This text was initially revealed within the December-January 1998 difficulty of Cycle World’s Massive Twin journal.
Tright here comes a degree in virtually each driving profession while you outgrow bar-hopping and stoplight-gunslinging. Ever so slowly, the craze to roar round city is changed by the delicate longing to pack up your gear, lock the home and go see what’s on the opposite facet of the nation. To journey at any nice size, nonetheless, it’s important to take alongside your stuff. It’s possible you’ll not want your whole stuff, however the capability to take alongside a few of it’s good. The answer is a Bagger (a time period that, someplace throughout the Reagan administration, repositioned “Dresser” as an outline of a motorcycle with long-distance driving intentions).
However that answer typically creates yet one more drawback: What if you would like a Bagger for carrying your boots, shirts, pants, oil, digicam and different highway stuff, however nonetheless wish to experience one thing that may flip heads? Most bike saddlebags will carry your stuff fairly effectively, however they’re a major instance of perform giving the suits to kind. They are often ungainly and fats, and normally make the bike they’re on look the identical means.
Except they’re an built-in a part of a Customized Bagger, that’s. These bikes, which mix one of the best of the Customized and Dresser worlds, are shortly gaining in reputation, as a result of they provide exactly what the fashion-conscious peripatetic rider craves: space for storing and elegance. Customized bike reveals today are replete with Baggers, and Bagger equipment fill numerous pages in aftermarket catalogs. And the exceptional success of the Street King and Electra Glide sequence has additional stimulated the recognition of Customized Baggers. After individuals personal their stockish FLs for a yr or two, they usually wish to clean up the bikes’ unremarkable look.
However maybe the largest cause for the gradual flip to Bikes That Pack is the age of the driving public. Tom Motzko—Director of Buying for Drag Specialties, and the proud proprietor of one of many Baggers on these pages—claims that child boomers these days merely wish to get out and tour. Jim Betlach—one other of Drag Specialties’ movers-and-shakers and whose bike is also pictured right here—is amazed that he didn’t uncover the fun of Customized Baggers loads sooner. “I hate to sound naive,” says Betlach, “however I’ve been driving for lots of years, and after I rode a Bagger for a half-hour, I believed, ‘what within the hell have my spouse and I been doing all this time and why have we allowed ourselves to be so uncomfortable?’ My FXR is simply too small, and there was by no means sufficient suspension or something for the 2 of us. The sheer consolation and practicality of Baggers is why I now personal one. I simply put in 4 straight 12-hour days on my bike, and I find it irresistible. You simply put your rainsuit within the bag, activate the radio and go for it.”
On your inspection, then, we current eight actually cool and artistic Customized Baggers. The bikes you see on these pages characterize just about your entire vary of the style, from the magnificent “Cross Dresser” of Harold Mutter (Harold nonetheless makes use of the phrase “Dresser” as a result of he’s is from Canada, and the time period “Bagger” apparently hasn’t but made it throughout the Northern border), to the real-world attainability of Darcy Betlach’s beautiful, flamed Electra Glide. Taking it with you needn’t be boring anymore.
When Harold Mutter of ProMotion Bike Programs in Ontario, Canada, got down to create a Bagger, he wished a motorcycle that may be as comfy as it’s stunning. He wished the smoothness of a rubber-mount for these lengthy hours on the freeway, with the great seems to be of a Softail. After 4 years of engineering, Mutter completed his Bagger, aptly named “Cross Dresser.” Within the course of, he constructed his personal body, referred to as the Badtoyz Storm, and designed and constructed a modified transmission based mostly on an H-D Dyna case. The transmission has a billet prolonged tail inventory that serves because the pivot level for the Softail-style swingarm.
