There are a few men in history who have truly earned the right to call themselves “daredevils.” Sure, anyone with enough practice can pull off a trick or two, but it’s that drive to push boundaries for the love of the crowd that separates the tricksters from the real-deal showmen. Broken bones and trashed bikes are only part of the price for those who want to be remembered in history as the best, even after their tricks have long been surpassed. Evel Knievel jumps might have been beaten, but his legendary persona never will. Along those lines, Jason Pullen has that same desire to do what can’t be done no matter what—for the price of a clap and smile.
How did you get started doing tricks on Harleys?
JP: I was racing supermoto and at the time was in third place in points when I blew my bike up in practice. I was so pissed off and happened to have my FXR with me. I had just gotten off the podium and lost the whole year thanks to that motor. On the same venue there were some streetbike guys doing wheelies. I had seen a little bit on TV and in magazines but had never seen it person. I walked to the promoter and asked what it was going to take to let me do some burnouts and blow some steam off. He asked me what I was going to do on that Harley FXR. At that time my burnouts were 3 feet long, and my wheelies were 2 feet high. I went out there and my adrenaline took over, and I was 12-o’clockin’-it within 10 minutes. I went up too high on accident and scraped the tail and said, “Whoa, that wasn’t bad.” I ended up ripping the fender off and got way past vertical. My burnouts went from 2 feet to 200 feet with the bars going from bar lock to bar lock. I shut everybody down. Not saying I was a better rider, but everybody stopped and said, “Who is this nutcase on this Harley?” I ended up in like four magazines. Right then I said bye to supermoto. I went home and started selling all my supermoto stuff. I began riding the FXR and practiced doing wheelies. I picked up a [Honda] XR100 and started learning circles and saved up and got a Sportster.
Why ride a Harley?
JP: When I was young I always used to have beat-up bikes, and they were always extremely heavy. For some reason when I’m on the Harley it feels weightless. It feels like a 200-pound bike, if that. I don’t let the weight get in my way. Then I just transferred over a lot of flat track, supermoto, and dirt bike skills. I just ignore the fact the bike is that heavy and execute the trick. People ask me how I do it. I just say, “If you think about it, you can do it. Now go.”
I don’t think there is an advantage to riding a Harley, except the crowd loves it. A lot of people are amazed at what I do, and there are a lot of up-and-coming guys right now, and that’s good! I’m not saying I’m Billy Badass and I’m the best; some people call me the godfather, and that’s cool, but I’m just a regular guy who’s having some fun. I got my own style. I’ve always liked to be different no matter what I do. Maybe it’s to prove everybody wrong. When I first started they would tell me get a Honda or a Suzuki, and I’d be like no! I’m going to bring a Harley. They’d say it can’t be done and you can only do so much. That just gave me the drive to keep on pushing and establish who I am today. Even on the drift car I’m building, people tell me to buy a Nissan 240, and I’m like no, I’m going to slide a ’72 Camaro. It’s a tank, but it’s going to be sideways. I like all American. I like a lot of other stuff, but I like all American.
What is it that motivates you to ride so hard?
JP: Growing up I was fascinated with Evel Knievel and . I was in love with Daisy Duke. Evel Knievel would do these crazy jumps on TV. I had his toys and I do them too, running the toys into the wall. “That’s how Evel does it, right?” I’d say. He showed me that if you want do something, no matter how many times you fall, get up and keep trying. He would jump, crash, jump, crash, but he would keep jumping. It’s just drive. People have always asked me how many times I have fallen. I used to get a little upset about that and would want them to pay attention to my riding instead. I would just say, “How many times do football players get tackled?” Out of the thousands of times that I have fallen, I have not fallen on soft cement yet.
How does your bike differ from a stock bike?
JP: The bike is pretty set up. I got a hand brake, went up a couple teeth in the rear sprocket to give a little more get-up, and also be able to slow it down to do the circles. A lot of people email me and say they want my setup. I don’t want to sound like an ass, but you got to learn how to ride your bike. I learned how to ride mine. Someone can’t just get on my bike and do what I do. I set it up for me. I’ve also spent thousands and thousands of hours of practicing. I would get home from work every night, eat dinner, and go practice for the next weekend. My best advice is to practice with a small amount of people. When you get out in front of people, only do the tricks that you know. You don’t want to fall, and you always want to look good.
If you haven’t become rich like Evel doing this, what motivates you to keep going?
JP: I still have a nine-to-five. I’m a repair technician for a real-estate company. Basically I fix broken stuff. I don’t plan to go very high with this. It would be awesome to make a lot of money and be famous, but I built a pretty good backing with my name. It makes me feel good. When I was younger I used to get in fights, and my mom would call and start crying. Now it’s like, “Hey, check it out! I’m in a magazine or on TV!” The smile I give her now is paying back for all the times she tried. It feels so good. Sorry, Ma!
Any thank-yous or shout-outs?
JP: I can only ride the bike the way I ride it because of my sponsors. First and foremost Modesto Harley, A&A Racing, Speed and Strength, Curby Insurance, The Law Firm, Hella High Clothing, Stay Tuned Entertainment, Sik Industries, ASV, Lyndall Brakes, Motion Pro, John “Dewy” Ippolito, Mom and Dad, and my monkey Ange. Let’s go do some wheelies!