The best of motorcycling in 2022 with Natalie Cuomo
Lyrics by Natalie Cuomo
Pictures of John Cafaro
Special thanks to The custom historical tattoo created in 1984
For our annual motorcycle issue, we went to comedian and bike enthusiast Natalie Cuomo for their top picks. And boy, did she deliver. These bikes and bike accessories are truly top notch – plus, there’s just enough time to grab them before the summer ends. Take a look at Natalie Cuomo’s picks and let us know what you’re riding in the comments section on social media.
Indian Super Chef 2022 Limited
The classic Indian Super Chief Limited is perfect for long drives and late nights. Equipped with the award-winning Thunderstroke 116 motor, producing 120 lb-ft of torque, this ergonomic machine has the ferocious power to bury the needle and satisfy the need for speed. The cruiser is ideal for long distances, with the agility to tackle the precision required in urban areas. Its twin-coil shock absorbers take the jolt out of any bump in the road, and its dash features one of Indian’s newest technologies, Ride Command, a four-inch round touchscreen designed to have the analog tune and stay true to the nostalgic aesthetic. With Ride Command, the rider can access GPS, music, speedometer, tachometer, bike info, and ride info to effortlessly change ride modes and more. With one-button start, the Indian Super Chief Limited is as easy to drive as it is to fall in love with.
Indian Scout 2022
This custom 2022 Indian Scout is a nostalgic appeal to traditional cruisers with modern upgrades focused on peak performance and sparkling red paint that reflects the sun. The Scout’s 1133cc V-twin engine is full of character and sounds like thunder on the road. Powering down the road with 100 horsepower, this bike has an authentic feel and an all-American riding position that can’t be beat. Forward controls, smooth shifting and well-spaced handlebars are among the user-friendly features. Minimal suspension front and rear makes the Indian Scout more suited to the road than urban landscapes, but a thicker front tire contributes to a smoother ride, allowing that extra rubber to be a good shock buffer between the pilot and the road.
Packtalk Bold by Cardo Systems
Packtalk Bold from Cardo Systems is a MESH and Bluetooth communication system. It clips onto the biker’s helmet and allows him to listen and communicate with other bikers during his ride. Packtalk Bold uses advanced Dynamic MESH Communication technology, unique in the way it automatically reconnects when a rider enters and out of range. Designed with simplicity and convenience in mind, the completely hands-free Packtalk Bold features 13 hours of battery life and automatic volume control determined by external ambient noise. Other features include preset radio stations, Bluetooth phone connection, music and private communication or full intercom with up to 15 other people on the ride. Packtalk Bold by Cardo System makes a community-based solo activity fun!
Stealth Gloves by Thrashin Supply Company
Thrashin Supply Company’s Stealth Gloves are the gloves I’ve been riding in this season. They are durable yet lightweight and have good stretch for comfort. These gloves are made with breathable materials, making them perfect for riding in hot weather. They are cut low with a simple Velcro strap, which avoids any excess bunching around the wrist. They almost have a glove-free feel, as they move with my fingers in a way that bulkier gloves aren’t able to. Stealth Gloves have touchscreen compatible fingers. This allows riders to use their touchscreen dashboard, Go-Pro and mounted phone. When the ride is over, throw the gloves in your back pocket and you’ll barely know they’re there!
Harley Davidson Dyna Low Rider 2005
This bike is filled with soul. Built for performance and customized by my good friend Sam Hambrick, the 2005 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider is an agile bike, perfect for getting around town with just the right amount of power under the saddle. With a 98 cubic inch motor (upgraded from stock 88), this bike roars with full-bodied power. Hambrick’s Dyna Low Rider’s improved suspension allows it to sit higher, which allows for better handling and deeper leans into corners. Hambrick remade the front end, which allows the bike to be more stable at higher speeds and eliminates the infamous “Dyna wobble.” Compared to more contemporary bikes offered by Harley-Davidson, the 2005 Dyna Low Rider most closely resembles the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST. In its most recent model, Harley-Davidson has addressed the rider’s desire for a taller ride, bigger engine and larger air intake.
Custom Helmet of Destruction
My Custom Destruction helmet is such a source of joy. Custom made for me, with a shiny black painted exterior and plush cheetah print interior, this helmet is everything I’ve ever wanted. It is a 3/4 helmet, which gives it a vintage feel with improved comfort and safety features. There are many high-tech headsets on the market with all the buttons and frills, but I like this headset because it’s simple. I put it on and I don’t feel like I’m wearing a helmet, but I’m still protecting myself. The wide variety of shell and liner options offered by Custom Destruction gives the rider the ability to express themselves while using a DOT certified product. Owned and operated by veterans, Custom Destruction executes all helmets with the highest degree of quality and attention to detail.
why i ride
By Natalie Cuomo
When I’m behind bars, it’s just me, the bike and the road. Motorcycles have always been like an escape to a more truthful reality, nothing has ever lit my head more easily. The relationship I have developed with motorcycles is something personal, unique, almost nurturing. Motorcycles became my identity, my way of expressing myself, because they had become such a necessary and vibrant source to escape the darkness of this world.
The wind in my hair, the thoughts racing through my mind so quickly they dissolve into permanent meaninglessness. It is a pure experience, a pure joy.
I was first drawn to motorcycles through an ex-boyfriend. He had a 1976 Ironhead. He taught me everything I know about customizing motorcycles, the magic behind hours in the garage, building a bike from a frame. Buying and swapping parts to make the bike perform the best way for my performance, handling and styling preferences. We spent hours in the garage and I looked at him in amazement. I rode in the back of his helicopter, uncomfortable as hell, my seat humming and falling over almost every pothole in the road and yet there was no greater joy. It was a real romance. It was about the journey, not the destination. I then learned to ride and eventually bought my first big girl bike, a 1985 Ironhead that needed a lot of attention. I was planning to go for a ride and the whole day was stopping because the clutch cable broke, and there I would be in the middle of nowhere, googling bike shops, unrolling the tool belt, getting from the deli to the nearest deli, crouch down, fix the bike, and find your way back. I quickly realized that I was not cut out for the vintage motorcycle life. I didn’t know the mechanics of motorcycles as well, and for me the joy was in the riding, not so much in this relationship between building and repairing.
I have a reserved love and respect for those who customize their bikes. Even more so for riders who are able to make these modifications themselves. It’s starting to become an obsession: riding the bike as the best possible version of himself. It’s a matter of personal preference. Know how you like to ride and make those adjustments accordingly.
I’m a city dweller, but I love riding in nature. I ride to get out of my head, to get out of my own way. There is no greater feeling, no greater power than being behind bars and knowing in my heart that no other time exists other than the here and now. It’s exhilarating, the thrill of going 180 km/h, and I can’t help but smile as the sound of the engine fills my ears and my hands vibrate with the machine.
Motorcycles appeal to a very specific type of person. Those who seek this level of intimacy with themselves and the road have very tender hearts. Although bikers are known to have very tough exteriors, there’s no way to ride without being confronted with the deepest truths of what it means to be alive. Facing these truths hardens you and allows you to live even more fully. Riding is a mediation, and those who ride share this meditation together.
The inked playlist
When Natalie gets on her bike and goes for a long ride, it’s the songs that carry her through the day.
Nine inch nails
“Ball with Butterfly Wings”
My dear love
“You Should Never”
“Every 1 is a winner”
“Everything Is Embarrassing”