Versatility of a Swiss Army knife
text and photography by Dain Gingerelli
Here’s a recap of my workweek: after meddling with various tasks in my office Monday morning, I snuck out on the FXDL Dyna Low Rider for lunch at the big-box store, otherwise known as Costco. I’m an easy mark for Costco’s hot dog and coke combo, especially at the price, a buck fifty. I also can’t pass up an opportunity to get out of the office to ride bikes like the Low Rider, so the prospect of munching on that dog and coke sounded even more appealing as I saddled up.
In fact, my whole week went much like Monday. Tuesday, I rode the Low rider through nearby Silverado Canyon in California to check if the US Forest Service had opened the gate to the dirt road leading up the Saddleback landmark. My best friend and I were planning a ride up that hill on our dual-sport bikes; if the gate was open, we would ride up the following weekend. It wasn’t open, but I still took the opportunity last tuesday to enjoy lunch on the way home at the Silverado Cafe, always a treat. The Low Rider waited patiently outside, its sidestand down, while I dined on a greasy, delicious burger inside.
I began writing this review first thing Wednesday morning, but soon enough, I reasoned that I probably should put some more miles on the Dyna to really “get a feel” for what the bike is about, so off I went, southbound on Interstate-5, taking me past Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. It’s a pleasant ride, with wide, sweeping vistas of the blue Pacific Ocean to my right, and the route takes me past the Basilone Road exit, named in honor of Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. Later during the war, he was awarded the Navy cross for his heroics at the Battle of Iwo Jima where he lost his life in further combat. I always pay my respects to the sergeant with a moment of silence from the saddle whenever I pass that exit. The Dyna Low Rider was in full stride, too, the Twin Cam 103″ engine purring smoothly the soothing din from its collector exhaust ever so discernible above the wind blast around my Arai helmet. It was as if the Low Rider knew that this particular gunny sergeant deserved respect.
And on Thursday, I heard about a new wall mural by street artist Bandit, so I rode the Dyna to nearby San Clemente to check out his handiwork with the spray cans, and now it’s Friday morning, and I’m staring at a deadline for this bike review. I’ll admit, too, that it was easier today to leave the Low Rider in my garage because its rear Michelin Scorcher “31” tire had, at some point during my week’s travels, developed a slow leak. Good excuse as any, I guess, to get back to work.
The Dyna Low Rider has a way of doing that, distracting you from everyday life. The bike is so congenial to all manner of street riding that you’ll feel confident taking it anywhere and everywhere there’s pavement. care to carve through a canyon, following the serpentine road as it snakes left to right? Not a problem because this Dyna’s steering is deliberate and precise, especially considering the FXDL’s cruiser roots date back to 1977. The Michelin rubber — 100/90-19″ up front and 160/70-17″ on the rear — do a fine job of gripping the asphalt, so you never feel off balance.
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