It was bad enough when Harley-Davidson introduced its Tri Glide Ultra Classic trike, a version of its venerable FL touring bike with a pair of automotive-sized, 15-inch outriggers at the back—making it perfect for ferrying overfed American motorcyclists from all-you-can-eat buffet to all-you-can-eat buffet. Of course it sold out. Now we’re confronted with this utter abomination, a tipover-proof version of the iconic Captain America chopper from the film Easy Rider.
Is this some April Fools joke two months too late? This Stars-and-Bars caricature looks like something straight out of a South Park parody, where it would be transportation for some gracelessly aging baby boomer drawn in a faded Stones t-shirt, drinking Metmucil from a shot glass, and chasing Cartman off his grass with a flamed, skull-topped walking stick. That it comes from Paughco—one of the original, old school chopper aftermarket companies—is all the more discouraging. How far we’ve fallen…
Wyatt and Billy—Easy Riders’ anachronistic main characters, played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, respectively—are surely rolling over in their shallow, backwoods graves. Those guys didn’t escape the ’60s alive. They were murdered by shotgun-wielding rednecks in the final scene, just before arriving in Florida where they planned to take their drug money and retire. If you’ve been to Daytona Bike Week lately, however, it seems like everyone else who idolized Wyatt and Billy did achieve their Sunshine State retirement dream. And now, thanks to Paughco, they can trade their Deuce coupe-bodied golf cart Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) for this Panhead-powered, fishtail-piped mobility scooter on acid. The dream of the ’60s dies in Fort Lauderdale.
Then again, everyone grows up eventually. Hopper made television commercials for Ameriprise Financial Services before he succumbed to prostate cancer in 2010, so maybe it’s not so surprising that Captain America has sprouted a third wheel. But like Wyatt says to the “Stranger on the Highway” in the movie: “I’m hip about time. But I just gotta go.”
At least those characters had the good fortune to die before they got old. Too bad their chopper wasn’t blessed with the same fate.