Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Thanksgiving

I give thanks for the long rides that stretch from morning to late afternoon and into the evening. For the miles and curves that vanish beneath my tires, those hours when time loses all meaning. For those days when I ride so long my throttle hand is sore and I walk a bit bow-legged when I finally park the bike.

I give thanks for my Harley beneath me, for the power and throb of the engine between my legs, the way it sets me back in the saddle each time I twist the throttle. For meaty tires and lean angles.


I am thankful for the sound of my Harley as I sit so proudly on it. It’s like hearing my favorite song drifting from a stranger’s window as I ride along. Pure joy.

I am thankful for hazards recognized, for dangers avoided, for skills of the trained technicians that help to keep my bike purring. I give thanks for the wise riding tips and techniques my more experienced brothers and sisters of the road have taught to me. I give thanks that I ride and live and live to ride again.

I give thanks for the gathering of riders, for being able to recognize a friend’s bikes approaching by their sound, for seeing good companions slow and turn into the lot. For the glad hugs and laughter, the banter. I give thanks for that good company as I see them ahead of me drift to the outside then dip into the curve, one-two-three-four, like seagulls banking and then straighten up, and fly on down the road.

I give thanks for those I come to know and care about over the months and years of riding the same
roads to the same places. I give thanks for making new friends while riding new roads and having week long adventures.  I am thankful for those who I love and who love me simply because we love the same thing--to ride on two wheels in the freedom of the wind.

I give thanks for the sense of “Being” that riding has given me, the freedom to be who I am no matter what others think. It has brought a sense of empowerment for myself and my life - the ability to take on risk and fear and triumph in the challenge. To ride my own ride whether in that good company of bikers or on my own.

I am thankful that I have found my peace in the wind.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL!!! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It sounds cliché, but it's true.

The employees of FXCHD have a passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. But our passion alone wouldn't give us a job here- it's because of our customers that we have employment in a job we love (most of the time). 

Our customers have the same passion for a life behind bars and on
two wheels as we do- some that fire has just been ignited, others it's
been burning for a long time. And no matter where they are on their road, they come in and tell us their latest adventure or ask us what they should do next for customizing their bike.

And in a world that has definitely sped up over the last few decades, with 'one-click' shopping & businesses that value commerce over people, I am definitely thankful for a job that does the opposite. 

If it weren't for the 'family' of our customers, I think this would be 'just another job' for me. And to some it might look like that at times- I have reports and deadlines too. 

However I also get to help people fulfill their dreams -getting on a Harley, twisting the throttle and finding their freedom. 
And for that I'm thankful every time it happens.

I hope that you have found that same freedom to be thankful for, and that you celebrate it more than once a year. If you haven't, I invite you to stop into FX Caprara Harley-Davidson and we'll talk! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Family conversations & how to deal with them Biker style

Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners - they're both great because they involve eating and drinking and being happy about all the cool things in your life (like friends, that Greek food restaurant and - if you're really lucky - your Harley).
But they also mean the relatives are coming, and just like most family gatherings, you cannot have your pumpkin pie and eat it too. These holiday dinners come with a catch.

The family personalities gathered round the table come primed with all the personal questions. Tough questions, like about your personal finances, your love life, career and that one time you were found sleeping on the front lawn..... the neighbor's front lawn that is.

However, this year is going to be different. This year you're going to put Aunt Deb in her place because you're an adult and your life is none of her damn business. 

Obviously you're going to need to inject some Biker into your family proceedings to get you through this. And we at FXCHD are going to help you prepare with these questions (and sarcastic comebacks) to each investigation your relatives have to offer.

As always, we're going to keep things completely scientific and rate these questions on a level of 1 to 5 backfires, just like before.

Ready? You've got this, tiger.

"HOW COME YOU NEVER VISIT ANYMORE?"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 1 backfire
The Bike: a Breakout with Spectra Glo LED Lighting which is brighter than the fake smile you're going to flash while you walk through the front door.
Your Reply: "Well, if you move to Sturgis, Laughlin, Daytona or Laconia, you'd be sure to see me at least one week out of the year.... sort of.... I'll definitely crash on your couch in-between burnout competitions."

