Evil Ethel. A High Octane Victory Customized By Who?

Ethel00Ethel3Ethel2bisEthel13Ethel14Launched in February as a Modern American Muscle model, the 2017 Victory Octane is not only a rush of adrenaline when you ride it, but also a great platform for customization. Quite a few pro-custom builders are currently working on it with the objective to reinforce its agressive stance, most of them logically choosing the Café Racer style approach. The Victory Octane featured here, one of the first to be completed, was taken from stock to custom using a different designing route.

Ethel8Ethel10Ethel12Ethel12bisWhen I interviewed him, the builder in question told me: “My normal way of thinking is, if everybody is turning left, left, left, then I’m gonna turn right, right, right. If they eventually start turning right, then I’m gonna to turn left or back up. What I had in mind for this project was something from my “evil side”. When I told my wife about it, she reminded me that I didn’t have an evil side. She always tells me that I am too much of a nice guy… We have 3 Old English Sheepdogs & the youngest one is called Ethel. So, I call this custom Octane “Evil Ethel the Demon Dog”…

Ethel0Ethel5Ethel6Surprise, and you must admit you could not guess. The professional builder behind this project is friend of the industry Rick Fairless from Strokers Dallas. A man whose personality was influenced and forged during the San Francisco Haight Ashbury’s counterculture movement of the 1960’s. A builder whose fans still enjoy seeing him build outrageous bikes painted in a dazzling array of colors while listening to the Grateful Dead’s early music, and of course dressed on a daily basis wearing classic tie-dye tee shirts of this past era. So what happened to Rick to explain this 180-degree turn building style? “The first time I saw the new Victory Octane, I really, really dug it and had right away lots of ideas on how I would change it” says Rick.

Ethel4And since I don’t want to betray Rick’s words and “evil thoughts”, follows what he told me: “I had a very specific idea for this “Evil Octane”. I imagined it as a very tough “Street Fighting” woman. The first thing I wanted was fat front & rear tires. With my crew we went for a 240 mm in the rear & an unusual 180 mm one up front. In the back we incorporated the rear brake into the rear pulley. That way the “A” side of Ethel remains visually uncluttered. I wanted to keep the basic look of the Octane, so we took the stock sheetmetal & widened the front fender 5/8” and the rear fender 2”. I worked with a company from down in Texas to help us build a custom “holed” Girder front end. This Girder adds the perfect look & feel that I wanted for Ethel. We built theses cool wheels to add to the “Mean Broad” look. I ditched the stock radiator cover & we fabricated a new one with a Hot Rod feel to it. Obviously we built many other one-off parts.”

Ethel7Ethel111“For the exhaust, I wanted something really different and “wacked out”, looking to create something I had never seen done before on a motorcycle. To mimic a mean looking Hot Rod header, we built a 2 into 4 into 1 (2/4/1) system. It a very time consuming process with many trials and errors. I was anxious about the result, but it looks right, sounds great and makes the bike run awesome. For paint I wanted a “been around the block” look, which is, as you know, a complete departure from my usual flashy style.

OctaneshockOctanefenderThe analogy I used to my painter was this: “Say we have a beautiful girl with a great figure wearing beautiful clothes. She’s wearing beautiful makeup & her hair is perfect. Now we take that same beautiful gal & put her in some darker, rougher looking clothes. She is not wearing makeup & her hair is a mess. And oh, by the way, one of her front teeth is knocked out! She’s still the same beautiful woman, but now she’s a tough looking, street fighting broad! That’s the description I gave to my painter. So, we decided to paint Ethel black, then cover the black with silver. Then we took a wire brush & went to town scratching up the paint to bring the black & silver together, then sealed with a flat clear coat. Perfect!”

rfoctaneNow that you read about Rick Fairless’ “evil” side, don’t be surprised if he makes a few more projects in this unusual style for him. At a very attractive MSRP of $10,500 he knows that the Victory Octane is a very desirable, fun to ride, muscled-up midsize cruiser. So, he created his own line of Octane custom parts at RF Custom Parts.

