Friday, March 20, 2009

Full Dressers, the Other Custom Bike

Some of you might think I've lost it.

I shouldn't like this bike but I do, and I don't even like red bikes.

Most of us bike enthusiast dig Choppers, Bobbers, Racers, and Antiques, but Full Dressers? They are quite possibly one of the most maligned types of bikes there is. After all, the term garbage wagon ain't exactly flattering.

For Dressers, these two are pretty tastefully done. I prefer the one on the left.

Who can't smile when looking at these bikes?

Because of the chopper, I got into this whole motorcycle thing and over the years my appreciation of all things motorcycle grew. Okay, maybe not all things but, many.

This is what happens when you're born with an extra Chromosome, also known as a Chromosexual.

One of the acquired tastes was the Full Dresser. I went from yuck!, to that's sort of interesting, to later, bitchen! Now I'm not saying I'm going to build one but, there's something in a American folk art sort of way that I love about them.

I like the Dressers from the Duo-Glide era the best. The lights and accessories have a more organic feeling than the later ones.

Is it just me, or is there something kind of beautiful going on here?

Think about this. The Chopper rider generally thinks of themselves as a rebel or an outsider but, it's the dresser riders that never really got any media attention or much published about them. After all you never saw Dresser magazine. (I know, there's a Bagger magazine now but, it's really a different animal) Also, check the blogs, you hardley see any of pictures of them. Full Dressers are sort of the outsider to the outsider.

Even Chopper Dave posted a Dresser. Did he like it, or was he poking fun? It's another bike from the era I like.

Ed Roth was one who tried to reached out. Even though he got flack for it, he tried to include them in his magazine. He went on the major bike runs so, he got to know those folks and appreciated what they did to their bikes.

Here's a mild but sharp customized Dresser. It was restored to it's former glory.

Another mild one, set up more for touring than glitz. I can't help thinking Land Yacht when I look at it. I guess it's no surprise, it's original owner was a truck driver.

Yes, things can go overboard but, that's true of Choppers too. It's just human nature to take things over the limit. You can partly blame that on competition, sometimes just known as, plain old fashioned one ups man-ship.

Some don't know when to stop. If some is good, then more is better? It's funny to think about a guy in his garage adding the latest light or do-dad, then stepping back and thinking... now thats much better!

Anybody remember this one? This Gold Plated bike was in the window of George's Round Up, the country western bar that used to be in Long Beach, Ca.

Some guys get obsessive and can't stop. This one's in the Harley Museum.

Don't tell this proud guy his bike ain't cool... or is that a flying carpet?

"You guys better stop making fun of my bike"!
The rift between bikers was once much larger than it is today. Things have really changed. Just look at the popularity of custom Baggers today. Most of us would have never thought we might one day ride a bike with saddlebags and a fairing. Okay, I admit it, were all getting old.

Because of the rarity of photos and existing examples, I think it makes the old Full Dresser more fascinating than ever.

Keep in mind, many custom bikes, even those you think are ugly, can still be fun to look at.