Dick Hirschberg

When I was about 10 years old, I used to hit the library's periodical rack so I could read the latest issue of Hot Rod magazine. Behind their main rack, they had a cupboard with all the back issues of each magazine stacked by year. I'd read the latest issue, then I'd grab 5 or 6 back issues to read. I was going thru the Feb. '60 issue, and Bob Greene had an article in it titled "No Two 'Wheels' Alike". I guess I should also add that Bob Greene was the first editor of Cycle magazine, and was also the first editor of Motorcyclist magazine. Bob also handled the motorcycle content for Hot Rod magazine in his column "Up On Two Wheels". Yeah, Bob knew his stuff.

In the above mentioned article, the lead-off picture was of this big bald-headed guy, rockin' Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, jeans, engineer boots, sleeves cut off his grubby sweatshirt at the armpits, standing behind the baddest 'sickle I'd ever seen. If you'd like to see that shot, I used it in my article in Greasy Kulture #8. The more I stared at the picture, the more I wanted a bike just like that, and I wanted that magazine. So, I took the magazine, slipped it in my shirt, and I stole it from the library. I guess that was my first "outlaw" act. I still have that magazine, by the way.

Over the years, every time Dick, or "Hirsch" as Bob Greene called him, would decide to build a new bike, Bob would feature it in his column. I really didn't know much about Hirsch, but I knew he could put together "diamonds out of coal" Harleys. It wasn't until much later that I found out who Dick was, and what part he played in both the bike and M/C club history of SoCal.

The bike that's pictured in the above photo was built by Dick sometime in '69, out of a BRAND NEW ElectraGlide. Dick was 46 at the time, and it was his first "electric foot" bike. He, along with help from L.A. H-D, produced one of the slickest bobbed Estart FLH's ever, pruned down to 525 pounds. Now, mind you, this bike was done almost 2 years before the first Super Glide hit the streets. If somebody in Milwaukee wasn't looking at the March '70 issue of Hot Rod back then, I'll eat my leather stroker hat!

Even today, Hirsch's ElectraGlide would be "right there". The styling is timeless. Also pitching in on this was Dick's longtime friend and drinking buddy Von Dutch, who did the engine turning, lettering, striping, and engraving on it. Dutch's touch graced every bike that Hirschberg built

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Harley Davidson 2011 Public Relations Plan

I received this "Public Relations Plan" the other day and thought it would provide some entertaining if not insightful reading to those of you who may find the topic interesting. I mean come on, "the motor company is a master of playing to peoples emotions, struggles and secret desires..." Wow. How adopted it actually was, if at all authentic, I have no way of knowing. Some of the Strategies and Tactics lists are humorous if nothing else. I think we all know, if we've been paying attention how "adding new tactics and altering previous tactics" has turned out over the last 5 years (since this plan allegedly took effect). Just look at the corporate footprint at the larger "chopular" events you've attended. It would be really really interesting to see a current 2015, 2016, or 2017 PR Plan... I can only imagine the exploitable (excuse me "vast potential") customer base(s) and events listed today!
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
  2011 Public Relations Plan
The Current Situation:
In recent times, the lifestyle brand has run up against some challenging forces.  Perhaps the most trying of these is an aging demographic.  There will come a day when the typical HOG lover won’t be able to swing a leg over the bike.  Here in lies the problem, no new customers…no new sales.  Unfolding before our eyes is the necessity to go after a younger target audience—specifically young adults.  We’ve got to get our hands on those transitioning from college keg parties to 2.2 children and a mortgage payment.  We must create the same cult following and personal relationship with young adults as we have for so many years.  But how?  This plan establishes ways in which we may reach this demographic, increasing our brand relevance among young adults.

Situation Analysis and Knowledge Inventory:
Harley-Davidson Strengths:
Our typical target audience has always been well defined, segmented and unique, allowing for more direct and consistent communication.  The Harley-Davidson brand has persisted fiercely for over 100 years, positioning itself as the “lifestyle brand.”  Moreover, we have developed a cult following and the makings of an intensely loyal family.  The Motor Company is a master of playing to people’s emotions, struggles and secret desires.

Our most prominent weakness is this aging consumer that will, soon, no longer be in the market for a motorcycle.  Among this new demographic of young adults, we also face challenges.  Due to the media’s portrayal of Harley enthusiasts, a stereotype of fringe, flames and old geezers in leather has emerged.  Because of this, many young adults have been turned off by the brand and feel no connection to its core values.  At the same time, we must not lose touch with our traditional audience; we face the challenge of attempting to straddle the old and the new.

In our weaknesses, lie our opportunities.  The young adult market boasts vast potential for the Motor Company.  Our opportunity is to foster an intense, long-term relationship with this demographic.  Each generation, faces different desires, needs and struggles—but they all face them.  We must understand what our brand values—freedom and rebellion—mean to the new generation and communicate with them accordingly.

Our most tangible threat is our (cheaper) foreign competition—Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda.  But, there is and even greater threat emerging over the past few years…the recession.  People do not have the same disposable income they once did.  A Harley-Davidson motorcycle is considered a luxury item, not a necessity.  This lack of disposable income threatens our brand.

Program Goal:
The main goal of this plan is increased awareness and relevance of the Harley-Davidson brand experience among young adults.  The desired end-situation is to establish a connection with this younger demographic and, in turn, increase sales.  We want to forge an intense, long-term relationship with the young adults of today, just as we have done in the past, creating a new generation of Harley enthusiasts.

Target Publics:
The most basic way to define our target public is young men and women between the ages of 25 and 34.  But, that would be insufficient.  The people we want to target are much more complex, much more real.  Let’s take a look beyond the demographics, into the lives of these young men and women…

This target is living in a critical point in their lives; they truly defining who they are.  They are transitioning into the “real world” and being asked “Who are you?,” “What do you want to do for a living?,” What do you stand for?”.  They are coming into a life of responsibilities and worries.  Adventure is replaced with a full-time career, a family and bills.  In their minds, they are screaming, “What happened?!?” because they still feel young—but reality has begun to strangle the rebellion out of them.  This being said, they realize responsibility is necessary and they work hard everyday for what they reap…but they are also looking for something more.  They are in hot pursuit of an outlet, something to cling to, allowing them to return to that unbridled freedom experienced in youth.

This is not everyone.  We won’t waste our time on those already sucked into the black hole of unconscious ignorance and grids of lonely cubicles.  There’s no turning back for them.  We want to target those with the fire of rebellion inside, aching to break from the daily monotony.  These young people have a fresh, entrepreneurial spirit, who break from the ordinary life path and forge their own way.  Responsibility is not lost on them—they want to succeed as well as keep their freedom.

Our plan must reach these people and establish a connection with them.  There are obvious sub-sets of this public (women, men, Hispanic, etc.), which we will communicate with customly.

Our main objective is to increase brand relevance among 25 to 34-year-olds by 15 percent over the next five months.

Other objectives stemming from this are increasing events for young adult riders by 30 percent and increasing media coverage and placement by 20 percent.

  • Experiment with new media and non-traditional communication channels that will capture the attention of young adults.
  • Associate with and utilize pop culture to improve relevance of the brand with a younger audience.
  • Tell stories that demonstrate the task of balancing life’s responsibilities and freedom.
  • Promote the philosophy of freedom through key opinion leaders in young adult cultures.
  • Create outlets for niche market riders, such as women, to experiment or “test drive” the brand to spur interest.

  • Hold events/parties for young women at popular bars and clubs around major cities.  These events will give women the chance to understand what Harley is all about.  They will be able to sit on bikes, learn the basics of riding and have a good time.
  • Publicize new riders courses through a social media campaign with celebrity participants.
  • Feature story placement in business magazines such as Entrepreneur Magazine, highlighting the commonalities of entrepreneurial business ventures and rebellion and the notion of “breaking from the path.” Other magazines include GQ, Men’s Health and Fast Company.
  • Product placement in shows such as FX’s Son’s of Anarchy, portraying the bikes in a young and fresh, yet (always) rebellious flavor.
  • Sponsor events such as concerts and art exhibitions, along with other, more non-traditional events such as the Summer X-Games and Burton’s Warped Tour.