And for the faithful lovers of his “normal” side, don’t fear. Rick will also continue to build “free form”, Grateful Dead’s “psychedelic music” inspired custom motorcycles. No worry you all. Last time I met with Rick in Sturgis – and it was just after the completion of “Evil Ethel” – he was wearing one of his hundreds multi-colored tie-dye shirts. Relief…  Strokers Dallas. (photography @ Jason Ulsrud Photoillustrator)

Evil Ethel Specs

Builder: Rick Fairless Strokers Dallas & RF Custom Parts
Owner: Rick Fairless
2017 Victory Octane
Motor: Victory 1179cc’s Liquid Cooled 60 degree V-Twin
Tranny: Victory 6 Speed
Front Wheel: 18” x 5.5”
Rear Wheel: 18” x 8.5”
Front Tire: Dunlop 18” 180mm
Rear Tire: Dunlop 18” 240mm
Front Fender: Vic – Widened 5/8”
Rear Fender: Vic – Shaved & Widened 2”
Side Bags: RF Custom Parts
Fender Struts: RF Custom Parts
Headlight: RF Custom Grill
Taillight: Custom Made – RF Custom Parts
Rear Suspension: Victory Piggyback Shocks with RF Custom Lowing Blocks
Front Forks Girder – RF Custom Parts & Voodoo Vintage
Exhaust: RF Custom Parts – 2 into 4 into 1
Handlebars: RF Custom Parts
Seat: RF Custom Parts
Pegs: RF Custom Parts
Belt Guard: RF Custom Parts
License Bracket: RF Custom Parts
Gauge Mount: RF Custom Parts
Headlight Mount: RF Custom Parts
Fairing Mount: RF Custom Parts
Rock Guard: RF Custom Parts
Grips: RF Custom Parts
Shift Sleeve: RF Custom Parts
Skid Plate: RF Custom Parts
Clutch Arm Cover: RF Custom Parts
Radiator Grill: RF Custom Parts
Cheese Wedge: RF Custom Parts
Bolt Covers: RF Custom Parts

34 Responses to “Evil Ethel. A High Octane Victory Customized By Who?”

  1. 1 Martin Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Pretty good.

  2. 2 P. Hamilton Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Doesn’t look like Fairless and much better than usual.

  3. 3 Keith Schneider Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Don’t know him but he must be a very unusual character. I like this Octane.

  4. 4 Tommy Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:19 am

    The Indian Scout & Victory Octane look a lot alike. Customized, this Octane gets its own personality. Great.

  5. 5 BobS Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I dig it. I’d prefer some USD forks and performance exhaust, but the bike looks great.

  6. 6 SIGFREED Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:34 am

    The shop ‘Prospect’ must have “volunteered” to wrap the pipes…

  7. 7 JohnJohn Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Rick Fairless lives in another world. Glad he came back to ours to build a very nice bike.

  8. 8 Roger Burke Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Hey, Rick. Now show us what you can do on a Scout without looking like the other Scouts.

  9. 9 pj98rider Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Really nice creative stretch. Pipes are super cool.

  10. 10 18Bravo Sep 5th, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Good thing not TOO many people have bashed it. Maybe this article will last more than a day…

  11. 11 JohnnySpeed Sep 5th, 2016 at 9:26 am

    It’s still any ugly ass Victory. The tank is ugly and damn near impossible to change, the frame is just gross looking and has zero flow, the radiator is enormous and hideous and for a supposed “muscle” bike it sure is lacking in power and handling. Adding giant balloon wheels and tires like a billet barge from 2005 won’t make it handle any better either. All in all its a sheep in sheep’s clothing with a new paint job and some doo dads bolted on.

  12. 12 Brandon Sep 5th, 2016 at 9:31 am

    For whatever reason, johnny Speed is mad at Polaris. And I bet he never rode the Octane. So his opinion is not worth much.

  13. 13 Chris Sena Sep 5th, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I think it’s an awesome little sprinter.

  14. 14 seymour Sep 5th, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I dig it If it was mine I would make sure everyone saw that girder front tho

  15. 15 Brett Garner Sep 5th, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Great job Sir Fairless.

  16. 16 BobS Sep 5th, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Johnny Speed’s old lady left him for a Victory rider.

  17. 17 highrpm Sep 5th, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    i’m with you johnny speed. the bike has always had a “plus size” look. and then add fat tires, now its ++size. and the rear fender sits too high off the rear tire. and overdone “flat-sideness” to the fenders. sorry rick. if you start with sows ear, ….

  18. 18 James just another crazy kiwi Sep 5th, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Pity Viindian did not have combined water/ air cooling ie fins as so they could of reduced the size of the water tank .it dominates the bike

  19. 19 spaz Sep 5th, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Love it, Rick.

