Does The Style of Your Ride Reveal Where You Are From?

//Does The Style of Your Ride Reveal Where You Are From?

Does The Style of Your Ride Reveal Where You Are From?

We do our fair share of traveling here at J&P. In part, it’s to spread bad-to-the-bone motorcycle parts across the globe, but we also have the opportunity to meet great people and see a ton of unbelievable bikes. What I’ve noticed recently in my personal travels for J&P Cycles is that styles of motorcycles tend to be regional in nature. And while there is no hard and fast rule about this, I’ve discovered that the bikes you see can often determine the region of the country you’re in.

Take the West Coast, for example. Out there, you have Dynas and FXR’s with tall T-bars tucked behind café fairings, sporting two-into-one pipes and tall suspensions in the back. Slammed Road Glides roll across the desert with short ape hangers, long bags and big motors. You see guys geared up in helmets and facemasks and clad in leather vests and jackets to combat the extremes of the desert climate. The bikes tend to move in packs and — much like their riders — have a hard edge to them. The West Coast attitude clearly shines through in the motorcycle culture.

The South is  a different story. You spot a lot more sportbikes, long and low Busa’s, custom-painted zx14’s and blingin’ R1’s patrolling the streets of Daytona. The V-Twins have a style all their own — more of a pro-street style with long and low lines normally sporting a wide tire on the back with chrome dripping off every imaginable part. And the paint is normally a mind-blowing mural of some sort that probably cost more than my entire bike. The South is about swagger, the trickest of the trick, air suspension and single-sided swingarms. These machines are built to strut and roll slow down a sunny main street.

The bikes of the North and Midwest take on more of a no-nonsense approach that reflects their blue-collar background. Bikes are purposeful, built to ride with function over form. Baggers built for the long haul, “keys and a seat” type Softails and hotrod Sportsters blast across the landscape like they’re on a mission. The custom bike scene is a “run what ya brung” culture with lightweight, hand-fabricated Shovels, Pans, CB750’s XS650’s and everything in between. They carry an Indian Larry grease monkey mentality where chrome and high-dollar paint is about as necessary as a screen door on a submarine. From New York to the sprawling Midwest plains, these guys are all about a handful of throttle.

When you finally get to crawl out of your winter hibernation, climb back in the saddle and hit the road for your favorite rally. See if what I surmise is correct. Take a look around and enjoy the smorgasbord of two-wheeled bounty from all corners of the country.

By |2015-04-15T15:03:53+00:00December 25th, 2010|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles|Tags: , , |17 Comments

About the Author:

Patrick Garvin began his stint with J&P Cycles at the start of 2008 after doing some installs for us at Daytona and Sturgis for two years. Currently, Patrick splits his time between the eCommerce team and purchasing, finding new and exciting products for our website and catalog. When he’s not at his desk, he’s zigzagging across the country with J&P’s event crew. Patrick has an obsession with going fast on just about anything, a trait he shares with his 6-year-old son Race. You can usually find both of them wrenching in the garage or ripping through the fields on dirt bikes. Emma, his beautiful wife of 7-plus years, puts up with his antics and keeps his head screwed on because he certainly wouldn’t be able to find it without her.


  1. Dewey Rayburn January 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I ride a ’07 ElectraGlide Police ex from a local PD. White and chrome, tricked out a little by me. Used to ride a ’95 Sporty 1200, electric blue met with gold flames. Traded up for comfort. Miss the old bike with loud pipes.

  2. BB January 15, 2011 at 1:27 am

    I ride a “muscle cruiser” and live in NC. ’85 Kawasaki ZL900 Eliminator chasis with a ’86 ZG1000 motor. Fastest stock in town….I’m 55 with 30 years experience, never laid one down…..
    Be safe.

  3. Charlie Taylor January 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Born in Indiana, now in St Louis. Own an ’85 FXRS, Lowered a couple of inches,
    Mustang seat and otherwise pretty much stock “looking”/ ’83 CX-500 box stock/ 98 Kaw Voyager XII, stock……Going on 71 years old.

  4. Rusty January 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Hey, first let me say thanks for your articles.They make for some good readin’ in this cold wintertime. I live in North Carolina and ride a box stock 1983 FLHT.I just recently installed a mild Crane cam in it , everything else came from Milwaukee.Oh it has a factory 5-speed. I’ve been told that is pretty rare.

  5. Chuck Palm Coast January 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I ride a 2008 Road King Police, Black and Chrome nothing fancy. Moved to the southeast from the northeast. What does that say about me?

  6. Guy (squirrel) Godios January 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I’m confused a bit. I think you guessed me right if you saw me riding my 77 glide, definetly a northern bike. What if I was on the 57 sporty with the gooseneck frame and long straight pipes to the back of the bike, and the dimpled sunkist orange gastank?

  7. Stewwpidd January 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Steve “SNIP”Scissors – Is that the Steve in Algiers?
    That is a super good looking bike. Anyway my bike is a ’99 Wide Glide with “Le Bon Temps Rouler!” on the tank. Can you guess where I am from?

  8. ed not to tall jones January 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I ride a 2004 FLHTCUI because of comfort not so much for style any more. I was riding a 2006 FDWGI which I loved but went to the bagger for comfort. The older one gets the ease of ride one needs. Ride what you want or in my case need too.

  9. Clyde Montgomery January 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Central VT 99 FLHTCUI I like to look and smell the roses. Took me 7 days each way for Sturgis saw a lot did a lot and didn’t spend a lot. DON’T read into it : just do it.

  10. Steve "SNIP"Scissors January 11, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Good eye work, but you left out the guys like me who are northern transplants to the south. I ride a blacked out high performance 05 Sporty. Lower to 4 inches ground clearance, Vance Hines short shots, HyperCharger with thunder jet, forward controls and extra high proformance gauges, (oil pressure, Drag Special tach, jug mounted enginr temp. A looker, so I’ve been told. So don’t forget about us guys who show the souhtern bro’s all about “Northern” style! Long Live SPORTSTERS!

  11. John R. January 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I ride a 1970 bone stock Electra Glide – A chopped slightly pumped up Vulcan 2000 and a 1970 9 1/2 ft Honda 750 Chopper and I’m pushing 60 yr’s old.

  12. Kathy R. in NW Pa January 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I ride a 1300cc 2004 Honda VTX with hard bags and use my large t-bag on long trips over 500 miles. I may not be blue collar but I ride this bike for the comfort of the long haul.
    So what kind of bike is mine? Besides being a woman’s bike that used to belong to a man.

  13. Bill Clemens January 11, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Have a 1954 Pan that I have kept up and running for over 30 years

  14. Bill Clemens January 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Have a 54 pan that I have kept up and running for over 30 years

  15. PAT RICHARDS December 26, 2010 at 6:30 am


    • Patrick Garvin December 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

      Thanks to Mid West builder Heath Reed of River Rat Cycles for the last pic.

  16. John M December 25, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I ride what my friends call ” the monster bike”
    A purpose built and modified Suzuki DL1000 V Strom.
    I wanted something that could do it all.
    From riding with ATVs and finding my tree stand.
    To a ride to Northern Maine or to Virginia.
    It will hang with crotch rockets, cruise with Milwaukee steel or ride the ridges of Moab with dirt bikes.

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