Bad Bob the Night Train

This entry into the H-D dealer’s bike build-off competition focused on morphing a Fat Boy Lo into a very flash Night Train.

THE IDEA for an all-Harley-Davidson drag race meeting started with some HOG members bench racing in the parking lot. You know, a good natured ribbing about one guy’s Ultra being faster than another. The idea grew — it’s probably been in the making for a year or two — to the point that we started looking at available days at Sydney Dragway; as turned out, the only available day coincided with the annual Show ‘n’ Shine here at Harley-Davidson in Campbelltown NSW. It made sense to join the two together; make it one event on the same weekend.

We wanted to make it bigger than it might otherwise be so we got the other four Sydney Harley dealers involved in both the drag racing and building a custom bike for a competition between the dealers.

We had a really good turnout on the day — certainly that’s because we got all the HOG clubs involved — about 1000 spectators with 100 bikes racing. We were drag racing Harleys one after another all day long, and I am unaware of anybody breaking any parts. We had one rider go for a little skid but he got up and walked away so it’s pretty good track record.

It was really about getting the Harley folks to see how much fun drag racing is, and getting the drag racing community to see that there were a lot of Harley owners who would come and play.

For the bike build-off competition, the dealers collectively agreed that each bike would have a $50,000 limit using all Genuine Harley-Davidson Parts & Accessories with the exception of paint and exhausts.

We called our bike Bob from day one. It started life as a Fat Boy Lo. We stripped it down to the bare frame and sort of morphed it into a Night Train.

Harley has been making Typhoon wheels for a while but this set has an edge cut into them; it’s a brand new product. When I saw those wheels in the new product catalogue I fell in love with them. The whole Edge Collection that matches the wheels is on the bike too.

We used a Black Genuine Harley Custom Inverted front-fork kit.

It’s a Fat Boy Lo, so it already had low shocks, and we added a lowering kit to slam it down even more.

We put a lot of thought into the paint. We had several design discussions after the doors were closed, with most of the staff just kicking around ideas. One of the early things we defined was that we wanted something that would make people stop and look and go, “What the hell is that?” The paint has absolutely accomplished that. People just stop and look at it; they have to put their finger on it to figure out if it’s real. Is it paint or is it metal? It is actually bare metal with a flame pattern ground into it with a small hand grinder, and that is cleared over, and then there is a very faint charcoal grey flame airbrushed over it and cleared over.

There are several unique things about it: if you are looking at it in shadowed light, the grey airbrush flames stand out and it almost looks like it’s just grey airbrushed flames on a silver bike; but when you put the thing out in the sun, the way it refracts light, it does just the opposite — the ground metal flames pop out and you have look at it from the right angle to even see the charcoal grey flames. It’s a pretty interesting effect. I think it’s one of the nicest features of the whole bike. It was painted by Mark at Sydney Custom Spraypainting.

The exhausts are SuperTrapp Road Legend X-Pipes. I have to admit that when we first unveiled the bike at the show it had different pipes on it to make the deadline for the build-off. These pipes are the original design intent but they were late getting here because they were sent to Moorebank, Belgium, instead of Moorebank, Sydney.

When we actually started to build in earnest, we were able to see that we had plenty of room left in our $50,000 budget so we went ahead with a Screamin’ Eagle Stage 4, 103-inch kit with cams, heads, big bore throttle body, heavy clutch spring. Those motors generally make in the 105 — 110 horsepower range.

The Screamin’ Eagle programmable shift light with electronic digital tachometer adds a real nice touch and gives it a real drag bike feel.

The handlebars are basically the same as those on a new Fat Bob but blacked out.

The bike does have a lot of little things you might not notice at first glance, like the headlight which sits down much lower, the flush fuel cap and LED read-out petrol gauge. It’s got black diamond braided steel lines all over it. It’s also got LED tail lights, and if you look closely, you’ll notice the little mini LED turn signals. These are actually street legal in Australia and are a Genuine Harley product.

This bike is absolutely a rider’s bike, and there a lot of little things that make the difference between your average ‘Joe has built the bike in his garage’ and having one done by a pro. You will notice, for example, that you can turn the forks full lock in both directions and no cables, no wires, no hoses, nothing touches anything else, anywhere; no cables move and rub against the front forks and nothing touches any of the paint. That’s something that takes time, energy and experience to accomplish.

Photos by Wall 2 Wall; words by Will

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