Rolling Tribute: Stephen Talarico

It's been called a small company with a big heart - the Manchester based DIRICO Motorcycles USA gives support to a number of organizations that company owner Stephen Talarico sees as needing a boost. The latest is the New England Warrior Benefit. Talarico was commissioned to build five motorcycles, four of them representing each of the branches of the military's Special Operations Command and the other one No Greater Sacrifice. They'll be auctioned off in Boston on July 3, the proceeds benefiting the foundations associated with the Special Operations Command.

Talarico, a Milford resident, started building custom motorcycles in 2001 and founded his company six years later. His distant cousin ("four or five generations back") Steven Tyler is what Talarico calls "the celebrity face behind the brand." (Tyler's real last name is Tallarico. His family kept the two Ls.) The rock superstar helps with paint and design selections and, Talarico says, "he loves to road-test the various models."

How are the different branches of the military represented on the bikes?

Each bike has its own specific theme related to the Special Operations Command.

You're auctioning off the bikes. Where will the proceeds go?

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be equally divided between the Navy SEAL Foundation, US Army Wounded Warrior Project, US Air Force Special Operations Warrior Foundation, US Marine Semper Fi Fund and No Greater Sacrifice, a fund to educate the children of all Special Operations Soldiers.

Why Special Forces in particular?

I was invited to attend the funeral for the Navy SEAL Team Six team that went down in the helicopter in Afghanistan back in August of 2011. Twenty-one young men left 20 children and three unborn fatherless. With so much support for our troops, nobody was doing anything specifically for the Special Operations Command.

You're very supportive of veterans' causes even though you're not a veteran yourself. Why?

Because I believe we all owe an enormous debt to the men and women who have unselfishly risked their lives for our continued safety.

How are the motorcycles you make different?

Every other custom motorcycle manufacturer builds bikes that look cool but don't ride well. DIRICO motorcycles are engineered to ride, much like a high-end performance automobile.

Ever dream of being the subject of a reality show like "American Chopper"?

Not me. I wouldn't make much of an exciting subject.

What's the best motorcycle song, film, TV show of all time?

"Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf would probably be the most recognizable song. "Easy Rider" and "On Any Sunday" for film.

What's the best place to ride in NH?

The Kancamagus between Lincoln and North Conway is always a favorite.

Does having the same name as a superstar relative present challenges, opportunities?

Challenges only at airports when the gate thinks [Steven] Tyler is showing up for the flight and then realizes it's just me.

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