Dirico Motorcycles’ Steve Talarico (second from left), Mark Dirico (right) and Steven Tyler (seated) are proving to be big-hearted guys. Their company has taken up several charitable causes recently, including donating and building the official Sturgis Rally Raffle Bike with proceeds going to the Volunteer Sturgis Fire Dept., as well as building another raffle bike for the Boston Red Sox Home Base Program.
What Dirico Motorcycles lacks in size, it makes up for in heart. When the small motorcycle manufacturer out of Manchester, New Hampshire, heard the theme of this year’s Sturgis Rally is “In Memory of 9/11,” it didn’t hesitate to step up and donate a bike for the cause. Likewise, when it learned it could help out veterans struggling with stress disorders and depression through the Red Sox Foundation’s Home Base Program, Dirico again offered to build a raffle bike to help raise money for the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. Likewise, the Elliot Hospital, founded in 1890 as the original hospital in Manchester, NH, is also a beneficiary of Dirico’s benevolence via a retro-themed motorcycle that will play an integral role in the hospital’s River’s Edge fundraiser.
The “In Memory of 9/11” theme chosen by the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce struck a chord within Dirico’s Steve Talarico. Like many, Talarico had close family members who were directly affected by the terrorist attacks. Believe it or not, we’re quickly approaching the tenth anniversary of that fateful day, yet many seem to have shoved memories of the attack into the back of their minds. Tell that to the men and women still over in Afghanistan and Iraq who are fighting to ensure it doesn’t happen again. But the minds behind Dirico Motorcycles realize we should never forget and are showing their support for the theme behind this year’s Sturgis Rally with their contribution.
This is the third year in a row that Dirico will build the official Sturgis Rally Raffle Bike. The motorcycle is being fully donated and proceeds raised will benefit the Volunteer Sturgis Fire Department and other local charities. Dirico anticipates the raffle to generate approximately $45-50,000 for Sturgis charities.
Here are some of the first pictures of the official Sturgis Rally Raffle Bike. Of course the bike had to be fire engine red. Aerosmith front man and part owner of Dirico Motorcycles, Steven Tyler, signed the air cleaner cover.
“When I talked to Mark about doing another bike this year in memory of 9/11 he immediately came up with a concept for a Volunteer Sturgis Fire Department bike. That was the way to go as far as I was concerned. When I called Sturgis back and told them what we would do, they went crazy with the idea and this thing just started happening really fast,” Talarico said.
A Wikipedia post claims that 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority were among the 2752 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Mark Dirico wanted to pay tribute to these brave first responders so he set out to design a motorcycle with a fire truck theme. It’s built around a retro frame from a Dirico motorcycle mated to an FL front end and a Softail rear. The Sturgis Rally Raffle Bike has wide, beach cruiser-style handlebars, floorboards and highway bars. Dirico threw on auxiliary lights because there’s no shortage of flashing lights on fire engines. Of course, the motorcycle is painted fire engine red touched off by gold leaf trim except for the saddlebags, which are white. A Sturgis Fire Dept. emblem adorns the tank and commemorative Sturgis Rally logos decorate the tops of the saddlebags. The round air cleaner has been signed by Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, who happens to be the third partner in Dirico Motorcycles. The Sturgis Rally Raffle Bike will be unveiled at the Sturgis Road Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this weekend at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame area.
Dirico’s strategy to attract attention to the raffle bike include displaying it on 3rd and Main Streets next to the Loud American Roadhouse in downtown Sturgis and surrounding it by some of the prettiest girls in New England. It will be the only bike baring the official Sturgis Motorcycle Rally logo. Raffle tickets are $100 and only 999 tickets will be sold. They can be purchased online at www.sturgisrallyraffle.com after April 15, 2011 and will also be on sale at the Dirico display on 3rd and Main Streets or at the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. The raffle will be held on Aug. 13, 2011, at 8 p.m. at the Loud American Roadhouse.
Mark has already completed the Sturgis Rally Raffle Bike, so now he can turn his attention to the motorcycle Dirico is building for the Boston Red Sox and its Home Base Program. After seeing the bike they built for the Boston Bruins, the Home Base people contacted Dirico about building a motorcycle for their organization as well. The initial plans were to build a retro-style motorcycle to be used as a raffle bike to help a program initiated by Home Base and Massachusetts General Hospital that aims to help vets of any war who are without insurance but need physiological or psychological attention. The concept has blossomed into a major event, with plans for vets to ride in from five military bases from throughout the Northeast to Manchester Harley-Davidson for a big celebration. Talarico said it will be a rally-like atmosphere with food, celebrity appearances and “some unbelievable music,” but he couldn’t drop the name of the celebrity band just yet. The Home Base Program motorcycle will be raffled off at the event in a celebration that aims to give something positive back to people who have served our country.