"WHY DOES YOUR GENERATION DRESS SO WEIRD?"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 1 backfire
The Bike: Sportster Forty-Eight that is as zippy as your father's tone.
Your Reply: "Two words Dad: Parachute Pants. Let's pull out your 1982 high school year book and see what your fashion sense looked like back then."

"YOU KNOW, YOUR COUSIN JUST GRADUATED FROM [WHATEVER OBNOXIOUS UNIVERSITY] WITH HONORS."
FXCHD anxiety rating: 2 backfires
The Bike: a Street Rod that good 'ol cuz probably got after getting the MF Dean's Award for underwater basket weaving.
Your Reply: "How about we not compare everyone's lives right now.... I've seen Mandy's snapchat stories with my own eyes- her and her sorority did stuff that was waaaaay less than honorable."

"I'M A VEGETARIAN NOW- I CANNOT EVEN THINK ABOUT EATING ANYTHING WITH A SOUL.... AND YOU'RE SERVING TURKEY."
FXCHD anxiety rating: 2 backfires
The Bike: Sportster 1200 Custom -with 67 horses of power and lots of soul on two wheels.
Your Reply: "Have you seen the movie Wild Hogs? When Dudley let his bike bounce off the curb and fall to the ground.... that gets me crying every single time. Why did they have to torture his Harley like that??" *sob

"WHERE ARE MY GRANDKIDS???"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 2 backfires
The Bike: the Street Glide with a 6 gallon tank that holds enough fuel to gaslight all your mom's horrific backhanded questions.
Your Reply: "When I bought my Harley and put having fun in my life first for a change, you made it clear exactly how irresponsible I was being. Now you expect me to bring a baby into this world??"

"HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND [CURRENT DATE] BEEN SEEING EACH OTHER? WILL THERE BE WEDDING BELLS IN THE FUTURE??"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 2 backfires
The Bike: the Ultra Limited so you and your guy/gal can Ride far, far away.
Your Reply: "Well, we have so much fun sleeping around during bike week that we really don't see the need to tie each other down with an archaic ceremony. While we're at it- let's ask Uncle John about how his third divorce is going."

"SO, DO YOU HAVE A DECENT PAYING JOB NOW?"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 3 backfires
The Bike: the minimalist style yet maximum impact of the Low Rider S.
Your Reply: "Yes, I have a good paying job that pays me enough so I can have my Harley. If by 'decent pay' you mean a job that has to pay excessive wages just to keep employees because it sucks the very life from you, then no -no, I don't."

"WOW THIS TURKEY IS DRY."
FXCHD anxiety rating: 3 backfires
The Bike: a Fat Bob with a meaty front tire that handles everything exceptionally well.
Your Reply: "Oh Melissa, you're so sweet to point that out. And if it bothers you that much, then by all means stop stuffing your face with it." *imagines doing a burnout in the kitchen 

"HOW IS [FORMER DATE] DOING? I'M SURPRISED YOU LET THAT ONE GO!"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 4 backfires
The Bike: the Softail Deluxe for obvious reasons
Your Reply: "Oh.... well.... yeah, they died. Very shocking. I'm kind of still sensitive about it. Who wants to watch Ride With Norman Reedus?"

"DO YOU EVEN GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE?"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 4 backfires
The Bike: the holy-trinity of three wheels- the Freewheeler
Your Reply: "Until the priest has a ride-through confessional, you can see me out Riding my Harley in all of God's splendor, every day of the week and twice on Sunday."  

"IT ONLY TOOK ME SIX MONTHS TO PAY OFF MY STUDENT LOANS- I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE DEAL IS WITH ALL THESE WHINY MILLENNIALS."
FXCHD anxiety rating: 5 backfires
The Bike: a Street Bob for it's light-weight frame which is super agreeable, but also easily handles the turns- like the give-and-take nature of the two-handed adulation.
Your Reply: "Life was so much simpler when you could BS your way through an associate arts degree, like you did back in the '70s Uncle Mike. So yeah, let's move on from this convo just like my Harley does when the light turns green."

