Dar Holdsworth – Darwin Motorcycles Interview

March 25, 2011
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Bobby Rahal n Dar Holdsworth
Dar Holdsworth (right) stands with Bobby Rahal in front of Holdsworth’s Brawler GT, the motorcycle that earned ‘Second Place’ in the Production Manufacturer class last year at the AMD Sturgis show. Holdsworth is collaborating with Rahal on a project called RLX Tour for the Cure which aims to raise money for research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Brawler GT

We caught up with the creative force behind Darwin Motorcycles, the multi-talented Dar Holdsworth, during Bike Week at the Biker Fusion benefit for Soldiers Angels. Being a Desert Storm veteran, it was no surprise Holdsworth was there supporting the cause. His talents earned him “Second Place” in the Production Manufacturer class at the 2010 AMD World Championships in Sturgis for his Brawler GT, a wicked muscle bike with an S&S 124 cubic-inch engine, Baker FLT transmission, custom carbon fiber side panels and plenty of other custom work like a cool cut-out tank and racing hump on the tail section. He also made the official 2011 Bike Week raffle bike based on his 69 Chopper.

Motorcycle USA: How are things going with Brass Balls Bobbers and Choppers?

Dar: Things are going good. Thanks for asking.

We know you built the official Bike Week raffle bike. How did that all come about?

It’s interesting, actually. American Iron’s Chris Maida test rode one of our bikes in Sturgis a couple of years ago.

You let him ride one of your bikes? What were you thinking? 

Yeah, I know. So when Daytona came around, Chris had another builder whose bike he was going to ride and that builder pulled out. So he asked me, “Do you have something I can ride?” and I had the ’69 Chopper which was new at the time. So I said take it out and enjoy it. I brought it down here, he rode it for a week and said “Man, I love this bike, would you build it for Daytona next year in a softail version?” I agreed, we worked out the logistics and I got it built.

You shared with us that you’re also building a raffle bike for the troops. What can you tell us about that bike? 

The bike we call the RLX. Essentially we approached Bobby Rahal’s Race Team which is Rahal/Letterman Racing and said ,“We want to build for you the great American muscle bike that pays tribute to your racing career and your race team. We don’t want a cent from you, but we want to co-brand and market with you. Every place that you are, we want to

RLX Tour for the Cure - Darwin Motorcycles
The RLX, an American muscle bike that will be both a raffle bike and production prototype, begins to take shape.

be there. If you’re on the SPEED Channel, we want to be there, if you’re at the races, we want to be there and we want to use that exposure to help draw attention to the fact that we want to raffle this bike off to support the troops.”

Bobby agreed, it’s been a great partnership, and so we’re building this American muscle bike. We revealed it for the first time here in Daytona and next week we’ll be at Sebring with the race team. Then we’re going to go around the country to various events – bike events, car events. We’re going to be at the Indy 500 with the bike where Bobby Rahal and David Letterman are going to sign it, then we’re trying to see if we can get a pace lap done with the bike at the Indy 500 which will be very cool. Raffle tickets will be on sale through December 24 and at the end of the year we’re going to draw someone’s name.

Where can somebody get a raffle ticket? Can they go to your site?

The website is rlxtourforthecure.com (RLX Tour for the Cure aims to raise money for the research of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, conditions that affect many combat soldiers.)

We know you’re a patriotic guy and fairly philanthropic too, so how does it make you feel to be doing something to benefit our troops?

You know, I’m a vet, my dad was a vet, my grandfather was a vet so it’s just natural to give back. It pulls on my heart strings. I do a bike every year to support the troops but each year I’ve done a bike for different charities, those charities have not been as into it as I’ve been. The charities that I’m working with now, Pros4Vets and SteelAnchor.org are both

Brass Balls 69 Chopper
Darwin Motorcycles 69 Chopper served as the template for the official 2011 Bike Week raffle bike.

really into it, so it’s really satisfying that there’s a good coalition of forces working together. SteelAnchor’s main focus is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder so that’s where their funds are earmarked for. Pros4Vets likewise is working to help Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but also other things. They provide legal services to help vets who may need it when they get home or just to help them get the benefits that they have coming to them when they might not know how to go about doing it. They do other things, too, like recruiting professional athletes, professional musicians and so forth to help raise awareness and raise money to support the troops.

So you said you were out at the track today doing a little something with Pegram, right?

Larry Pegram is one of our pros for Pros4Vets and he was out testing today, qualifying, so we did a video of him. Each one of the pros that we have, we try to get them on video which are on the Pros4Vets website at Pros4Vets.org. So Bobby Rahal, we’re doing a video with him next week. We’ve got Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. We’ve got Toby Keith, Barry Switzer , some big-time pros and we get each of them to give a video testimonial about how they feel about supporting the troops and how we, as a country, should be supporting the troops. Those videos are very moving and powerful and help call the public to action. So that’s what I was doing today with Larry.

Are you working on anything for the AMD’s this year?

This bike that I’m doing with Bobby Rahal, that’s going to be my entry into the AMD show. Because even though it’s a promotional bike, it also serves as a production prototype and we’re going to do a limited production run of 25 of these bikes.

It looks like its got some café racer lines.

Given that it’s an American bike using an American powerplant, it doesn’t have the ideal geometry of a race bike or a café racer but it’s inspired by café racers and it’s inspired by sportbikes. Because it’s a little bit larger we’re just

Harley and Dar
Honest, talented, hard-working, patriotic – Dar Holdsworth possesses a long list of admirable traits and was a pleasure to talk to at the Biker Fusion benefit for Soldier’s Angels.

calling it an American muscle bike. 

We’re a big fan of the Brawler GT and was going to ask how you were going to top that but we can see apparently you’re well on your way to at least match that bike if not up it one.

You know, the Brawler GT is a great all-around bike. It’s my favorite bike of all the bikes we do because I could ride it to Sturgis or I could take it to a track day. I mean, it does everything. This new bike is not going to be, I mean you could ride it to Sturgis, but you’re in so much of a prone position in comparison to the Brawler. But from a performance standpoint, this by far it will top it.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

There are three favorite parts of my job. Designing the bikes because my wheels are always moving. I mean, I’m already thinking of what I’m going to do next. Delivering a bike to a customer. There’s just nothing like seeing that initial expression. And then being able to do it with my family.

What’s your least favorite part?

All the logistics of pulling it together and doing it for next to nothing.