Cross Dresser’s high-zoot luggage are also Badtoyz objects that Mutter says will quickly be obtainable for all Harleys. The entrance fender is manufactured from carbon fiber, and the MotoPsycho Spirit rear fender is molded in fiberglass. The gasoline tank is a Katz stretched aluminum unit and the mufflers are Badtoyz Zidwinders from ProMotion. After finishing the meticulous metalwork of Cross Dresser, Mutter handed the bike over to George “Wizard” Hodgson, who utilized the Home of Kolor Neon Honey paint over an orange base coat.
Mutter doesn’t simply stand again and admire his work; he rides it every day. Certainly, once we first noticed this Bagger in Sturgis, it was heading east on I-90. We couldn’t miss it; Cross Dresser is a shocking bike that’s on the slicing fringe of simply how good a motorcycle with saddlebags can look.
“I need you to know that I made this bike myself,” says Tom Motzko of Shorewood, Minnesota. “I’m proud that I did the entire bike. And I did it on a funds. That’s why the entire thing is painted black Deltron; there’s no black powdercoating or something. I did all of it at house within the storage, and I taught myself how one can do eachfactor, together with the molding. If anybody on the market thinks this can be a $40,000 , it’s not. I’ll wager I don’t have twenty grand in it, together with the unique value of the bike.”
Motzko’s creation began life as a 1990 FXRP police bike from California. The fairing is from an ’87 FXRT and is exclusive for the radio Motzko put in in it. “Individuals informed me I couldn’t put a radio in it and make it look proper,” he says, “however I did. I purchased a plastic welder and simply sort of moved the ABS fairing round. I stuffed it in, put the scoops in it and lowered the fairing about three inches.”
The leather-based luggage have been made by Kevin Lehan, however Motzko truly designed them. He first made cardboard templates, then Lehan fabricated the luggage of leather-based with ABS plastic on the again so they’d retain their form. However so far as the whole lot else on the bike is worried, Motzko did it himself.
It’s arduous to consider that Kim Suter’s bike comprises as many inventory elements because it does. Suter, proprietor of Ok-C Creations in Kansas Metropolis, began with a 1991 FLT body that he raked three/four inch, then he bolted up an FLST entrance finish fitted with a headlight housing from an vintage Harley sidecar machine. The gasoline tank is from a inventory Dyna Huge Glide, and the luggage are FLHT items which have been custom-fitted to Suter’s very crimson Bagger.
There are not any conventional sidecovers on this Kansas Metropolis flash; as an alternative, these areas are fitted with sheetmetal covers contouring into fins that circulate into the saddlebags. It’s what Suter calls “sort of a Testa Rossa factor.” The 80-inch motor makes use of S&S instances, with an Andrews EV-46 cam, milled heads and twin QwikSilver carbs. The wheels are Fats Boy items which have been laser-cut to match the brake rotors. To maintain the traces of the bike as uncluttered as attainable, all plumbing and wiring have been hidden beneath the seat. The Viper crimson paint was utilized by Don Kelzer of Moist Paint in Kansas Metropolis, and the physique fabrication was accomplished by Craig Dening.
“I wished to alter the picture of the shop,” says Herb Aston, half proprietor of Pike’s Peak Harley-Davidson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “So, I figured one of the best ways to try this was to construct an actual standout, grabber bike. I name it the Ice Scream Street King.”
Aston began with a 1995 Street King, and famed street-rodder Dave Arnold hand-formed from metal the spoiler, the fenders, and the metallic separators between the luggage and the rear fender. In a nod to avenue rodding, Arnold used the third brake lights from a Plymouth Neon as taillights and directionals. To offer the Screamer some additional class, the Pikes Peak guys changed the inventory headlight with a Head-inds bezel, mild bar and hooded passing lamps. The multi-gauge instrument setup is by 50’s Boy.
True to its identify, the yellow-and-white Street King is a screamer, thanks primarily to Aston’s use of an Aerojet turbocharger pumping by means of a Mikuni HS42 carb. The heads additionally have been polished and given a three-angle valve job.
We don’t know what kind of picture Pike’s Peak Harley-Davidson had earlier than; but when Aston’s Bagger has had the specified impact, the store now ought to be regarded as one very cool dealership.
