Article By: Joe Meilke
Photos By: Darrell Jones
Originally Published In The August 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
A few months back I put out the call to FXR riders and Cycle Source readers to help me keep the FXR Spotlight alive. I received several emails from readers who didn’t want the column to die. Thankfully most of them were FXR owners who submitted some photos and a couple of them provided me with their FXR story. Last month’s submission came to us from Arkansas and this month’s comes from Long Island NY. I’ve had the opportunity to visit NY twice. I was in Manhattan once and then in Brooklyn once and on neither visit did I get the chance to ride in NYC. However, I did notice right away how motorcycle riders kept their motorcycles tidy. They are pretty no nonsense for big city riding. They keep them clean, tight and built to cut through traffic. This month’s spotlight is no exception and I’d like to share these words direct from the owner. So here we go! “Hey Joe, my name is Darrell Jones from Brooklyn New York now living in Freeport Long Island New York. There is A no way in hell I could let this cool FXR Spotlight die, so here is my 2 cents. I was baptized into this relationship between man and machine with a 1996 Harley Davidson 1200C. I enjoyed the 1200 for a couple of years until I had a motorcycle accident. My next set of wheels was a custom softail build; it was cool but lacked the feel of performance I was looking for. One day I was out chilling with my friends. As we ripped thru Staten Island back to Brooklyn one of my boys kept chewing my ass about how I lugged behind his 2007 Dyna Street Bob.
I knew I had to get a motorcycle that could keep up with all my friends and boogie thru New York traffic. After I moved to Freeport I began looking for a better performing motorcycle. I began my search via YouTube and motorcycle forums. The Harley Davidson FXR began to peek my interest, the old-timers raved about them. I stumbled across a Motorcycle shop called Long Island Choppers owned by Dave and John. These are two old school dudes that live and breathe motorcycles. Next obstacle was the money; my oldest son was nearing high school graduation so you know what that means. I had to make my next motorcycle my last one for a while. I asked Dave to find me the last Motorcycle I would have and it had to be an FXR. On my way to pick up my car that was towed after a bad New York snowstorm, good old Dave brightened up my day. “Hey Darrell I found you an FXR, 1987 with a sweet custom paint job.” By the way, I’m a sucker for flames. I didn’t even haggle on price. “Dave, make that mine!” was my next words even without seeing it. Man, so after a snowstorm I score a FXR? Thank you Jesus. It was clean for a 1987 FXR, stock 80 Evo, wide glide front, paint job, old school saddle bags and spoke wheels. I didn’t want to ride it till I made it mine truly. For the next couple months Long Island Choppers went to work- ev27 cams, upgrade pushrods, Mikuni Carb, Wheels, PM calipers, Thunderheaders exhaust, Biltwell Murdock 12inch risers, lights and some more upgrades. Now, after I finally got it home it had brought me joy.
Man I can’t tell you enough about how it feels to rip thru Long Island to the beach and wherever the road takes me. The pleasure I get from riding the FXR (which I call “Sweet Bitch” that’s named after my lady’s favorite red wine) is crazy. If it’s not some old dudes telling me “That’s a real motorcycle!” it’s the feeling I get cutting thru traffic on my 30-mile commute home from work. I love this motorcycle even after a bad day the feeling of hitting 6th gear (yeah another upgrade) feels like I’m coasting. It’s mind-blowing. I want to express my love for Harley Davidson’s best motorcycle ever, the FXR. Keep the FXR Spotlight alive Joe. What is greater than the road and man’s relationship with machine? Here are some pictures for the column.” In the same way that Darrell’s FXR is clean and purpose built his story is pretty cut and dry as well. I think most FXR riders would agree that the FXR’s perfection lies in its simplicity. The motorcycle was built to perform, period.
For myself as a designer and fabricator I strive to do more with less. Anyone who is a designer of anything has to know who Dieter Rams is. If you design or fabricate anything and you do not know who Dieter Rams is I urge you to get on your google machine or heaven forbid go to the library and look him up. Any designer worth his/her salt knows Dieter and his 10 principles for good design. I’d bet anything the members of the Harley design team that designed the FXR took Dieter’s principles into account when they were at the drawing board. To whet your appetite for knowledge I will share Principle #6 with you. Good design is Honest – It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept. That’s good stuff right there! I certainly didn’t expect this to become an Industrial Design lesson but none the less from my point of view the subject matter does lend itself. I thank Darrell for taking the time to write to me and sharing his FXR Story and providing me with the opportunity to continue to keep the FXR Spotlight burning. If you would like to see your FXR and story in a future issue feel free to contact me via email at joe@fxrshow. com