Babes Ride Out

Lori Bentley Law

Lori Bentley-Law | A Modern Vagabond & Her 1200 "Chromester"

Roll CallAshmore Ellis

“Somehow twenty-five years have gone by since I got my license. How did that happen?? In high school, my boyfriend had a motorcycle. I rode with him a few times, but his goal was to scare me. I swore I’d never get on another. Then I fell in love with a life-long, third-generation motorcyclist. Through him, I found the glorious freedom of riding. It took only a couple of times on the back before I got the bug to ride my own, and have been doing so ever since.” Lori Bentley Law

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Why do you ride: I have no deep philosophical answer to this. I ride because it’s fun. Because all of the senses come alive. Because it brings me pure joy.

Run us through the bikes in your life: Oh boy. This could get long. I still have every bike I’ve owned, except for the bike I learned on, a 1974 Honda XL175. I love vintage, so started with a ‘66 Yamaha YM1... that never wanted to run. I got a ‘77 Triumph Bonneville... that I had a heck of a time kick-starting. A ‘76 Honda TL125, a fantastic bike in the dirt. A ‘69 Triumph TR25w project bike. A 2004 Triumph Bonneville. Plus, a garage full of EVO Harley-Davidson that the hubby adopts and we share. But the motorcycle that truly has my heart is my Chromester, a 2004 Harley-Davidson 1200R, a bike I’ve had since new, and one that has taken me on the grandest adventures.

Photo by Cindy DuLong

Photo by Cindy DuLong

Funny thing, I had to be talked into riding a Harley-Davidson. Vintage Triumphs had my heart. My hubby kept saying I needed to ride a Harley-Davidson to understand, but I was stubborn. Finally, he surprised me with the 1200R for Christmas one year–whether I wanted it or not—and it sat in the garage untouched for months. Finally, he planned a 100 mile ride to Joshua Tree and said, just ride it. To appease him, I did. About twenty-minutes down the highway, something clicked and I was hooked. We stopped at a gas station and I walked over to him and said, “Yep. I get it now.” No other motorcycle has the iconic, visceral feel that a Harley-Davidson does. That V-twin engine pulses through your body in a way that can’t be described, only experienced.

From the moment things began to click with my 1200, I knew it was the right bike for me. Everything about it felt right. It fit my body, fit my personality, fit my style of riding. Over the years, hubby has suggested I get something new, with less miles, but my Chromester and I have a bond of shared adventures that can never be equaled. Will I have other bikes? Sure. But I will have this Chromester forever.

Tell us what its life to ride the Chromester: Magic. Yep. That’s what it’s like. The throatiness. The solid feel. That magical vibration while idling and the way it smoothes out on the road. The power. Here’s the deal. Every touch-point on a Harley-Davidson feels like quality. They may be heavier, but that’s because they’re not made of plastic. The fenders are metal as are all the mounting hardware and the mirrors. While my ‘04 Bonneville is fun and zippy, it feels like a toy in comparison with my same year H-D.

Why the sportster? I didn’t choose the Sportster since it was a gift... but if I were shopping today, I’d still chose the Sportster because of the timeless design. In the sixty-plus years since the Sportster has been on the road, very little has changed stylistically. Quite simply, the design works. There is no mistaking a Sportster. They look tough and yet elegant in the clean lines and simplicity.

Tell us how you modified your bike to make it your own: A friend joked once about what I have against paint. My truck is paint free and so is my Chromester. The checkered flag emblem is from one of my favorite cars, a 1955 T-Bird, and below it, we added classic-styled tank-pads. We also added fork gators, a fat laced front wheel, solid back wheel, Race-Tech suspension, Lyndal Racing floating brake rotors, Magura hydraulic clutch, a rare H-D headlight nacelle, H-D performance rear suspension, Screaming Eagle hi-flow air cleaner, Dynojet Thunder Slide carb kit, Screaming Eagle slip on mufflers. Even after fifteen years on the road, this thing still runs like a champ.

Lori Bently Law - Harley-Davidson Babes Ride Out

Favorite trip to date: Three-weeks searching for the oldest Route 66 alignments with my best feller, riding from California to Chicago—both of us on Sportsters—and then up to Milwaukee. No windshield. No saddlebags. Just miles of pure joy and exploration.

Lori Bently Law - Harley-Davidson Babes Ride Out

You’ve been coming to Babes Ride Out for quite some time. Tell us about your personal experiences there: I’ve been to four Babes Ride Out events and I swear, it never gets old. BRO is truly the best weekend of the year. I’m not a rider with a pack. I tend to be a loner or ride with my feller. BRO gets me social. Every year I’ve ridden to BRO with someone different and each time had the most amazing experience. Every year I make new friends, get silly, laugh, go on adventures, bond, and reconnect. There’s no judging, no posturing, no cattiness. BRO has this incredible purity that can’t be matched. There’s no way to accurately describe what the weekend does for my soul. Last year was particularly meaningful since it fell just before I left a career of 24 years with NBC. Being with my pals was the perfect way to usher in my new life.

Any advice for ladies looking to take on two wheels? Put aside your fear, go to a class and learn the right way, and then get on your motorcycle and take a hundred mile trip. Seriously. No little jaunts about town. Put some miles under your tires in one day. Guarantee by day’s end, you will have connected with your machine and the road and you will fall in love.

