As faithful readers of RoadBike, you should be used to our hard-edged style of guerilla journalism; we dig deep and expose the facts on all things motorcycle. Sometimes these topics are under-reported by the mainstream media, and often they’re hard to swallow. (Ha! Made you laugh, didn’t I?) Well, today I’m going to carry on that tradition (or start it), and expose the truth about a certain Mr. Rick Fairless and his tie-dyed Strokers Dallas empire.
I had the opportunity to visit Strokers recently, to pick up a bike I was using for a tour story. It seemed simple enough: fly in, grab the bike, and go. Little did I know I’d be so enamored of the joint and its caretakers that I’d stay all afternoon and delay the start of my trip. Located near Love Field Airport on the east side of Dallas, you can’t miss Strokers; it’s probably the only bike dealership decorated with statues of hockey players, astronauts, the Blues Brothers, and Lady Liberty on the roof. Strokers is a multiline dealer featuring Victory, Titan, and Royal Enfield, among others, with a full service and parts department and motorcycle customizing capabilities out back, and a bar and grill called Icehouse next door. In the shop, there are full-on customs being built right next to the oil changes being performed. Nestled around the side is Strokers Ink tattoo parlor. Where else can you go get your bike serviced, and grab a burger and a tat while you wait?
Walking around the facility will take some time. You can’t just rush through the place; there’s so much to see. The walls are decorated with everything from vintage bike pictures and Fairless family photos to barbed wire and Rick’s evil clown collection (if you’re into that sort of thing). Rick’s a fan of Americana, and images of Marilyn Monroe, Elvira, Betty Boop, and Bettie Page adorn the walls, as do neon bar signs and Dallas Cowboys team photos. Herschel Walker’s personal custom Victory was on display while I was there, but it may not be when you visit, as Herschel is an avid rider. Strokers is a maze of motorcycle and automobile memorabilia, and it’s not just American V-twin-centric; there’s a Bultaco in the showroom, and a life-sized Clydesdale out back. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop for the obligatory tie-dye Strokers T-shirt.
As I was perusing the place, I couldn’t help but think that Rick must have thousands of dollars tied up in enlarging and mounting photos. Blowups of his custom bikes are prominent, and many of the bikes themselves are sitting right on the showroom floor. There I was, gazing and shooting pictures, when who do I see gazing back at me? My boss, Buzz Kanter. There’s a picture of Buzz and Rick hanging right there. I just can’t get away.
As for the exposé part of this story, I’m here to tell you from firsthand experience that Rick is not the rough-and-tumble, hard-edged, macho biker dude you might think he is. Never before have I met a more gracious host. He was plenty busy the day I visited, but every time our paths crossed in the Strokers compound, I was met with an outstretched hand, a handshake, and invitations to look around and have fun. This long-haired bike customizer is also a contributor to the local community. Rick sponsors a golf tournament to benefit the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children, and the Strokers web site features Terri’s Treasures, an online page full of adorable, adoptable cats and dogs available from Dallas Animal Services department. Now does that sound like a tough guy? Heck, I only saw him fire one employee that day. (And Rick was just kidding. I think.) RB
Strokers is off US Highway 77/Interstate 35E.
From any direction, take 35E toward downtown Dallas/Love Field (airport). Exit at Regal Row and head east; turn left on Harry Hines Boulevard, and Strokers is about half a mile up.
GPS coordinates: N32° 50.5372′, W096° 52.2166′
9304 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75235