Dirico Pro-Street Roadster Motorcycle Review

The name Steven Tyler is synonymous with the band Aerosmith and, for many, he is considered rock and roll royalty. To add to that, since season 10 of the hit television show American Idol, the man’s legacy and brand has only grown thanks to the millions of viewers who now see him, along with Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez, as part of the three-person judging team that holds the fate of aspiring young music hopefuls in their hands. Die-hard readers of this publication should already know that on top of all that, Mr. Tyler has been an integral part of another three-man team, one that has been manufacturing high-end motorcycles since 2007.

The core team at Dirico Motorcycles USA is comprised of the rock star extraordinaire, who provides the artistic vision and design influence for the bikes; expert businessman and head honcho of AC Customs Stephen Talarico, who provides the manufacturing capabilities; and master engineer Marc Dirico, who provides the brains to make all the bikes work properly. This dynamic trio, along with the craftsmen who hand-assemble each bike, is the reason this small outfit in Manchester, New Hampshire, has been producing high-quality motorcycles like the Pro-Street Roadster you see here for almost five years running.

Having already ridden the Pro-Street and two other Dirico models on previous occasions, I decided I’d cruise up to Manchester and get some seat time on the new PS Roadster. I was told that the idea behind this new model was to make subtle-but-effective changes to the company’s Pro-Street model in an attempt to create a more versatile version of it. That explains the PS designator. In doing this, the Dirico trio have successfully created a new model that is more comfortable and rider friendly. When I look at the two models side by side, it’s easy to see that the Roadster comes with floorboards versus footpegs, has its own distinct sheet metal, and has different handlebars. Early into my initial ride, I found this combination of changes gave me more wiggle room while riding, making it a more comfortable ride for me than the Pro-Street. After skimming the spec sheet, I found more differences like the fact that this model comes with a Screamin’ Eagle 110B Twin Cam engine, a rock-solid BAKER RSD six-speed transmission with a hydraulic clutch, and a totally new Dirico right-side-drive softail-style frame.

Upon closer inspection at our lunch stop, I wasn’t surprised that the solid handling and effective stopping I felt was thanks to a 55mm Ceriani inverted front end and always reliable Performance Machine brakes and discs all around. Adding to the positive feel of the bike was the fact that the whole package rolls on 3.50-21″ front and 8.50-18″ rear Performance Machine Contrast-Cut wheels wrapped in Metzeler ME880 Marathon (120 front and 240 rear). If all that wasn’t enough to make the Roadster more rider friendly than its PS sibling, I was repeatedly told that potential buyers can get an optional, removable windshield and saddlebags to make this bike road-trip worthy.

If you look at Dirico’s brochures and marketing material, it’s hard not to miss its tag line: “Engineered to Ride, Built to Last.” More important to me is its statement that all its bikes are “Seamless, Practical, Functional, and Balanced.” I did my best to get Stephen Tyler on the phone so he could elaborate on these company convictions and find out what Dirico Motorcycles means to him. As you can imagine, I couldn’t get the front man. I’m not sure if it was simply because of American Idol red tape. I initially took it personally and wondered if it was simply the fact his people or even Tyler himself just didn’t want to talk to me, the lowly managing editor of the number one Harley-oriented magazine on the newsstand. As a side note, my mother made me feel better when she suggested that he was probably busy riding a motorcycle, enjoying the wind blowing through his feather-clad hair. My mom is an avid follower of celebrity gossip so she also added that he might be out riding JLo … or maybe Randy Jackson. I’ll never know the truth, but I like to think that if some secret Dirico American Idol model comes to market or some spy photos of a Dirico bike and JLo get published, my mom would be right once again.

The flip side of not getting a pull quote from rock royalty is that after spending a crisp autumn day riding the Roadster around New Hampshire, I did have the good fortune of sitting down for a full-access, one-on-one conversation with Marc Dirico (remember him? he’s the brains of the trio). It was during this time that it became painfully obvious to me that lots of engineering goes into each and every Dirico model. At one point, he told me (not to mention showed me) that there are CAD drawings made of each part on every model before he ever thinks about manufacturing them. A practical example of this is the Roadster you see here; it’s made up of about 160 parts, of which roughly 64 are proprietary (note that most of the other parts are right out of the good old H-D P&A catalog). Pretty amazing when you consider this bike is based on a Dirico model already in production.

After I left, Marc (he passed on joining me and the rest of the boys from the day’s ride at the bar) said two main things that resonated in my head. First, he wants to go above and beyond to make sure each bike he engineers is “dynamically balanced.” Translation: every bike he puts his name on has to be in line from the center of the engine straight through. And the second is a belief that “We just want to do a good job and build the best bikes we can, period.”

To me that explains it all. Over the years I’ve watched this company continuously tweak its models in an attempt to make things better. The beauty is that it’s a small operation, which makes putting its belief into practice relatively simple. A perfect example of this is that when I mentioned that the front end of the Roadster felt a bit heavy in slow parking lot maneuvers, Marc, without missing a beat, told me that the bike I was riding had a 36-degree rake, all of which is in the frame. He then added that he was already looking to switch it to 34 degrees in the frame and two or three in the triple trees. Miraculously, he already had a prototype frame in the fire so he could get some real world R&D on how the change would work.

At this point I should add that these guys are so confident about their product that every Dirico comes with a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty just like what you get when you buy a new Harley. And for the record, any H-D dealership should be able to service a Dirico. But that doesn’t mean it will honor the warranty. The time I’ve spent on this and every Dirico model I’ve ridden has led me to believe these bikes are on par with any production H-D, so I don’t foresee owners having many problems. I feel that all Diricos are solidly built, reliable bikes that can be ridden all day long and live up to the company’s tag line. That said, I hope to get my hands on a few models to take on a tour this summer.

For the time being, Dirico motorcycles are only 49-state compliant and probably will remain so until they become fuel-injected. I’ve been told that the company’s goal from the start has been to manufacture 400-500 bikes a year, but lately it wonders if it might have come to market too late for such a lofty goal. Last I heard, there are some deals pending in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar that might change things, so keep your eye on this company. Regardless of those deals, I’m watching these guys closely because you never know what Steven Tyler might come up with next. And, besides, I don’t wanna miss a thing. Okay, sorry, I’ll stop. AIM


Story as published in the July issue of American Iron Magazine.

Motorcycle Accident doesn’t stop Joe Perry

Aerosmith fans needn’t worry. Despite being rear-ended while on his motorcycle last week, guitarist Joe Perry is reportedly ready to keep the show on the road.

Bassist Tom Hamilton, told a Boston’s news station over the weekend that Perry’s injury won’t sideline the rest of the band.

“He’s doing good,” he said. “He’s a bit sore today, but he’s well, and we’re looking forward to heading out to the West Coast Wednesday to start doing some touring in the States.”

Perry was rear-ended by a 2001 Chevy Malibu while riding through Massachusettes on Thursday. He was treated at a nearby hospital and released hours later.

Buffalo Chip fall sent Aerosmith lead singer on right path

Steven Tyler’s notorious South Dakota stage dive last summer was not the culmination of a wild rock ’n’ roll bender – but a freak accident that scared the injury-plagued, pill-popping rocker straight, Tyler told the Herald yesterday.

Read Full Story

Dirico Motorcycle ProStreet Magazine Review

Dirico Motorcycle ProStreet

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.

Dirico Motorcycle ProStreet 2 Softail style

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