George Riddles didn’t want to wait for Steve Jobs to get Harley-happy in retirement for Apple to catch up to his idea. Instead George took it upon himself to integrate the Apple iPad with both the sound system and the design of his Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
“It sounds like you’re in a theater,” George says of the system, which he control with either his Apple iPad or iPhone. “It’s really something different and is great for show, to be seen and heard.” Not only that, but it’s also great for relaxing. “The iPad is perfect for playing a particular movie or something with your honey over by the lake,” he adds with a laugh. He also enjoys getting together for club rides and cranking up the bass before the crew heads out.
“I really wanted to do something to show how technology is leading the world, even on motorcycles,” he says. George’s ahead-of-the curve plan has proven pretty practical, because both the iPad and iPhone accompany him into restaurants or wherever else he makes a stop—perhaps somewhere in Cupertino? It’s not just a bike accessory.
George uses the iPad for entertainment when stationary and wirelessly controls the system with his iPhone when running around his beloved Chi-town. The system mimics the stereo found in the ’08 Ferrari: two pairs of Hertz 6x5 speakers, two pairs of Hertz 6x9s, Hertz tweeters, and an Alpine amp. Of course there are additional custom accessories, “to give it that unbelievable, quality sound,” George says. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing bikes don’t have windows.
With the iPhone, George has the capability of using apps like Pandora, accessing radio stations, following voice-prompting navigation tools, and of course, listening to a large quantity of his favorite music. When it comes to George, there’s always a bold soundtrack to match his wild red ride.
Red rover, red rover, send that shade right over. George specially ordered the Ferrari hue to match the iconic car brand. And while George wanted an “Aztec” look for the graphics, he chose to go with larger tribal designs rather than the customary smaller styles, seeking a stronger look. And just in case that Ferrari red isn’t shiny enough, the pearlescent tribal paint adds an extra bit of bling.
George’s custom beauty wouldn’t be complete without an ostrich leather seat—hand-stitched by his own company, Millennium Designs. The custom tailoring and embroidery shop creates all kinds of clothing but caters to the motorcycling crowd and knows how to work intricately with leather. George’s favorite projects include custom motorcycle vests, jackets, and the like. George has seen production requests increase over the years as more and more people take pride in their rides, their clubs, and the sport overall. “I’ve been doing this for almost 22 years and have made nearly 500 different kinds of motorcycle club vests,” he says. “In the past six or seven years, people have just gone crazy, and vests have become a whole different ballgame with different textures and different cuts. I’ve been riding bikes since I was eight years old, and it’s been fun to see the sport really come to life over the years.”
George’s first bike was a dirtbike, but like many enthusiasts, George’s tastes changed over the years, and he’s made the transition from sportbikes to Harleys. He’s owned a total of four Harleys, including a Street Glide and an all-chrome ’04 Road King Classic. “When you’re young, you like the attitude and power of a Mustang and when you get older you like the class and comfort of the Cadillac,” George says of the natural transition that many people make. His detailed custom leatherwork has no doubt played a part, as well. “You get into a mode where you appreciate value and quality,” he says. “That’s as important as style, and with Harley you get that.”
In no way does George see himself as a trend follower or a trendsetter. By including an iPad and an iPhone with his bike design, he isn’t trying to be anything but himself. Sure, it’s new and flashy, but the bottom line is that George is a self-described music fanatic, and what better way to get what he wants than with the latest and greatest combinations in sound and technology? The result: “The sound is phenomenal,” he says. “And the ride is like a flying red carpet!” B