Writer's Ramblings

Behind the Scenes with Rick Fairless

Written by  May 31, 2005

Success hasn’t spoiled Rick Fairless. I have never met a more down-to-earth celebrity in my life. Rick has a deep appreciation for the successes he achieved through sheer determination and force of will. He takes nothing for granted and keeps his family close through his endeavors. He is a man to be admired not only for his rolling works of art but also for his work ethic. He’s not afraid to push the envelope as evidenced by his use of a Triumph power plant on his latest Biker Build-Off creation. Please keep in mind when you read this to add a healthy southern drawl to Rick’s answers.

CC: Is there anything new and exciting under construction at Strokers Dallas this summer?
Rick: You bet. We’re building a bike for the Las Vegas BikeFest, the Artistry in Iron. We got invited to that, so I’m doing something, that compared to what I’ve done in the past, is totally modern and totally different than anything I’ve done before, and I think it’s going to be pretty cool.

CC: Are there any Biker Build-Offs in your future?
Rick: You know, I don’t know. Hugh King told me last week in Las Vegas that the Discovery Channel and the Biker Build-Off boys were still going back and forth on the contract, so there may not even be Biker Build-Offs, but I think they’ll get it worked out, and I would love to do another one.

CC: Who, if anybody, is the biggest influence on your building style?
Rick: There’s lots of cool guys out there and lots of young guys, but the king is, and always will be Arlen Ness.

CC: With everybody making a 360 rear tire now, do you think tire width has reached its limits?
Rick: No, I think they’re gonna keep pushin’ it, but I think it should stop at 300, is my personal opinion. I got to ride with Matt Hotch on the Build-Off, and he had a 360, and he fought that frickin’ 360 tire for 600 miles.

CC: After seeing everything from house slippers to tool boxes to barbecue utensils carrying the logos of some of the other known builders, why hasn’t Strokers Dallas dived head first into the merchandising machine?
Rick: You know, we have done some of that. I’ve got my Coors bike on display here that we did for those guys, and we actually did a bike for Budweiser last year, and we’re talking to some other people. You know, it’s kind of a cool deal as long as it doesn’t get too hokey, you know? I mean it still has to be functional, but we’re going to do some more of that.

CC: Being recognized as one of the major builders in the motorcycle world, out of the young crop of new builders coming up, who impresses you?
Rick: There are a lot of guys. I mean Matt Hotch is awesome, Aaron Greene is great, Jesse Rooke, Roland Sands, those guys are awesome.

CC: Last time I was in Sturgis, one of the builders was charging $20 to sign autographs. What do you think about that?
Rick: I think it’s horse shit. The king of all of them, Arlen Ness, doesn’t charge for an autograph, and if he doesn’t charge, how can anybody else?

CC: The schedule you maintain would burn me out in no time. What keeps you going?
Rick: Just my drive. I’m one of those guys that when I get out of bed, and my feet are runnin' like the Flintstones, they get to work and get stuff done, and I believe that if you love what you do, it’s not like working.

CC: How important is it to have your family involved in Strokers Dallas?
Rick: That’s THE most important thing. They watch out for me and I get to see them on a daily basis. My wife and my kids, my mom and my sister, my brother-in-law, we all work together every day and it’s a very cool thing.

CC: Why did you go with a Triumph in your last Biker Build-off?
Rick: I wanted to be the first guy to use a non-V-Twin motor, and I have a soft spot for the old Triumphs and the old English bikes, and I’ve owned Nortons and BSAs and Triumphs, and I think the aesthetics of the motor is cool, and I just thought it would be a cool thing to do, and I’m glad I did it.

CC: Lastly, where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Rick: The same place I am right now. I mean, I want my shop to be bigger and better and cooler and neater, but in 20 years I’m still going to be doing the same things that I’m doing today, because like I said earlier, it’s what I love to do, and I don’t want it to stop.

Interview and photos by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson