Words by Natalie Cuomo
Photos by John Cafaro
Special Thanks to The Historic Custom Tattoo est. 1984
For our annual moto issue, we went to comedian and bike enthusiast Natalie Cuomo for her top picks. And boy, did she deliver. These bikes and bike accessories are seriously top notch—plus there's just enough time to grab them before the summer is over. Take a look at Natalie Cuomo's picks and let us know what you're riding in the comments section on social media.
2022 Indian Super Chief Limited
The classically beautiful Indian Super Chief Limited is perfect for long rides and late nights. Equipped with the award-winning thunderstroke 116 engine—producing 120 ft-lb 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 dual coil-spring shocks take the jolt out of any bump in the road and its dashboard is fitted with one of Indian’s newest technologies, Ride Command, a four-inch round touchscreen display designed to look analog and stay true to nostalgic aesthetics. Through Ride Command, the rider can access GPS, music, speedometer, tachometer, bike info and ride info to effortlessly change ride modes and more. With a one-button push start, the Indian Super Chief Limited is as easy to ride as it is to fall in love with.
2022 Indian Scout
This custom 2022 Indian Scout is a nostalgic call to traditional cruisers with modern enhancements geared toward optimal performance and sparkling red paint that reflects the sun. The Scout's 1133cc V-twin engine is chock-full of character and sounds like thunder on the road. Pummeling down the road with 100hp, this bike has an authentic feel and all-American riding stance that cannot be beat. Forward controls, smooth gear shifts and well-spaced handlebars are among the user-friendly features. The minimal suspension on both the front and back end make the Indian Scout more fit for the open road than urban landscapes, but a thicker front tire contributes to a smoother ride, allowing that extra rubber to be a nice shock buffer between the rider and the road.
Packtalk Bold by Cardo Systems
Packtalk Bold by Cardo Systems is a MESH and bluetooth communication system. It clips on to the rider’s helmet and allows them to listen to and communicate with other riders on their journey. Packtalk Bold uses the advanced technology of Dynamic MESH Communication, unique in the way it automatically reconnects when a rider goes in and out of range. Designed with simplicity and practicality in mind, the completely hands-free Packtalk Bold boasts a 13-hour battery life and automatic volume control determined by external ambient noise. Other features include preset radio stations, bluetooth connection to phone, music and private communication or full intercom with up to 15 others on the ride. Packtalk Bold by Cardo System makes a solo activity communal and fun!
Stealth Gloves by Thrashin Supply Company
Stealth Gloves by Thrashin Supply Company are the gloves I’m riding with this season. They’re durable yet lightweight and have a good stretch to them for comfort. These gloves are made with breathable materials, making them perfect for riding in warm weather. They are low cut with a simple Velcro strap, which prevents any excess bunching around the wrist. They have almost a gloveless feel, as they move with my fingers in a way that bulkier gloves are not capable of. Stealth Gloves have touchscreen-capable fingertips. This allows for riders to use their touchscreen dash, Go-Pro and mounted phone. When the ride is finished, throw the gloves in your back pocket and you’ll barely know they’re there!
2005 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider
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 beneath the seat. With a 98 cubic-inch motor (upgraded from the stock 88), this bike roars with full-bodied power. The upgraded suspension on Hambrick’s Dyna Low Rider lets him sit higher, allowing for better handling and deeper leans into turns. Hambrick redid the front end, which enables the bike to be more stable in higher speeds and eliminates the infamous “Dyna wobble.” When compared to the more contemporary bikes offered by Harley-Davidson, the 2005 Dyna Low Rider is most similar to the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST. In its most recent model, Harley-Davidson answered the rider's desire for a higher riding stance, a larger motor and a bigger breather intake.
Custom Destruction Helmet
My Custom Destruction helmet is such a source of joy. Custom-made for me, with a sparkling black painted exterior and a plush cheetah-print interior, this helmet is everything I’ve ever wanted. It’s a 3/4 helmet, giving it a vintage feel along with enhanced comfort and safety features. There are plenty of high-tech helmets on the market with all the buttons and frills, but I love this helmet 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 an opportunity to express themselves while still using a DOT-certified product. Veteran-owned and -operated, 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 the bars, it’s just me, the bike and the open road. Motorcycles have always felt like an escape into a more truthful reality, nothing has ever cleared my head more effortlessly. The relationship I 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 for escaping the darkness of this world.
The wind through my hair, the thoughts racing through my mind so quickly that they dissolve into permanent insignificance. It is pure experience—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 spending hours in the garage, building a bike up from a frame. Buying and trading parts so that the bike would perform in a way that was most suited for my performance, handling, and stylistic preferences. We’d spend hours in the garage, and I’d watch him in amazement. I’d ride on the back of his chopper, uncomfortable as hell, my seat buzzing, and almost falling off with every pothole in the road and yet, there was no greater joy. It was true romance. It was about the journey, and not about the destination. I then learned how to ride and eventually bought my first big girl bike, a 1985 Ironhead that needed a lot of TLC. I would plan for a ride and the entire day would come to a halt because the clutch cable broke, and there I’d be in the middle of nowhere, googling bike shops, unrolling the tool belt, getting cold cuts from the nearest deli, hunkering down, fixing the bike and finding a way home. I quickly learned that I wasn’t suited for the vintage bike life. I wasn’t as well-versed in motorcycle mechanics, and for me, the joy was in the ride, not so much in that relationship between building and fixing.
I have a reserved love and respect for those who customize their motorcycles. Even more so for bikers who are able to perform those modifications themselves. It starts to become an obsession: making the bike the best version of itself it can possibly be. It’s a matter of personal preference. Knowing how you like to ride, and making those adjustments accordingly.
I’m a city dweller, but I love to ride in nature. I ride to get out of my head, to get out of my own way. There’s no greater feeling, no greater power, than being behind the bars, and knowing in my heart that no other moment exists other than the here and now. It’s exhilarating, the thrill of going 110 mph, and I can’t help but smile as the sound of the engine fills my ears and my hands vibrate with the machine.
Motorcycles attract a very specific type of person. Those who seek out this level of intimacy with themselves and the road have a very soft heart. Though bikers are known to have a very tough exterior, there is no way to ride without being faced with the deepest truths of what it means to be alive. Facing those truths hardens you and allows you to live even more fully. Riding is a mediation, and those who ride share that meditation together.
The Inked Playlist
When Natalie gets on her bike and heads out for a long ride, these are the songs that carry her through the day.
Nine Inch Nails
“Bullet with Butterfly Wings”
My Bloody Valentine
“You Never Should”
“Every1’s a Winner”
“Everything Is Embarrassing”