Program Implementation Plans:

To implement each of these tactics we will need a collaborated effort from the Harley-Davidson public relations team, media relations specialists, as well as the Harley event management team and the director of sponsorships.

The plan will be executed starting May 1st through the month of August.  Below is a breakdown of events and action by month.

(edit: long list removed for space saving.)

The budget for this plan covers sponsorships, events, and product placements.  We project it will cost from $200,000 to $250,000.

Evaluation Plans:
Our objective of increased relevance and awareness to our target public will be measured via survey, comparing the pre-plan survey to the post-plan survey.  We will be able to draw from responses and basically take the temperature of the general sentiments towards the brand after the plan has been implemented.  Other indicators of our success will be the number of participants and followers in our social media campaign as well as attendance of our events.

The stemming objectives will be much easier to measure because we will be able to compare the amount of events hosted and the number of feature stories prior to the implementation of the plan to post-plan.

Feedback and Program Adjustment:
We will report the findings back to the project managers and present to the corporate office.  From there, we will make adjustments to our approach and discuss the effectiveness of each tactic.  We may decide to continue our plan to December, adding new tactics and altering our previous tactics.

Congratulations to............

33 member Ben Pugh aka LDNCLR for winning 0GIVEN's giveaway! Thanks for being a ChopCult member, we appreciate your ongoing support.

Big thanks to JOE for making this giveaway possible!

* The winner was chosen by using random number generator.

The Rolex

First twisted frame bike Indian Larry did as well as the prototype for Paul Cox' rigid air system.

I miss Larry, this bike was built in the Gasoline alley shop in 2003, its a perfect time capsule of the time.  Stoked I got to work on it.

New XL Primary Lock Bar from JIMS USA

This tool locks the primary drive on Sportster models to facilitate crankshaft sprocket nut removal and installation, along with clutch service.  Designed to fit between the engine sprocket and clutch sprocket on 2004 to present Sportster XL1200 models.  JIMS No. 5520 is made in the USA, features JIMS lifetime tool warranty, and has a suggested retail price of $36.50.  For more info, contact, visit, or call (805) 482-6913.

From the archives: Big Scott's Triumph

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I received an email from Curtwood Bixson asking if I would like to read a copy of his children's book "My Dad rides a Chopper." I graciously accepted, read it and absolutely loved it. I predict that this book will be passed down for generations to come. It's well-written, beautifully illustrated, and will inspire future enthusiasts and parents alike. Curtwood Bixson and artist, Gary Wein, are the masterminds behind this wonderful book. They introduce you to Wyatt and his dad who builds a custom motorcycle in his garage. It's a cool journey, one that we can all relate to. -Lisa


"My Dad rides a chopper, but it didn't always look this way."
"Get in the garage, keep busy, don't pitter patter! Focus and work hard on the things to you that matter..."


Curtwood Bixson is a writer as well as an upholsterer, building custom motorcycle seats and hot rod interiors for over 15 yrs now. Gary Wein's artwork will be featured at the upcoming David Mann Chopper Fest. Be on the lookout for more great Chopper children's books in the near future from Bixson Publishing! Paperback and Kindle available.

Follow @chopcult to enter. Best of luck!

CHKC 2nd Annual Swap Meet

Come on out to the 2nd Annual Choppahead Motorcycle Swap Meet - you can buy, sell, trade motorcycles, parts, and other cool shit. Harley, British (Triumph / BSA / Norton, etc), Japanese - whatever! Free to attend.

Vendors welcome - shoot us a message, or give us a call (508-995-6764) to reserve a spot. Spots are free, on a first come/first served basis!

Directions: 13 County Road E.Freetown, Ma 02717

Strung Out / Pennywise At The Stone Pony

Friday, October 21

SiriusXM’s Faction presents

Doors at 7 pm
Tickets: $25 in advance
$30 at the door
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