"OH, YOU USED A FROZEN CRUST.... I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CRUST FROM SCRATCH -IT'S A LITTLE EXTRA WORK, BUT IT'LL BE GOOD FOR YOU."
FXCHD anxiety rating: 5 backfires
The Bike: the Heritage Softail for all the history but it also has all the modern conveniences. 
Your Reply: "It would be in your best interest to leave my pie alone because my Harley has been in Winter Storage for the last month and I will cut a bitch." 

"YOU SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF THAT BUSINESS DEAL YEARS AGO."
FXCHD anxiety rating: 5 backfires and then stalled out
The Bike: a CVO Road Glide with a 117 cubic inch Screamin' Eagle motor to fly you the f*** out of there.
Your Reply: "You are so right, I should have known better. I should have learned from when you had all that financial trouble because your house was upside down and you declared bankruptcy.... but you only lived out of your car for those five months, right?" 

"WHO DID YOU VOTE FOR?"
FXCHD anxiety rating: 5 backfires and then stalled out
The Bike: the Fat Boy because, yeah - The Terminator.
Your Reply: "Ooh, uummm - hey did I show you pictures from the bike rally I rode to on my Harley? Check these out!"

Reminder of the classic Biker saying if all else fails: 
When in doubt, throttle out.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The #1 Question at the Parts Counter

As we round the corner into my second favorite time of year (the Riding Season, aka Summer, being my first), and we get customers wanting to buy parts for their beloved, I thought I'd try to answer the most asked question during the holidays at FXCHD
Will this part fit his bike?

But, as with anything, it's best if you do a little homework on your end. "Well, it's either a Street Glide or a Street Bob.... it's definitely got 'Street' in there somewhere....." just isn't going to cut it.
Let's start off with what year the bike is. We know that all bikes look essentially the same from year to year, but trust us- there are also minor changes that can affect how a part fits. The size of a gas tank could be different from one year to the next, so the seat (where it butts up to the tank) might not fit. Or a more narrow primary will mean a different derby cover.
Then there's Harley's "Alphabet Soup".... which can sometimes look like a whole other language. It starts with what family the bike is in, but it doesn't end there. 

Sure you know his bike is a Sportster, but the next question from us is going to be, "Is it an 883 or 1200??" So if you can tell us you're looking for forward controls for your guy's 2013 XL1200L, we will be able to get you the right kit. 
If you're trying to be sneaky because you want to surprise your man with the parts he's been drooling over, take a glance at the R/O (repair or work order) paperwork - that'll usually tell you the year, make and model of the bike. Or, if we've seen the bike here for service, we can look it up for you in our system.
Of course, one word of warning: Some guys (and gals too!) are very specific [read picky] about what they think does and doesn't look good on their bike. If your significant other fits this description, you might just want to get him/her a Harley-Davidson Gift Card and let them pick out their own parts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ICYMI: Shop Talk -DIY Winter Motorcycle Storage

Recently I talked about this at our dealership, as I'm a firm believer in preventing Harley abuse! And because of that, I'm sharing it here just in case you missed it:
Days getting shorter, temps dropping, and soon that four letter "s" word will be upon us. While some of us can transition easily into the coming winter wonderland, your bike isn't one of them. That's why FXCHD is here to show you how to tuck your bike in for it's long winter's nap.

Why winterize?
Sure your Harley is tough, but old man winter can be tougher.
Without proper weatherization the condition of your motorcycle will rapidly deteriorate. That can add to your repair bill and will adversely effect the resale value. Of course the most important reason to prep your bike for storage is because you want to be riding your bike, not wrenching on it (or having us do it for you) come Spring.

Make some room:
Find some room in your garage or other permanent structure that has a floor, four walls, a roof and power. Clean and organize your area, then put a tarp down to act as a moisture barrier. Next put an old carpet over the tarp -this will be your baby's home for the next 4-5 months. Remember that mice will want to be getting out of the cold too, and your bike is a nice way to do that. Get some moth balls, put them in an old tube sock and put them around where your bike will be napping.

