by Dave Nichols 3 min read
The following article was recently published in Born To Ride magazine and tells the tale of the ultimate Christmas Bonus! Hot on the heels of his success at creating one-of-a-kind custom baggers at Dirty Bird Concepts in Phoenix, Arizona, motorcycle mastermind John Shope came up with the next great idea: the Dirtytail. These Softail-based customs not only look incredible, they do the one thing that no stock Softail has ever done, namely, offer decent handling. "These bikes are something I’m very proud of,” John says. “They are comfortable and handle really well.”
The Dirtytails can convert the entire Softail line, From Evos to M-8’s, into the motorcycle of your dreams. And they can be designed in a variety of looks, from lowriders that are a nod to the Cholo bikes seen in East L.A., to pavement pounding racers, to wide tire moto-mavericks, even to old school chop jobs with panhead covers and spoked wheels. All marry the love of Shovelhead FLH bikes that included rear shocks rather than a Softail swingarm for a low, lean look. And did we mention they ride and handle great? With over a million Softails on the road today, John Shope has the answer for turning your tired stocker into a head-turning temptress. Any Softail can become a Dirtytail.
The bike you are drooling at here was the very first Evo-powered Dirtytail that John built. But there’s more to this story. Y’see, John has an employee who has consistently gone above and beyond to help John and the company to flourish.
Rob Martinez has been with John for over eight years, and chances are, if you’ve called Dirty Bird Concepts, Rob is the guy who answered the phone and got you handled. Anyway, Rob bought a 1999 Harley Heritage Softail with just 5,000 miles on the clock with the hopes of turning it into a Dirtytail someday. He even had a photo of a candy apple red paintjob that he was dreaming about.
Rob bragged that he would have the stock Softail converted into a Dirtytail in just two months. Shope said it would take at least a year. “I told him that bike would look exactly the same a year later,” John recalls. “Six months later, Rob hadn’t done shit to it and I called him on it. He said that he would have the bike finished as soon as he got back from vacation.”
That’s when John Shope formed a plan to give his employee the world’s best Christmas Bonus. While Rob was away on vacation, John and the crew went over to Rob’s apartment and loaded up the stock Heritage right out of the parking lot. The would-be repo men took the scooter to the shop and tore it down. One look at the old Evo made John think of a name for it, “Rob’s Rusty Roach.”
The Dirty Bird team had six weeks to turn the sow’s ear into a gold purse. They even toyed with the idea of presenting Rob with a fake bill for fifteen grand as payback for all their hard work. The Softail swingarm was exchanged for a Dirtytail unit with rear shocks and air ride. The neck was cut to accept a Dirtytail 26-inch neck and raked triple trees for better handling. Meanwhile, Dirty Bird’s paint wizard, Manny, created a mindblowing candy apple red paint scheme with badass graphics for the tanks, fenders and nacelle.
Guy’s Upholstery handled the sweet solo seat and the wild wheels came from SMT including that 26-incher up front. John went for an open beltdrive and upswept dual fishtail pipes for killer old school looks and internally wired apehangers to give the Dirtytail even more attitude.
When Rob got back from his vacation, John had him come straight to the shop from the airport. The world’s best boss was standing right next to the Evo Dirtytail and the conversation went like this:
John – “That’s your bike.”
Rob – “No, it’s not.”
John – “Dude, that is your bike!”
Rob – “No, it’s not! No way!”
John – “That’s your Christmas Bonus.”
Rob – “For real?”
For real, Rob. That’s what happens when you have the world’s best boss. To
see the entire video of how this Dirtytail came to be, check out https://youtu.be/L3jxGeBPjuA. For info on John Shope’s parts, products, swag and custom bikes, visit www.dirtybirdconcepts.com or call 623-465-5263. And watch John play the bad guy in the new biker film “Rough Boys”, coming next year. Now if we can just install a Steel Horse Audio ST600 Platinum speaker system on this bad boy, we’d have the perfect ride!
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