HARLEY-DAVIDSON TWO-WHEELED BUDDY
"NASZ RYNEK KAPITAŁOWY" (09/2007) text Krzysztof Sakowski photo Artur Zych Marian Curzydło.
Curzydło does not look like a ‘typical’ Harley rider. He has neither a
whopping belly nor a patriarchal beard, and he even tastes beer in
moderation. He runs a serious company and he is a recognized artist – a
photographer. However, it is enough to talk to him for a moment to be
sure he has a heart of a devoted Harley lover and the projects of
motorcycles carried out by him are genuine two-wheel pearls.
1901 three friends: William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson and Walter
Davidson completed the construction of four engines for a bicycle shell,
they had not the slightest idea that they created a legend. The gossip
is that the first Harley had a carburettor made from a tomato tin and
cost next to nothing. Times changed and so did Harleys, but they still
in the same way charm the real fans of motorcycles who are able to
devote their every spare moment to their gems.
The first Harleys
appeared on the roads in 1903. They were called Silver Grey Fellow,
which comes from the colour they were painted. Fans say that Harley is
not a motorcycle but a buddy. The person who once made friends with this
legend-vehicle will be faithful to it for a lifetime. What is so
special about Harleys, apart from the fact that they are noisy, awfully
expensive and heavy as a little tank?
- For the Harley lovers it is
the respect, admiration, inspiration and, above all, fulfilling one's
ideas of a perfect model - as Marian Curzydło tells us. He started his
motorcycle adventure in the 1970s. - It all started in the school desk
at Secondary Technical School of Mechanical Engineering. Together with
my friend, Boguś ‘Cipiór’ Sikora, we just got mad about having machines
of large capacity. It was clear for us that it was no use to bother
about something less than 0.5 liter. Of course, we meant an engine
capacity, not alcohol – he recollects and laughs.
And so it started.
Being only seventeen, he bought his first motorcycle from a farmer from
a village near Rzeszów. It was BMW R71 of an engine capacity of 750cc
from 1943. - I rode through Poland up and down, I took part in all
motorcycle events, for instance in the cult rallies in Wolsztyn in the
1970s. Moving to a Harley-Davidson was just a matter of time, and so it
happened... However, at that time it could have been nothing else but
only WL – he adds. After many years of riding stock models of Harleys
(WLA, Bad Boy, Softail Std., Electra, Fat Boy) Marian Curzydło decided
to make his life more difficult. Something inspired me while I was
coming back from a journey to Barcelona where we celebrated 100th
anniversary of Harleys’ creation. I rode Electra there. After this
journey, I realized that riding stock models of Harley, particularly
tourist models, is boring. I wanted to create something unique and
exceptional. I sold Electra quickly and started to look for something
else – he says.
In 2004, together with his ‘motorcycle friend
forever’, ‘Cipiór’, he began a project entitled Harley Spirit. The
result of their work was supposed to be a classical chopper. However,
they came across a vehicle with the Harley evo 1340 engine with the
MagnaCharger compressor. From the machine they gained, they left only a
drive and a frame and threw away the whole rest. After a year of
thorough rebuilding, an unusual ‘drag’ Harley Spirit, colloquially
called an animal of huge power of over 150 KM, was created.
Thus, a first Harley in Poland with a mechanical compressor and nitrous oxide installation was constructed.
We looked at our ‘child’ and we asked ourselves a question: Can you
ride something like that at all? In June 2005, I proved that you
definitely can. Within 6 days I rode more than 4,000 kilometers (Cracow –
St. Tropez – Cracow). An excellent adventure and great satisfaction –
the ‘animal’ did not let me down. I was riding without any failures, and
the Spirit proved to be an outstanding road-swallower. In all, it rode
many thousands kilometers within two years – he recollects.
the first successful experiences, the friends decided to come back to
their idea of constructing an extreme chopper from the basis. The
assumptions were ‘simple’: an engine of 2.2 liters with a compressor
and nitrous oxide installation (over 200KM) in a stiff frame with a rear
wheel of 300 mm. They started the preparation for the construction,
they ordered an engine and .... the tragic death of Cipiór interrupted
- Then, I decided to forget Harleys for some time and I
closed down the garage – Curzydło cuts short. But Harleys did not
forget him. In Marian Curzydło’s head another idea to construct a unique
motorcycle was developing. - I bought a Harley springer which was quite
‘fatigued’. It took me 159 days to reconstruct it and for as many days
nobody saw me in the company. A vintage bobber was created. Because of
the total reconstruction (e.g. frame modification), I bought some
equipment in order to subcontract as little work as possible. Owing to
that, I could lathe what I wanted and weld where I wanted. That style
suits me best. Vintage but modern. Springer suspension , a softail type
of a frame – which imitated stiff suspension, a seat on springs, a
carburettor, but at the same time pneumatic shock absorbers, electric
ignition, disc brakes and a driving belt. And that nitrous oxide
installation (so-called nitro) to make it more awesome. And of course,
the proud, respectable and thrilling name – ‘Hemorrhoid’ – he bursts
into laughter. ‘Hemorrhoid’ repaid his constructor and it won the first
prize for appearance and uniqueness at one of the motorcycle rallies.
is an expensive passion. The prices of stock models vary from PLN
35,000 to over 150,000. It is difficult to value models which were
created in garages of Harley lovers. However, it can be estimated that
professionally constructed projects amount to PLN 150,000 and more. -
It may seem weird but if somebody wants to have ‘only a motorcycle’, I
do not recommend Harley. There are technically better and more awesome
brands. Harleys are really for enthusiasts – warns Marian Curzydło – but
not everybody understands it. It makes me laugh when during rallies I
see many people who come there by cars with car carriers on which they
have motorcycles. It is just a journey to show off, but the fact is that
riding Harley is not easy, especially when we take into account those
constructed individually. It seems to be easy and comfortable only from
outside, but it is not – he adds.
Bass singing of the Harley engine.
is one thing which almost all Harleys have in common – it is an engine
sound other motorcycles do not have. In order not to lose this
particular sound also today when modern and silent engines, noiseless
exhausts, etc. are constructed, the company has invested 15 million
dollars in a sound laboratory. In this way, the brand lovers who buy
successive models can still enjoy the same – as they say – engine gang.
The legend does not have to be silent. In order a rider could feel like a
real easy rider, a protagonist of a 1969 film, the sound of his engine
must be heard from far away. - It is not troublesome for somebody who
is used to that ‘singing’.
My style of travelling is a lonely ride,
so that I can enjoy the sound of my Harley. It does not interfere with
the concentration; quite the contrary, it helps me. But as far as Polish
roads are concerned, riding a Harley is a real struggle to survive –
reveals the ‘Hemorrhoid’ motorcycle owner.
question: ‘Why do you ride Harley?’ has only one answer: If I have to
explain, you will not understand. Those who have a Harley or want to
have it, exactly know why. But to those who do not understand that, it
is impossible to explain – Curzydło shrugs his shoulders. He had many
unforgettable journeys riding his motorcycles, but the most memorable
one was to Saint Tropez in 2005.- And there was a day when I made more
than one thousand kilometers. During this journey, riding through
winding switchbacks in the Alps, I reached the altitude of more than
2,000 meters. It is unforgettable - he adds.
The owners of the
legend, that is those for whom Harley have no flaws, constitute one
group all over the world. In 1983, the Harley-Davidson Company
established, as a genuine marketing move, the Harley Owners Group,
H.O.G., – that is an international club of the owners of this brand.
Within first six years it consisted of 90,000 members. Nowadays, it
consists of one million members and new ones are still joining...