Prep your bike:
  • Fill your bike's gas tank up to the neck and add fuel stabilizer. By the time you get home from the gas station the stabilizer will have worked it's way through the fuel system. Now your bike is warm so you can....
  • Change your Oil & Filter: oil is like underwear- it should be changed every so often! The acids in dirty oil can step up engine corrosion, so you should change these out for fresh Harley Syn3 Oil.
  • Is your bike liquid-cooled? V-Rod, Street and certain Touring models are. You'll want to check your levels and add antifreeze if necessary.
  • Prep the Paint: Bug guts and road grime is like a badge of
    honor for all the miles you've ridden, but if left on over winter they can eat away at the paint & chrome. Thoroughly wash your bike, dry it, then coat all painted parts & chrome with wax and use S100 Corrosion Protectant or WD-40 on unfinished metal (mag wheels and engine fins). A better way to show off all the miles you've ridden: H.O.G. Mileage Program
  • Keep the spark alive! Even as our bikes are sitting quietly there is a drain on their battery. Hook your bike up to a Harley Supersmart Battery Tender (66000038) - it even comes with a "Pig Tail" (94624-97B if purchased separately) which allows easy access. The built in "smart" circuitry of the battery tender will turn the charger on and off as needed, so your battery never overcharges. At only $39.95 +tax (versus $115 on up for a new battery) it's a real bargain!
  • Be well-rounded.... Protect your tires over the winter months by making sure they have the proper tire pressure. Now park
    your bike on the carpet (on top of the tarp) you put down earlier. That will prevent your tires from freezing to the concrete. Your bike will be fine on it's kick stand, but if you want to go the extra mile you can put your bike up on a lift. 
  • Set it and forget it (yup, I'm borrowing from Ron Popeil). Plug in the battery tender, put one of the moth-ball-filled socks right underneath your bike (according to Dennis in Parts this will help to keep the mice away), and tuck your bike in under a premium motorcycle cover with breathable microfiber material that promotes air circulation and reduces moisture build-up.
Don't have space at your place? You can store your bike with FXCHD - all you need to do is provide us with a cover.

Don't forget your Riding Gear:
  • Use Leather Care to clean, condition and preserve your leather jackets, vests and chaps. 
  • Use Novus Plastic Cleaner to clean the bug guts off your helmet(s). Store helmets inside your house (or other climate controlled area) so the freezing temps and rodents won't get to the shell and lining. 
Waiting is the Hardest Part
Tom Petty sure got that right! Suffering through PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) can be a challenge in the North Country. Of course you can take advantage of the down time by customizing.... Turn the bike of your dreams into your reality while she sleeps. And you can come see us at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson- we'll have our annual Chili Cook-Off in February, and our NNY Harley Owners Group will have their annual Motorcycle Insurance Seminar in April.

Not close to us? Most dealerships host events and are open year round. Click here to find a dealer in your neck of the woods.

Despite all your hard work to prep, in the Spring as you wake your Sleeping Beauty, it's always a good idea to do a T-CLOCS inspection. Then dust off your riding skills- ride over to an empty parking lot and practice figure eights, emergency stops and evasive maneuvers. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

#MeToo - but it's not what you think....

In light of all the women who've accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and misbehavior, and the millions more who have shared their own personal experiences with the hashtag "#MeToo", as a woman who works in a mostly male field (FX Caprara Motorcyle Dealership) I felt the need to speak out on this particular subject. 

It seems I've always interacted with 'the guys' better than I do other women. My first job in Northern California was on a Rent String Ranch (people would rent horses by the hour & I was one of the guides) - about 50/50 split between the guys & girls. Then auto shop & FFA in high-school - mostly if not all guys there. After that I got into modeling where the majority of photographers & agents were male. I went to college for Medical Assisting where, after getting a job in my chosen field, the doctors and physician assistants I worked with were predominantly men. Now I've been working at Harley-Davidson dealerships for nearly ten years and, if you haven't guessed it already, the ratio of men to women is about 4 to 1.

