AFTER SELLING my 2004 Fat Boy, and regretting it daily for almost a year, my wife finally said I had become unbearable and I should look for another bike. I seized the opportunity!
Determined it should be another ‘Fatty,’ the search was on. I thought a good place to start was a second-hand model to save some dollars for the mandatory add-ons or improvements!
After tracking one down in the big smoke, I attempted to do a deal over the phone. Got the normal response from the bloke: “I’ll get back to you after talking to the Sales Manager.” Perhaps the Sales Manager was busy as I didn’t hear from him despite the two or three follow up messages I left.
Only one answer — two airline tickets to Sydney (the extra one for my wife) so the Fatty wasn’t sold from under me.
When we got to the dealership, I was met by a very pleasant sales lady who was taking me to the prize when the original sales bloke gets me on the mobile. As I answer it (in the showroom), I see him, and he sees me. When I suggested that I was ‘being looked after, thanks’ and reminded him of my unanswered messages, a brawl started between him and her.
I know when to walk away.
A few minutes later, the Sales Manager came to collect my wife and I from the leather department. He had taken over, and because of what we had gone through, offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse.
In the meantime, my wife had teamed up with the sales lady and found the Heritage Softail Classic you see here. Determined to replace the Fatty, I initially shrugged it off. However, sitting on the Heritage, I had a re-think and was sold.
The Heritage is a great valued bike. As someone said, ‘You get the Fat Boy with a hell of a lot more at no cost.’ That’s true. So often the bags have been useful — there is added flexibility to where and when you go on a trip — and the comfort I reckon eats the Fatty!
The Classic handles extended overnight trips with ease. Okay, you have to be a bit careful not to challenge the curves too much. However, the odd time I was guilty of overdoing it a little, the bike was most forgiving. I put down the excellent tracking to the sensible rear boot size.
I haven’t done much to the Heritage Softail Classic, apart from the paint, the S&S pipes, and the heated grips which are priceless if you suffer from numb hands or cold fingers!
Now for the paint.
I made a promise that it would be my last birthday present until I perished which was readily agreed to! On the way home, I thought it’s good to make your ride personal, make it your own. As I was born in October, and am into planets and stars, and it was going to be the ultimate ‘family’ birthday gift, the bike had to become ‘The Scorpion.’ Personally, and with respect, I think there are too many skulls and crosses out there. I was after something classy, independent and that wouldn’t age.
Where to go?
I had a yarn with Stuart Vimpani of Ultimate Airbrush. He’s not far from home, a real gentleman, and was genuinely interested in the project. The final plan took more than a month to finalise. I researched the planet group associated with my star sign — the ones you see on the bike — and went as far as working out the moon’s quarter on the day I was born, at the same time comparing notes with Stuart on paint schemes and general ideas. His genius shows.
The story starts at the front and ends at the rear with the simple word ‘Scorpion.’ Around 390 million years old, the Scorpion developed from being an animal of the sea (up to 3 metres in length) to Terra Firma; adapting to its environment magnificently with few design changes on the way.
Stuart’s artwork follows the history, as well as highlighting the galaxy of stars and planets that override the sign.
It’s justice that anthropologists call the scorpion ‘the classic survivor’ having been at arms for centuries with creatures from the deep then upon land, and survived the journey handsomely.
Photos by Colin Cooksey; words by Geoffrey Beveridge, Barrister.