProStreet and hit the road, sans 1,500 slow-moving bikes. Over the next two days, I thoroughly enjoyed ripping a ton of New England asphalt from Maine to the Canadian border and finally back to New York. I even blasted the bike up New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington (elevation 6,288′), a wild moonscape featuring sheer cliffs, no guardrails, and a winding, treacherous little dirt track that is supposed to be a road. The blinding fog didn’t help. The point is, I logged well over 1,000 miles, cranking the hell out of the Dirico ProStreet in all sorts of conditions and on a great variety of roads, some of which most people would be wise to avoid. There was almost nothing I could throw at this ProStreet that it didn’t handle with power and grace. Simply put, it ran like a champ.
My only qualm with the machine had to do with its rear suspension, which occasionally bottomed out, making this one of the hardest riding softail-style bikes I’ve ever ridden. However, when informed of this little glitch, Dirico Motorcycles’ crack team made adjustments, and they assure me the problem is now solved. Good job.
Clocking in at $38,995 (depending on paint) the Dirico Motorcycles USA ProStreet isn’t the cheapest bike on the block. But it’s a sturdy, potent package featuring assurance of roadworthiness in so many Harley components. Backed by a two-year, unlimited-miles warranty, it’s a cool ride that’s slightly radical, but still reliable and safe. Word is they’re selling like mad. If you want, Steven Tyler will even autograph the thing for you.
It’s almost enough to make you cry. Tears of ecstasy, of course. AIM
–Sam Whitehead, as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.
Dirico Motorcycles USA