‘The rider could only watch in high speed slow motion as the steel rail slipped off the top of the pick-up truck in critically fast traffic mid-way down 1-75’s death hill overlooking Cincinnati, he always loved this stretch of adventurous highway. It was as close to an apocalyptic survival race as one can get short of putting an Obama 2012 The New Hope bumper sticker on the ski rack of your VW Jetta wagon in Texas.
The rider had so many great tales of chance and romance on that stretch of blood covered highway that he felt a fondness with it like a gunfighter has for their callus. The adventure level struck a whole new level when the eight foot piece of pig iron train track bounced onto the asphalt, the sparking and the chaos of skidding cars brought up a flavor the rider was sure he wasn’t going to be fond of. He had tasted his own blood before and it was an acquired taste he did not fancy.
The white BMW sedan in front of him driven by the big haired blonde lady did not have the reaction speed nor ability to miss the dull grey missile and it took advantage of her shocked expression as it ripped the exhaust system from her fine piece of machinery and catapulted it right into the path of the vulnerable rider and capable FXRP. The rider stood up on the floorboards like a steeplechaser jumper, clenched his teeth and set his jaw in preparation for the impact. The rider noted that even though it was happening in slow motion, the actual impact with the steel rail and entire exhaust system from the BMW took less time than it takes for Windows 7 to crash, in as much as he would have loved to have surfed out the collision in high flying fine Hollywood form, the rider felt more like a rag doll being tossed in a fire.
Within seconds the bike had landed, the rider quickly lept off along the side of the Interstate along with thirty other impacted vehicles, flung off his full face and stared astounded at the idling FXRP before him with nary a scratch. Mocking, it purred “is that all you got? Get on adventure guy, I’ll show you a good time.”…in the corner of the rider’s eye, he caught a glimpse of the tall blonde in the short white dress slam the door of the now louder BMW and speed off; the FXRP questioned, “If not now, when?”
I know my friends think I am always starting over, I know they have schemed, formed a coalition and are planning an intervention to help save me from myself. I know from the outside it looks like I am always re-inventing the wheel and changing my mind, it must look chaotic from where you are standing. Meh, maybe it is, or just maybe I am a human being with complex beliefs toward a singular goal trying to make it on a planet that seems to be rocking off its axis while my alleged peers are partying like…like beer will quit being crafted if they don’t drink as much PBR as they can in as little time as they can ( PBR really? Hint: beer supposed to taste good,) while they are living a lifestyle that looked endearing in a Dave Mann print in 1974. Heck fire yeah I’m reevaluating my belief systems and priorities on a daily basis.
So I sold the FXRP. It’s not the end of the world. I didn’t own the last one they made and yeah I created a whole blog about how great the FXR chassis is and how the FXR gets no respect considering it was part of the business plan that saved Harley Davidson as we know it today. Hell yeah I took an ex-police bike that had been ravaged by years of “bikers” trying to take it further and further from the philosophy it was created on…and I saved it from the life of bad chrome jobs and forward controls, from the life of “live to ride “ emblems and being ridden by people who didn’t own their own philosophy but were intolerant of those who did. I changed all of that for that beautiful motorcycle, I made it better, I gave it back it’s armor and strength so it could show me what I was so misinformed about when FXR’s were walking…ruling the planet.
I became the voice which challenged all modern adventure bikes and sport standards to compare their modern bikes to my 21 year old motorcycle to. I will go so far to state that the FXR was a natural successor in the Harley Davidson lineage…heritage and that the Softail stole that title from it unearned. I will state that the FXR had more in common with the early rigid framed FL’s as far as function goes than the FX’s of the seventies did. (Oh I know this is going to uproar a huge response, but I am not talking about physical characteristics, I’m talking about function of the bike itself in the environment it travels.) My FXRP taught me about motorcycle engineering philosophy, the AMF buy out, and about adjusting my own priorities and philosophy.
I rode the FXRP in all weather and on all terrains and it excelled in all environments and at all times better than any modern specialized bike would have. It caused me to question my past theories about the FXR and the people and motorcycle press who helped shape my theories, who, like I, did not give FXR chassis a fair chance based on an aesthetic bias and the philosophy that change was not just wrong but immoral. In the past I could not see how Harley Davidson could use their customer base loyalty as equity to market the FXR and in the same breath I become angry that they marketed the customer’s loyalty as a lifestyle. I couldn’t see the soul of the FXR for the PBR can filled trees. But I’m not that way anymore.
So now I have to replace the FXRP when I get the past the legal wranglings of building a new house and new barn…so I can always buy another one…hell FN No. No I sold it for political reasons and it will stay gone for the same reasons. I had come to point in my life when my employment warranted me enough financial security to improve the living arrangements for my large family but unfortunately I learned way too much about why the housing industry wrecked the economy in 2008, Contractors who did not understand the sanctity of a contract and American workers with a feeling of entitlement. It caused me to reevaluate the problems America’s manufacturing and Industry has to repair and rebuild America’s once greatest strength. My loss of the greatest motorcycle Harley Davidson could build for all the right reasons will be fuel for my future motorcycle philosophies.
So I will need another bike in a few months, I know what I want and I have started to collect parts for it. It will probably surprise most of you. Stay tuned same Bat time; same Bat place for further details of my next bike that will not tolerate intolerance!
John “Flynch” Thompson