By no means am I taking away from the women who have had to deal with guys like Harvey - their stories are real and, at times, horrifying. All throughout the years there have been times when I was taken advantage of, without a doubt. Under paid, over worked, unwanted 'hugs' that were inappropriate, stalked, dismissed, and more, all because of my sex. 

But my #MeToo is looking at this issue from the other side -I've also used my sex to my benefit. I've batted my eyelashes and gotten out of speeding tickets (not every time tho), had doors opened for me, day trips and long weekends where my every need was taken care of without having to pay a cent, and all the meals & drinks I
didn't pay for. I had one of my guy friends ask me how I'd gotten a particular part to fix my car for free; I pointed at my breasts and said, "Thanks to my girls." (To clarify, I didn't lift my shirt to expose myself -I do have my limits! I just happened to have a low cut shirt on.)

I think the movie Erin Brockovich (starring Julia Roberts) sums it up best. The scene where Albert Finney's character asks why she [Erin/Julia] is going to get all the information they need to make their case. "They're called boobs, Ed," was her matter of fact reply.

The list of what the EEOC has determined is "sexual harassment" has several items I've done: facial expressions, touching another employee's clothes, neck massages (only when asked), hugging, giving gifts (birthdays and holidays), and sexual innuendos. 

We have fun at work telling jokes and stories. I hug repeat customers - both male & female. While it's true you'll rarely see me in a dress, I still like dressing up and wearing make-up and being noticed. I like when guys whistle at me (especially the older I get). It feels good! Maybe it's just being a biker-chic kind of thing...? 

I guess what I'm saying is to not go off the deep end- deciding that each look, glance, touch and request is about sex/power. Realize that some women choose to use their gender to their benefit. Of course I firmly believe that assault, sexual or otherwise, is never ok and should be reported. But I also believe in what Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Keeping It Real- 7 ways to avoid counterfeit Harley merchandise

That's right, we're taking the side of the law this time (Bikers are Rebels, but we stand up for what's wrong when we need to). 
Last year counterfeiters raked in $460 Billion dollars- mostly online. And even though the majority of items are luxury- Rolex watches, Gucci purses, Nike Air Jordan- Harley is also a lifestyle that people want. Which means others will fraudulently forge the brand just to make a buck. 

Harley-Davidson logos and trademarks symbolize more than just the quality and heritage of their products. They stand for something important enough that people tattoo the logo on their skin. It’s something that can’t easily be expressed with words, but is felt in the soul. For many, “Harley-Davidson” isn’t a name or a brand. It’s a way of life.
Will buying one counterfeit album, movie, purse or t-shirt hurt you or those you love? Probably not. But multiply that one by 20 million sales and it adds up fast. That's a massive amount of money that should have gone to the artist, actor or business, but went to criminals instead. Not to mention, it reduces the amount of taxes collected, which reduces the amount of annual budgets- which can affect jobs. 

You may have seen or even purchased a counterfeit item in the past without knowing it. But when the article arrived you discovered the quality wasn't there- wrong size label (it says XL but really is XS), the graphic wasn't centered, and/or the item was already falling apart. And then when you return it to the company that sold it, they keep promising to return your money (but they don't).
With the biggest gift-giving time of year coming up (aka the Christmas Season), I thought it might be helpful to explain how to spot selling counterfeit Harley merchandise. After all, if you're spending the money to buy that someone special (or even yourself) a gift, it might as well be the real deal, right? 
  1. Money Talks, Bullshit Walks: compare the price. If
    The Bar & Shield logo
    it sounds too good to be true, it's probably false. 
  2. Feel it Up: check out the item for the correct use of labels. There should be labels & hang tags with the official logo and security stickers.
  3. An Altered State: has the logo been altered?
    On dark backgrounds, it's
    framed in white
    Stretched, color change and word substitutions are all indicators of forged items and copyright infringement. 
  4. Know before you Go: Harley-Davidson's logos & trademarks include the Bar & Shield, the B&S outline, Screamin' Eagle, H.O.G., and
    Screamin' Eagle logo
    MotorClothes to name just a few.
  5. Wonder about the Website: if online, check out the seller's website. Do they say they're an authorized seller?
    The H-D MotorClothes label
    Do they have a physical address, contact info and return policy clearly spelled out? If no, then that's a very red light- you should stop.
  6. Use Active Listening: find out what others are
    saying. Reviews on Google, Amazon, E bay and/or
    Licensed Vendors will use this label
    Facebook are pretty good indicators. And find out their rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  7. How's Your Package?: if the packaging is naked (no logo), there's no contact info, or has misspellings, it's most likely a fake. 
If you're still not sure that the item is real or counterfeit, feel free to contact me at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson, or by email (Dawn@FXCapraraHarley-Davidson.com). 

