WORKING AS a professional photographer in the custom motorcycle business, it’s kind of hard to hold back from tearing into my own bike and rolling out my own personal style custom creations. Well, actually, it’s impossible, to say the least! When I’m constantly around kick-arse customs, and have great friends who offer up great prices on parts from their bike shops, then my own creativity takes control.
For more than 10 years I planted my arse on an Evo Softail and constantly added new parts whenever time and extra funds would allow. When the new riding season rolled around, I decided it was time to step up in the world and buy a Twin Cam. Upon a quick stop at my local Harley shop, I found a plain black carbureted Road King that was calling my name.
For many years, I was perfectly comfortable on my old Evo, with slammed suspension, ape-hangers, and custom paint, so it was hard to picture myself riding a ‘bone stock turd.’ While riding the bike home for the first time, I knew instantly that it had to be torn apart and built my way.
That following winter, the Road King spent four months in pieces.
I’ve always been in love with the traditional hot-rod style, and the idea of red wheels wrapped with whitewalls started to sink in. When I mentioned the red wheels and whitewalls to my friend Patrick, our ideas started to go crazy. Right away, Patrick went to work on the paint work while I ran the wheels to our ol’ friend, John Earhart, for red powdercoat and chrome spokes.
The front wheel was originally off a Heritage Softail so John also had to machine the hub to fit the one-inch axle on the Road King.
Meanwhile, I tore apart the front forks and shaved off the right side caliper mount.
I’ve never been a fan of the ugly Twin Cam air boxes so I went with the aesthetic seven-inch round air cleaner.
At the last moment, Patrick ran across some major problems with the hardener in the final stages of the matte clear coat, and everything had to be wet-sanded back down to the black base coat to start all over. But, after nearly four months in his shop the first time around, he managed to lay the flames out the second time within a couple weeks.
It all worked out good in the end because the day I rolled it out of my garage, I rode it out to a local bike show where it took 1st place in People’s Choice.
My lovely wife must have really liked that first summer in the saddle with this bike because it didn’t take much to convince her to shed her clothes and fill our heads full of fantasies while she straddled her body on the bike. We’ve recently started a ground up custom all her own, but for the time being, she’s happy as hell to go for a ride on this one any chance she gets.
words & pics by Nate Ullrich