I began my motorcycle riding on the trusty ole Honda Rebel 250. I am not ashamed of this, I loved that Rebel, and after many conversations with other riders I have learned that many women (& men) started on that bike. Now as much as I enjoyed the Rebel, it didn’t take me long to outgrow it. One stressful trip onto the freeway proved that the Rebel isn’t cut out for 70mph speeds. Onto my next bike, the Suzuki GSXR 600. This bike had the speed I wanted and I paid for it dearly. I mean I literally paid for it. That wonderful black demon with pink flames landed me the biggest ticket of my life, cost me a few $hundos$, and landed me with a suspended license. It had surgical precision in corners, speed, and it was sexy – too sexy. A bike like that is for dating, not marrying, at least for what I wanted to do. Enter Pearl, her official name is The Black Pearl. Pearl is a 2016 Harley Davidson Roadster 1200.
I assume this particular model of HD is their attempt at breaking into the cafe racer style of bikes that are so popular with the hipster crowd right now. No hating on the hipsters, they know a cool thing when they see it. I originally wanted a Triumph Bonneville T120, but I made a stop into a local HD dealership (Dothan, AL) where I explained my previous bike and the Triumph I wanted to go look at (nearest dealer was Tallahassee, FL). I was greeted with a salesman who didn’t try to put me on a “girl bike” but instead listened to me and suggested HD’s model that he thought might fit what I was looking for. Now while I appreciate a good machine and the nostalgia behind the HD brand, I am not the black and orange underwear donning, shield and bar t shirt kinda gal. I love all motorcycles as you can see. The guys at the HD dealership did provide me with amazing customer service and it was love at first test ride. I bought Pearl that day.
I have since taken Pearl all across the southeast, to Ohio, and to the Catskills of NY with some other biker friends. It was on this last trip from Ohio to NY that I learned some very valuable lessons. Lesson number one: trickle chargers are always a good thing. Lesson number two: a tough woman can listen to an equally tough man and lose no cool points in the process. Lesson number three: HD’s vibrate! This third lesson was a key element in my decision to give Pearl her makeover and add another bike to my collection. Pearl treated me well, she is comfy and mechanically sound. Her really cool aftermarket exhaust & air filter however, was another story. The exhaust vibrated off the bike not once, but twice on my trip (thank God for my military preparedness habits & having tools) and my air filter was open so when the torrential rain came somewhere in NJ, my bike began to stall even with the rain sock (which looks more like a shower cap than a sock). Pearl has not been put out to pasture, no far from it. I have decided that she is going to be my trophy bike.
I have been blessed to know some really cool artisans and I absolutely love having the people I know work on my bike. They have worked on small details like my air filter design (Alabama Pines LLC), the custom heat wrap (Area 51 Customs Dothan, AL), and my revolver bar ends (B&L Machining), all which give the bike more character. It is the ingenuity and courage of regular people like this that has also inspired me to give Pearl this makeover. Sure I liked her when she was stock, having just left the showroom floor, but making her my own is going to be an exciting process. Here she is all dirty from her last trip and ready for her makeover…