Harley's Brand Protection team monitors against sellers of counterfeit H-D merchandise, and recently scored big wins on two of the largest selling companies of counterfeit t-shirts. 

The Harley-Davidson brand (and lifestyle) is powerful, full of meaning and emotion. So when the company developed logos & trademarks unique to Harley, it communicates something special about our brand for our customers, and it’s important to protect that message. If others misuse it for their own profit, we run the danger of diluting or weakening it.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

How to Look Like a Bad-Ass Biker this Fall


Crisp days and longer nights. Cool enough to wear a hoodie and boots, but not so cool that you'll need a puffy coat. And nobody did it better than The Queen of Bikers: Gemma Teller (aka Katey Sagal in her Sons of Anarchy roll).

Katey, in real life married to Sons creator Kurt Sutter, is not actually involved with motorcycle gangs (that I know of anyways)- but she sure had one great wardrobe while on set. Tank tops layered with plaid and lace, jewelry, leather jackets and those boots gave the perfect image to match her character's attitude - which was fearless.

Why not embrace a full biker dress while wandering around with your gang this Fall. Don't be scared- just roll on the throttle and go with it.

Side Note- You don't have to go far or wait days for these fashions to arrive. We've got 'em at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson now. Not close to us? Find it online with Harley.

The Relaxed Fit Plaid Shirt: 
Bring a slightly oversized (but not sloppy) look with the Relaxed Fit Plaid Shirt (96019-18VW). Believe me when I say this layer is soft and lightweight. This long sleeve top goes perfectly over a skinny tank and distressed jeans. 

Caution- Soft Shoulder:
Crochet Lace Shoulder (96010-18VW) is the "it" tee for Fall. The washed cotton, lace yoke and button placket lend a familiar, worn feel to this top. A special touch- faded graphics encircle the hem.

The Lace-Up Tall Boot:

A fan favorite, the Belhaven (D87082) women's leather riding boot is a tall lace up with iconic H-D appeal and classic heritage styling. A top to bottom locking zipper lets the long laces do the talking.

A little-bit higher now:
The Ludwell (D83831) gives you that Harley lift, both in body and spirit. A chunky styled 4-inch heel supporting a 5.5-inch shaft with an ankle strap below the classic Bar & Shield. I think these boots were pulled right out of Gemma's closet.

Brighten things up:
When it comes to jewelry and Harley-Davidson, MOD rules the road. The Milestone Locket Collection are stainless steal lockets that house a beautiful assortment of charms and backplates that can be customized for every type of woman out there.

Essential for Layering:
Perfectly faded with raw-edges for a worn-in look, the Genuine Pullover Hoodie (99100-17VW) sports twill tape trim around the hood and lacing on the cuffs. The traditional Bar & Shield logo has that distressed look for a vintage vibe.

The quintessential Leather Jacket:
A jacket so epic, it's been 115 years in the making. This Women's 115th Anniversary Leather Jacket (98010-18VW) has hints of blue stitching and contrasting underlay that complement the design details and colors of the 115th Anniversary motorcycles. Of course this jacket is more than good looking- it's road ready.

Top it Off:
This classy women's flat top hat (99421-18VW)gets an update to mark the H-D 115th. It stylishly combos with mesh panels and rivets for contrasting texture. Bonus: shimmering metallic embroidery to catch the eye.

The Future is so Bright, You Gotta:
See the world from a new lens with Tori by Wylie X (HATOR01). Beauty- with bling in the right places, and brains- meets ANSI requirements.