The 2011 Dirico Heartbreaker gives ladies the choice on various seats, engine sizes and brake options.
The final philanthropic project will benefit Manchester’s Elliot Hospital. The River’s Edge is a new 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility the hospital built on the river. The president of the Elliot Hospital contacted Talarico about donating a Harley-Davidson to help with the project (Talarico owns Manchester Harley-Davidson), a request that made him laugh. He replied by stating “Let me put together a custom Dirico for you.” It will be a bike with old-school styling cues and a color scheme based on antiquated pictures of the hospital.
Besides building motorcycles for charitable causes, Dirico has also been busy on the retail side as well, introducing two new 2011 models at the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati. One is a motorcycle built exclusively for women riders called the Heartbreaker. To dial in the ergonomics and get creative input on its design, Dirico brought in a wide range of women to serve as a focus group. They even had Tyler’s daughter come in and sit on the bike to tell them what she thought about it. On the 2011 Heartbreaker, riders are situated central and low. Its pull-back handlebars have been moved back so they fall into hand and different seat options are offered. It comes standard with an 88 cubic-inch Twin Cam B engine but two other options are offered, including the potent Harley 110. ABS is another available option. The Heartbreaker has classic styling, including spoked-down whitewall tires, floorboards, hard bags and fishtail pipes. The color scheme is soft and feminine.
Contrarily, there’s nothing soft about the 2011 Dirico Pro-Street Roadster. Mark designed a new frame for it which Rolling Thunder builds to Dirico’s specifications. The 2011 Roadster also is equipped with a new front end and decked out in new sheet metal. A beefy Screamin’ Eagle 110 engine provides the punch while a Baker 6-speed RSD transmission puts the power to the rear wheel. Dirico estimates the Roadster engine puts out over 100 hp. They’ve switched out pegs for roomier floorboards and according to Mark, “it really is a wonderful riding bike.”
“It feels like a sports car. I never really liked those kind of motorcycles but I’m riding that thing all the time now,” he added.
Mark Dirico says the 2011 Pro-Street Roadster ‘feels like a sports car’ when he’s riding it. With a Screamin’ Eagle 110 V-Twin and Vance & Hines Big Radius pipes, the Roadster’s bite should be as vicious as its bark.
The retail level is picking up for Dirico Motorcycles but Talarico says it’s corporate bike sales that have really been doing well. While its retro-style motorcycles, the Speedster and the Flyer are real conversation starters, Dirico’s Pro Street motorcycle heads sales on the retail side. Talarico said that the company is branching out into apparel and plan on having a big presence in Laconia this year where they will debut the new apparel and merchandise line. Dirico is working with a company that has the capacity to silk screen or replicate photographs on t-shirts and hats on-site at their trailer. The trailer will be part of Dirico’s Sturgis display as well where they’ll have the official raffle bike and other motorcycles on display to go along with those beautiful New England girls mentioned before.
When asked about Dirico partner Steven Tyler’s role with the company since his American Idol gig, Talarico says he still fully supports the direction the company is headed.
“He’s been happy with the motorcycles, the only problem is he doesn’t have any time to ride them now. He was at the Boston Bruins game where we debuted the bike. We took the Bruins bike right onto the ice for their opening game. Steven rode it out then sang the National Anthem. We wheeled the bike off and then the game started,” Talarico said.
Mark mentioned that he recently shipped a Speedster out to Tyler in California which he’s been riding around every now and then.
This is what Tyler had to say about receiving the bike in a post titled “Rockin’ that throttle” in Steven’s Blog on the Dirico Motorcycles webpage. “Okay, I need me some time rockin’ that throttle on my Dirico Speedster to shake some of this excitement loose. Idol has got me all worked up today. Just wait….you’re going to flip out at some of these performances. P.S. My cousin let me borrow his bike and he ain’t gettin it back. This freakin’ sled is SWEET. Sorry dude! ST”
When asked what compels Dirico to take on all these charitable causes, they jokingly said “We’re just nice guys.” But Dirico feels that if you’re selling into a marketplace, you should be putting back into it as well.
“The Sturgis bike is just that. Our business is the motorcycle business and there’s no better place than Sturgis to put money back into the community.”