Moving On- 2015
Article By: Joe Mielke
Originally Published In The March 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Today is January 1, 2015, early afternoon. My wife Michelle just fixed a quick lunch for both of us. Yesterday, Dec. 31 was our 11th wedding anniversary. We went out for dinner with friends and came home early to watch a movie together. Considering it was New Year’s Eve we were asleep pretty early. Now as I sit down to write my column for this month I find myself contemplating what could have been in 2014 and what I hope there will be in 2015 For the last 10 years my life has been immersed in the motorcycle industry. I have had a lot of great opportunities and made an enormous number of friends across the country and around the world. I have been able to travel across this great country and all because of motorcycles. I’ve been part of a team that has designed and built a lot of great motorcycles and motorcycle parts. I’ve also been a part of building many motorcycles that have set numerous land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I built some of those motorcycles for my wife and daughter and they honored my work by setting several AMA National Land Speed records. All this being said, the world of motorcycles has influenced almost every part of my life for the last decade.
Over the last couple of years I’ve watched the custom motorcycle industry go through another cycle/trend just like it always has. This latest trend has gone to places it shouldn’t have gone. A good design and aesthetic have gone to perverted levels and in my opinion, some of these custom motorcycles are just cartoons. Now I’m not ignorant or naïve: I know that some things I find acceptable or that things I can or have done to a motorcycle are considered ridiculous or cartoonish by others. That is the beauty of motorcycles; there are so many options. I’m part of the industry that has fueled the current trend, and because some things go beyond what I personally would consider acceptable, I have tried to balance myself by following and fueling another trend and that is obviously the resurgence of the Harley Davidson FXR and its return to popularity.
When a person starts talking about the current FXR movement or how the FXR is “back” you have to be careful about what you say and who you are talking to. If you’re talking to someone who owned or built custom FXRs in the late eighties and early nineties you need to understand that you’re preaching to the choir. They’ll be the first to tell you that the FXR has always been the best motorcycle the factory ever built and that the FXR never went away. On the flip side you’ve got the new generation of FXR enthusiasts who may only know the FXR as the Harley Wheelie machine. A year or two ago some of them would have told you that FXR and a DYNA are the same thing. Heck, at the 2014 Sturgis FXR show I had a young guy ride his DYNA into the FXR show and park it in line with a whole host of FXRs. Mind you this young man was in Sturgis working for a company that has a name in the motorcycle industry you would recognize. So one would assume he would or should know the difference. But when I told this young man he wasn’t able to leave his motorcycle in the FXR show and that he would have to park his DYNA outside of the show with the rest of the non FXRs he looked at me like I had a third eye. But that is Ok and here is why. The reason I’ve have been promoting the FXR show and sharing people’s enthusiasm about the FXR is the same reason I think this young man wanted his DYNA in the show. It’s because the trend with the FXR and DYNA has been to build functional and performance driven custom motorcycles. In the early nineties builders like Smith, Ness, Hotop, Westbrook and others used the FXR as a platform to build some great custom motorcycles. Once again there was excitement among garage (builders) and big name builders alike to embrace the FXR/DYNA movement.
Since I’ve been promoting the FXR show and writing the FXR Spotlight I from time to time get called upon as some sort of authority on FXRs: sometimes by people I don’t know other than through social media and sometimes by friends in the industry that I know pretty well. Even though I’m not an absolute authority I can understand why people may look to me when they have an FXR related question or if they are looking for a project bike or a missing part. Many times I’ve been able to connect the dots and get them the info they needed or I have been able to point them in the right direction. I’m also very fortunate to have met and know a great many people who have plenty of knowledge to share. I am more than happy to continue connecting the dots and help likeminded motorcycle enthusiasts meet one another. It’s a good thing and probably what I’ve enjoyed the most about motorcycles over the last couple of years. So I’m very excited for 2015 and what the custom FXR trend will bring. The FXR Show will be present at this year’s Donnie Smith Invitational Bike Show in St.Paul MN on March 28th-29th. There will be some local custom FXRs from the Midwest on display. I’ll have 2015 show information, stickers, t-shirts and more. I plan to attend the Mama Tried show in Milwaukee in February and urge you to attend as well. It’s a great motorcycle show. If I get my New Year’s Wish, I’ll get to Born Free in 2015. And of course there will be the 3rd Annual Sturgis FXR Show held at Sturgis City Park on the first Sunday of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Races.
I get messages almost daily through social media from somebody who is starting an FXR project or working on bringing their old FXR out of mothballs for this year’s show. Keep ‘em coming!!! Plans are already being made for this year’s show. A few new event sponsors are already on board and many have and will return from last year. I hear rumblings from East Coast and West Coast FXR groups making plans to meet up in Sturgis this year and make the FXR Show one of their must see destinations. I’m very excited to work with the Sturgis Rally office to be your host. If you are on Facebook be sure to follow or join FXR Friday, FXR’s of California, FXR Power Crew, The FXR Page and others to get on board. If you are on Instagram follow @fxrshow_fxrfriday, @ fxrsofig, @fxrofcalidynapage, #fxrfriday, #fxrshow, #fxrnation to stay in the loop.
Thank you to all of the FXR owners who worked with me on all of the 2014 spotlights. If you want to share your FXR story with the spotlight in 2015 feel free to contact me via email at mielke@mit. midco.net or find me on Facebook (Joe Mielke, FXR Friday) or on Instagram (@ Sodakbigjoe, @fxrshow_fxrfriday) Cheers to 2015!