  20. 20 JohnnySpeed Sep 5th, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Brandon and Bob’s – So if i have a differing opinion it must be dismissed out of hand because I’m so “jealous” right?lol I just call them like I see them. I love a lot of the engineering aspects of the Polaris bikes and hate the styling and overall design choices and i hate how difficult it is to change out the sheet metal on them. I like having a variety of options when it comes to tanks and fenders. Not being stuck with stock because the bike’s frame is over engineered like Polaris’ designs. Mostly it’s disappointment on my part because as a domestic company I’m cheering them on as true competition for Harley and really hoping they come up with a bike that isn’t just an ugly Ness-ified mess.

  21. 21 nicker Sep 5th, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Sure would be more presentable if they ditched that cheesy “exhaust wrap”….

    IMHO anyway.


  22. 22 Jim Tom Sep 6th, 2016 at 5:42 am

    I love this custom Octane! Haters gonna hate. Let ’em. Just brings more exposure to the brand. Go Victory! Good job R. F.!

  23. 23 Charles Erickson Sep 6th, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Johnny Speed: Exactly. I couldn’t have said it better, so I won’t.

  24. 24 Matt W. Sep 6th, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Never would have guessed this was a Fairless build. I like some of the creative touches like the custom pipes.

  25. 25 Woody's Sep 6th, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I suppose JSpeeds first post had just enough bile for some folks to write it/him off with the boilerplate “hater” the way the race card has become popular with some folks, but I think he has some valid points and his second post shows that. While I’ve always enjoyed the earlier Strokers’ builds, this one doesn’t work for me at all. First thing I see is the 30’s-40’s Ford V* symbol with an extra circle on a cowcatcher and sadly, the Octane, like the Scout, doesn’t seem to lend itself to appealing customizing very well, at least not visually. Obviously this bike was meant to be a Victory commercial as well as a “custom” because nobody would have done all that nice work elsewhere on the bike yet kept the hideous tank w/Victory badge. Unless one pulls all the slab-sided tank/tins parts and starts over, the resulting bike never seems even as successful as the Rolls Royce hood/radiator kits on early Beetles.

  26. 26 Woody's Sep 6th, 2016 at 10:50 am

    meant, “30’s-40’s Ford V8 symbol “

  27. 27 18Bravo Sep 6th, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Roland Sands shloud be let loose on one. He did a damn fine job on several Indian Scouts. I have no doubt he could do the Octane justice. 0 for 2 this week, Mr. Fairless.

  28. 28 Blackmax Sep 6th, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Nice One !!!

  29. 29 Zenaldo Sep 6th, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    It ain’t tie-died psychedelic..Im not even a Victory guy, but it’s pretty cool..good move Ricky..

  30. 30 JustAKid Sep 6th, 2016 at 5:32 pm


    1. Ness isn’t involved with the Victory model design, they didn’t have any part in the design of the Octane as well. Their design has never been angled, so “Ness-Iffied” mess lacks factual basis and the mess adjective doesn’t quite match your over-engineered description of the bike. Quite contradicting

    2. As far as being underpowered, the Octane is in the 1200cc class which would be a Sportster competitor. If you do your homework the Octane engine has far greater numbers than a HD sportster.

    Personally I think the bike has potential but Victory could have done better. Not my favorite looks but I keep the fact in mind that its a price point beginner bike that for the money provides a solid engineered machine. I’ve rode the bike a few times and as far as function goes its a nice machine.

    Not to take a jab at ya JohnnySpeed nor do I think your opinion should be ignored but… All I’m saying is before you need to put such a strong negative opinion out there check all your facts….also, whether its Mr Fairless who put effort into this custom or an octane owner who takes pride in the bike they spent their hard earned money on it probably doesn’t feel too good reading your “keyboard warrior” trash talk

    Overall I think Fairless did a nice job considering the model he was working with. But what do I know, I’m just a kid who likes motorcycles. Have a good one…

  31. 31 Domino Sep 6th, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Rick Fairless should be happy that Cyril Huze give him such an awesome coverage. I think Fairless will have more credibility as a builder because of this custom Octane. i dig it.

  32. 32 Tony Davidson Dec 11th, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Need pipe like this for indian Scout?

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