Fairless Flyer Named Myrna

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Gene Slater

Originally Published In The May 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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So how does one of the most notorious custom builder/ fabricators of the modern Big Twin motorcycle come to doing the deal on a 500cc Royal Enfield? Well, it’s simple enough – he was challenged to do it. Rick Fairless is the builder I’m talking about and his shop, Strokers Dallas, was an Enfield dealer for a long time but had discontinued the line for a lack of sales. It seemed that people in America just didn’t like a bike that had to be kick started all the time. Once they integrated the electric starter, Rick took them back on and people have been diggin’ these bikes. The challenge for a custom came up just about 3 months before the IMS show in Dallas. The guys at R.E. wanted to see if he could do a custom on their chassis, and of course Rick told them that he’d not only do that but he’d build the coolest Enfield on the planet. Traditionally, Rick’s bikes have a very unmistakable look so right off the bat you are probably wondering why this one doesn’t carry his signature psychedelic paint. As he sat down to plan what he wanted this bike to be, he knew it had to stand out but in a different way than he has done with Big Twins. For this bike, he wanted to see a more traditional flat track inspired machine. Since Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle manufacturer with roots all the way back to 1901, Rick wanted to pay tribute to that timelessness of their design. There were several factors that he would have to overcome. Since it’s a light chassis, there would be very few components on the market that would translate over. The frontend was the start of that since he wanted a Springer but nothing too bulky. Vince would end up making one from scratch to Rick’s spec. The fuel tank was another place that he’d have to be crafty on this build. To use a different tank they would have to relocate the fuel injection. After reading online and asking around only to find out that no one had done this successfully, they were stuck. That was until Rick and Derek Tollenaar decided to trick the fuel injection unit into thinking it was still in the gas tank. They simply took a container of cleaning solvent and submersed the unit in it and relocated it under the seat. Rick said that he figured it would work since the fuel injection pump doesn’t know where it is, it just needs to know it’s in liquid somewhere.

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When it came to mounting, these guys did an amazing job with some killer little handmade mounts that are as much about form as they are function. There would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred pounds of unwanted parts that would have to be removed from the bike to get down to the basics of where Fairless would start to work his magic. With only three months to get this tall order together, he’d have to work fast and make good decisions. Instead of going with the same 17 inch wheels that come on it, Rick would swap them out for 21/140s and give the bike a tall, skinny stance. It also lends itself to changing the rider position to that of a more low slung perspective. Other handmade parts like the fender struts and taillight went a long way towards making the project into a Fairless original as well. All the little details like the tasty little foot controls, the screened in oil tanks and tracker style bars really bring the design together. Even the way he mounted the fender with the traditional looking loop over it from the struts keeps that unmistakable styling from t h e Enfield era. Planning was a key element here since a little too much in any spot could offset the balance. The tiny Performance Machine sprocket/rotor combination went a long way to keeping the back wheel nice and clean. If there had been a big, clunky caliper deal back there it would spoil the British look and that wouldn’t work for Rick. Keeping with that same tradition, he even managed to make the throttle body look like an old Amal carb with a velocity stack sticking right out of the side of it. Rick told me that he named this bike Myrna after the TV actress Myrna Loy who played the wife on The Thin Man. She was a beautiful and funny woman and there was just something about that time period that seemed like a good fit for this build. No matter what the name is, he did achieve the goal he set out for. Right before the IMS show, one of the big wigs from Royal Enfield flew out to see the bike and agreed with Rick that he had in fact created the coolest Enfield on the planet. But how about the new Royal Enfields: all show and no go? Not on your life from this cat. He builds them to ride and wouldn’t sell anything he doesn’t believe in. Strokers recently sold one of these bikes to a customer who flew in from Houston, rode it home and then immediately took it on a three week road trip to Vermont. This guy said he went from farm road to farm road on eighty miles to a gallon and had the best trip of his life. Not too bad for a bike that just came along with the idea that an electric starter is a good idea, huh? On any Saturday or Sunday you’re bound to find 2,000 bikes just hanging out for the day. Anyone from Ross Perot, who brings in visitors from out of town, to patch holders, Strokers has become a Dallas tradition. And trust me, after knowing Rick for a good handful of years now, I can tell you it would be hard to find better people to spend time with. Rick also told me that none of this could have been done without Gene Slater, Ford Stell, Derek Tollenaar & Matt Ambroz.

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Fairless Flyer Named Myrna Tech Sheet

Owner: Rick Fairless – Strokers Dallas

City: Dallas, TX

Fabrication By: Strokers Dallas, Matt, Ford and Gene

Year: 2011

Model: C5 Bullet

Value: Plenty

TIME : 3 Months

ENGINE

Year: 2011

Model: C5

Builder: Royal Enfield – Stokers & Derek Tollenaar

Ignition: Stock Royal Enfield

Displacement: 500cc

Pistons: Stock Royal Enfield

Heads: Stock Royal Enfield

Cam(s):

Carb: Stock Royal Enfield/Relocated by Strokers

Air Cleaner: Strokers and Ford Stell

Exhaust: Strokers Dallas

Primary: Stock Royal Enfield

TRANSMISSION

Year: 2011

Make: Royal Enfield

Shifting: 5 Speed

FRAME

Year: 2011

Make: Royal Enfield

Rake: 29 Degrees

Stretch: None

FRONT END

Type: Single Springer

Builder: Strokers – Vince Doll

Extension: No

Triple Trees: Strokers Dallas

WHEELS

Front Wheel: Ride Wright

Size: 21”

Tire: Metzeler

Brakes: None

Rear Wheel: Ride Wright

Size: 21”

Tire: 140/70 x 21

Brakes: Strokers and Ford Stell

PAINT

Painter: OSC

Color: Candy Planet Green & Candy Gold

Type: HOK Candy Urethane

Chromng: Meclec

Molding: OSC

Graphics: Rick Fairless and OSC

ACCESSORIES

Bars: Flanders’ Flat Track

Risers: Strokers Dallas

Hand controls: Strokers Dallas

Gas Tank(s): Strokers Dallas

Front Fender: Nope

Rear Fender: Strokers Dallas

Seat: Strokers Dallas

Foot Controls: Strokers Dallas

Speedo: Ride Faster Than Surrounding Traffic

Headlight: Strokers Dallas

Taillight: Strokers Dallas

Oil tank: Internal by Royal Enfield

Photographer: Gene Slater

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