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Ready to roll? Click HERE for location where you can learn to ride

Want to get more info on the 1200? Click HERE

Roll Call | Lori Bentley Law

Roll CallAshmore EllisComment

Meet Lori Bentley Law @motordolls ! She is the mastermind behind the awesome NBC feature on Babes Ride Out 3. We first met Lori at a gas station (duh). We were headed home from one of our many meetings in Joshua Tree and we were pumping our gas when we hear someone call out ” Hey, are you Babes Ride Out”? We both turned around and ended up chatting with Lori and her husband Brian about their Joshua Tree home and their Route 66 Motor Palace project, their fleet of motorcycles they own and all the other really cool things that this awesome couple has going on in their lives. Lori seemed so passionate about her love for motorcycles and cars and we wanted to know more…….

 

Besides my day job as an NBC photojournalist, I’m an author, with several novels under my belt—all involving girls and their relationships with either classic cars or motorcycles. You’d think I could write about my own, but wow. The first draft bored me—although, one element shone through. I hadn’t intended this article to be a love story about my Sportster; it simply became that.

Between writing, work, and our Route 66 preservation project (the Motor Palace–a future motorcycle shop/hangout) there isn’t much time for big events, gatherings, or group rides. I’m not antisocial or shy, just simply never do them.

 

Going to a mega-event like Babes Ride Out pushed me outside my social comfort range. Surprisingly, I loved it–flitting from group-to-group in my loner-like way, shooting the news segment for NBC, meeting tons of new people, eyeballing all of those amazing motorcycles. Wow. So many great bikes.

As I stared out over the vast scope of the B.R.O campground from the perch high above, something struck me: My Chromester glowed like a Vegas showgirl in a sea of deconstructed patina. Dang. Talk about being out of fashion. I wondered, after eleven years together, was it time to give this motorcycle a makeover?

Let’s go back to the beginning and explore.

I had this boyfriend in high school, Psycho Mike, who late one night after his mom died went into a rage, put me in front of him on a borrowed beat-to-crap sport bike, and took off up a mountain road. He had no experience riding and I’m pretty sure planned to kill us. Thankfully, he didn’t, but I swore I’d never get on two wheels again.

And then I met Brian, a lifelong, third generation motorcyclist. Even his grandmother rode. After a long country excursion on the back of his ’78 BMW R80/7, I fell in love with both the bike and the boy. In ’95, I got my motorcycle license, and in ’98 married the boy.

Brian and me with 55 bmw r50

I’m damned stubborn when it comes to style and picked, for my first bike, one of the “worst motorcycles ever made” according to legendary Yamaha man Joey Brown who had the 1966 Yamaha YM1 in his motorcycle graveyard. He tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn’t budge. He shook his head as he took my 300 bucks and said, “Just remember, I told you so.”

Twenty years later I still own that two-stroke, 305cc motorcycle. It has more hours of labor than all of our motorcycles combined (and we have a lot). Still, the bike has never made it more than about ten miles before something happens. Not exactly practical. Nor was the ‘77 Triumph Bonneville I could only sometimes kick-start. Or the plated ’76 Honda TL125 that shouldn’t be on the street (although man, what a blast on the dirt).

Nine years of impractical choices later, Brian had enough. In 2004, he bought me a brand new Sportster 1200R, whether I wanted it or not. I did not.I let the motorcycle sit in the garage. First off, Harleys had never been my thing, and second, the bike felt SO top heavy.He customized the Sportster anyway, enticing me with the kind of vintage features I loved, such as tank pads and fork gators. He chromed the tank like a BSA and added a 1955 Ford Thunderbird emblem. He made many upgrades, like RaceTech suspension, LRB brakes, and an hydraulic clutch.

Occasionally I took the bike out, but I wasn’t feeling it. As a compromise, Brian brought home a used ’04 Bonneville, with styling I liked and modern components–like electric start.Still, Brian wanted me on the Harley. Finally I gave the bike an honest try. We headed out on a 150 mile ride to one of our favorite spots, Joshua Tree, and at last the Sportster and I clicked.Over the ten years following that bonding ride, the Chromester has been the catalyst for some of my most memorable life experiences, like our three-week exploration of Route 66 from California to Illinois and then up to Wisconsin. The old alignments sometimes turned to dust under our tires, we often got lost trying to keep track of the road, but the Chromester never stumbled. Anyone who tells you touring on a Sportster is impossible doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The trip did something to me. Changed my perspective somehow. Being on a motorcycle day after day, exploring and discovering, bonds you in a really dramatic way. My Sportster became a part of me during those three weeks.So here I am now at the beginning of 2016, eleven years after first getting the Sportster, and contemplating a makeover.

Knowing this, Brian surprised me with a new Sportster tank for Christmas, a blank slate to customize at my will, as I did my ’48 Ford. At first, the idea excited me, but when I thought of deconstructing the Chromester, I got sick to my stomach. Fashion may come and go, but that motorcycle and I have too much history, too many miles, to simply make her over into something new. We have other bikes for that. Years from now, I want to sit on that beautiful machine and remember every mile, remember the thoughtfulness Brian put into designing her for me, remember every experience big and small, and cherish all of the adventures behind us and the ones that lay ahead. She and I can be old ladies together, blazing down the road, flaws and all, no makeovers needed.

So hey… anyone want to buy a brand new Sportster tank? Swell as the gift was, the Chromester won’t be needing it.