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One for the Road: And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for

By Shadow

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You may have read my column last month where I wrote about the throttle sticking open on my FLD. What I didn’t mention was the discussion I had with Ken Puzio of Black Hills Custom Parts just after the latest occurrence of the malfunction. I called him to describe what happened, and he commented on how dramatic my bikes’ problems always seemed to be. He quipped, “Too bad there isn’t an Oscar for motorcycles.”

Well, that got me thinking. The Academy Awards were coming up in February, and although some of the winning films, like Mad Max: Fury Road, did include motorcycles in their action sequences, there weren’t any categories for the motorcycles themselves. Same with the Golden Raspberry Awards, i.e., the Razzies: Fantastic Four featured a two-wheeler. Even motorcycle film festivals announce awards only for the films themselves. I think it’s really cool that motorcycle film festivals have sprung up on both the East and West coasts, but alas, even in this rarified world of motorcycle films, there are no awards for the bikes themselves.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s fabulous that today’s motorcycle films and filmmakers are finally getting their due, but what about the motorcycles themselves? Where’s the recognition for our faithful companions, always (we hope) ready to accompany us on adventures at the click of the starter… or stomp of the kicker. They deserve some acknowledgment and, yes, love, too.

So I decided to come up with my own competition. First I’ll create the awards body, which I’ll call the Academy of Motorcycle Movies. Like most other awards organizations, and because people like nicknames, I’ve come up with something short, catchy and easy to remember. I’m calling these awards the Hoggies.

Since this is the first year for the Hoggies, the number of categories will be rather limited. Besides, I haven’t yet opened the awards to the public, so this year, only my own motorcycles will be eligible. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, and since this is a new concept, I’ll explain why I’ve entered those particular bikes in each category:

Best Drama:

• Lucille, my 2012 FLD formerly known as the Road Queen. Her name changed partly because the name Road Queen is rather pedestrian as well as terribly overused, but mostly because I learned that she is a fiery red, hot-tempered beast. But I digress. She has been nominated because she scared the crap out of me the first time her throttle stuck wide open.

• Ruby, my 2000 XLH, who caused no small amount of damage when she allowed one of her piston circlips to let loose. This resulted in a fishing expedition in the lower end sump and, of course, a top-end rebuild, complete with mismatched cylinders.

• Black Beauty, my 2000 FXD, for the chunks of metal that came out with the oil when draining the crankcase for a simple (so I thought) oil change

Best Soundtrack:

• Lucille: The sound of the wide-open throttle that I couldn’t get unstuck probably woke up the entire neighborhood. Maybe my neighbors should each get a vote, too.

• Ruby, who caused quite a racket when the above-mentioned piston circlip let loose and caused the piston to bang horribly and loudly against the cylinder wall

• Black Beauty could not be entered into this category because the sound of silence from a dysfunctional regulator not allowing her to start doesn’t qualify

Best Special Effects:

• Ruby, for oil spewing out of various orifices, including her air cleaner, pushrods and oil pressure gauge. As an added bonus, encore performances occur regularly.

• Lucille for that time she shot out of the hole like a rocket just after her new Red Shift cams had been installed, prompting the local police to pull us over just as quickly

• Black Beauty for her exhaust-pipe wrap shredding and unrolling pieces of itself and flapping in the wind, causing her to resemble an Egyptian mummy on the run

Best Set Design:

• Lucille after she’d sunk in a few inches of mud on a West Virginia farm. I’ve never seen her so filthy.

• Black Beauty, when I dropped her on her side in my driveway and then the snow began to fall, leaving a coat of virginal white on her sad, prone carcass

• Ruby after I got her stuck in between the door jambs while trying to maneuver her into the lower level of my house. Yes, there are rednecks in New Jersey.

Best Costume Design:

• Black Beauty: She’s a vision in black, done well before the Dark Custom trend appeared. Not much in the way of frills, but you know she’s all business. And fast. Very fast.

• Lucille: She’s gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. Call me superficial, but I still love the way she looks. Classic yet modern. She tears at my heart a little every time I sneak a glance in her direction.

• Ruby: Her frame and body are bone stock, unadorned, naked, just like God and Willie G. intended

The winners haven’t been announced yet, and I’m sure more categories will come to mind as the Hoggies catch on and the field of contenders widens. Now, wouldn’t you like a Hoggie on your mantel?

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