THIS IS OUR entry in the Harley-Davidson dealers bike build-off competition. We started with a stock Softail Custom and everything you see — except for the exhaust system and paint job — is from the Harley catalogue. We had a budget of $50,000 and we came in just shy of it at around $48,000.
The idea for the bike… I guess it’s mine and Darren Rogers, our Group Retail General Manager. We wanted a modern style chopper, probably something a little bit retro, something that someone back in the late ’60s, early ’70s, would do to chop their FLH. That’s the look we wanted.
Mark at Sydney Custom painted it. Darren and I again discussed it. We wanted something bright instead of bad man black, and the yellow and green is something I’ve always wanted to do. I think it works well. I think it is bright, it stands out, it’s an eye-catching motorcycle.
We also wanted to keep it a rider’s bike. It’s got a slightly lower front suspension, but when you sit on and ride it, it’s a comfortable motorcycle.
It’s a great Friday night special but it’s also something you could throw on a sleeping bag and off you go. Look at the grips. We stayed away from the metal grips and went with old style touring rubber grips which are comfortable and easy on the hands. Even down to the rear vision mirror. It’s just a chrome round mirror you can actually use.
There are a lot of subtle changes on the bike that you would have to look closely to notice. The 21-inch front wheel, for instance. The Softail Customs come with a 21-inch front wheel but this one is an 80-spoker.
The Samson fishtail pipes are something different and not everyone agreed on using them, but they worked well with the overall style of the bike, and everyone who has walked into the showroom since has admired them.
The bike is a combination of parts from the Harley catalogue and were chosen by myself, Darren, Paul Dempsey in spares, and Colin Peterson and Joe McCarter, our two Harley sales girls. It was a group effort, no doubt.
All the parts were given to Leon Oliver in our workshop and he put it together.
The custom bike scene has exploded in the last couple of years and we have gotten into building customs more and more, again using pretty much Genuine Harley parts and accessories. The problem with a lot of the bikes you see featured in magazines is that they are just not rideable. By staying with Genuine parts, we can build a nice, good, customised motorcycle that you can ride every day, in any situation. We can do a whole conglomerate of work to it — cosmetics, engine work, etc — and it will still have warranty, it will be personalised to your taste, and it will hold its value.
Fraser’s Motorcycles, 153—165 Parramatta Road, North Strathfield NSW 2035; 02-8741-3000.
Photos by Wall 2 Wall; words by Greg Ryan