Thrill-seeking, globe-trotting scribe Nic Stecher has been our copilot on many automotive adventures.
Turns out, he’s also an expert on motorcycles, which is hardly surprising; the man’s a voracious enjoyer of all things extremely fun and at least a little dangerous.
Thrill-seeking journo Nic Stecher’s new book on the world’s most iconic motorbikes
Stecher, creative director of Lost in a Supermarket and resident auto expert at NYLON Guys and AskMen, just co-authored The Impossible Collection of Motorcycles for luxury imprint Assouline—a compendium of the most iconic, sought-after and lust-worthy motorbikes the world has ever seen.
Included are the one-of-a-kind BMW R7; the 1948 Vincent Series Rapide that Rollie Free shattered the land speed record on while wearing only a bathing suit; the legendary 1969 Easy Rider chopper straddled by Peter Fonda; and Evel Knievel’s beloved 1973 Harley-Davidson XR750.
One-of-a-kind motorcycles and near-pornographic photography abound
The book costs $695—because it’s f**king enormous and beautifully bound, the photography is near-pornographic, and the text is as engaging as Stecher himself with a fistful of dollars in a foreign capital after midnight and several scotches.
We caught up with him recently to get the lowdown on his two-wheeled top of the pops:
What’s the best/coolest bike you’ve ever ridden?
That’s easy. My co-author on the Impossible Collection of Motorcycles was Ian Barry, the man behind Falcon Motorcycles. He let me ride his first bike, the Bullet, a couple years ago — just up and down the block.
The Falcon Bullet is the best and coolest bike Nic’s ever ridden
Only a couple hundred yards, but I was still petrified of dinging it in any way so it was actually more of a relief to get off of it unscathed. I have a great respect for Ian and his craftsmanship, artistic integrity and true brilliance in motorcycle design. You don’t get any better than that bike, in my humble opinion.
What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?
That would be on the Ducati Panigale on the 1st St bridge, Downtown LA, at about 3:00 in the morning.
We were shooting the bike for NYLON Guys, and I had to ride it between locations. It was the perfect place for lunatic speed because it’s a bridge over the LA River, so it’s almost totally straight with no place for A) cops to hide, and B) cars to come out of surprise blind spots and kill me.
‘I hit about 140 mph on a Ducati Panigale on a bridge over the LA River’
I hit about 140 mph, and it was one of the greatest thrills of my life. I think I stopped breathing and my heart stopped beating. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything like that again.
What would you take for a spin if you could choose any bike in the world?
Hmmm… that would probably be the Curtiss V-8, a bike included in the book. It’s one of those vehicular abominations that defy all common sense and social responsibility. Essentially a bicycle, which aeronautics mogul/madman Glenn Curtiss stuffed a 150-lb 4000cc V8 engine into.
Nic would love to get his gloves on the legendary Curtiss V-8
Talk about thrills — this was in 1907! The top speed it hit of 136 mph made it the fastest vehicle on earth—be it land, sea or air—until 1911, and it wasn’t surpassed by another motorcycle until 1930. That’s insane; imagine holding a speed record for over two decades. I’d probably die riding that bike, but what a way to go out.
Who’s your favorite motorcycle riding icon of all time?
Without a doubt, Evel Knievel. I know some people think he’s corny, and a show-off, but I implore any man out there who doesn’t know the history of Evel Knievel to please read up on this man.
He started off life as a safe cracker, went to jail for robbing a bank, kidnapped his future wife at 15-years-old, basically invented the profession of stunt riding, launched the careers of thousands of X-Gamers, broke more bones than any human being ever has, earned millions and millions of dollars, burned through them all, and after he retired, tried to sue the Nevada Gaming Commission to let him skydive onto a haystack.
‘Evel Knievel was a Grade-A American Rebel. That dude did not give a f**k’
Without a parachute. No joke. He was a 100% Grade-A American Rebel. That dude did not give a f**k.
- Posted February 07, 2014
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- Kerian / Courtesy Nic Stecher