Jim Betlach is aware of Customized Baggers; that is his second. That’s why he selected to begin with probably the most pure and conventional FL mannequin within the H-D lineup, the FLHTC Electra Glide. He determined to go away the fairing principally inventory aside from a lowered windshield and the carbon-fiber trim on the rider’s facet of the fairing.
You must keep in mind that Betlach is from Garrison Keillor nation to know what he means when he says that the gasoline tank is “a kind of Don Hotop offers,” and that “the glove field is a home made deal.” Most of the different elements that create the great thing about Betlach’s Bagger are proper out of the Drag Specialties catalog, items designed by the aforementioned Hotop. These embody the exhaust system, fenders, air cleaner, flooringboards, fork reducing package and extra.
“Really, Massive Twin is answerable for this bike costing me a lot,” laughs Betlach. “After I noticed the Bagger that Bob Dron was making for you guys final yr (Massive Twin undertaking bike, Fall, 1996 difficulty), I mentioned, okay, cut up the instances and polish it up, let’s go all-out.”
All of it turned out good, Mr. Betlach, very good, certainly.
Take a detailed take a look at that emblem—make that crest—on this bike’s fairing. That’s the seal of the Cavalieri di San Marco, which in English means the Knights of San Marco, of Venice, Italy. Juris Bunkis, a world-famous plastic surgeon and the proprietor of this snazzed-out 1996 Street King, was knighted by the Cavalieri for his professional bono work with kids in underdeveloped international locations who have been in want of reconstructive facial surgical procedure.
When he’s not within the working room, Bunkis is a barnstorming biker who rides to Sturgis yearly from his house in Blackhawk, California. This yr he rode in consolation on his Arlen Ness-prepared Bagger. “We lowered it a bit,” says Ness, “and used considered one of our new protecting kits for the again. We’ve bought a fender cowl for the rear, and bag extensions for the underside of the luggage. We additionally put in our mufflers and entrance fender. The fairing replaces the inventory windshield on Street Kings, and is considered one of our new merchandise, as properly. The truth is, many of the equipment on the bike are our items.”
Steve Faraone painted the intricate, old-world-style graphics on Dr. Bunkis’s stunning Bagger.
Of all of the bikes you see right here, Darcy Betlach’s candy, 1997 Electra Glide Traditional is probably the most attainable for the common rider. “I didn’t have some huge cash to spend on izing,” says Betlach, who hails from Wayzata, Minnesota, “so I needed to spend my $5000 very rigorously.”
Although Betlach has some very heavy motorcycle-industry connections (she works for Carmichael Lynch, Harley-Davidson’s promoting company, and her father, Jim, whose bike additionally seems on this article, is an officer of Drag Specialties), she wished to pay for her bike on her personal. Which explains why there are fewer elements on her bike than she’d ideally like.
However that doesn’t imply her Bagger is obvious. As any customizer will inform you, a motorbike’s paint is its crowning glory, and for that, Betlach the youthful selected Brian Gail of Let’s Get Graphic in Fridley, Minnesota, to color her Bagger. The result’s distinctive and putting.
Ernie Dourham of Scottsdale, Arizona, needed a motorbike he may use to experience along with his buddies. One thing massive and powerful, but cool and fashionable. He bought it along with his personalized 1997 Street King.
“I selected the bike for the consolation of its experience,” says Dourham proudly. “Then, after I rode it some time, I made a decision I wanted so as to add some magnificence to it.”
For that activity, he took the Street King to Surgical Steeds, a builder in close by Scottsdale. “We stretched the tank right here within the store,” says John Covington, proprietor of Steeds. “Dillon Pogue does actual good metalwork for us. And Chuck Pate, who does plenty of nice portray for us, did an exceptionally good job on this one.”
Dourham and Covington favored the stocky look of the Street King, so that they stayed with the unique headlight nacelle. However for a fair stronger and chunkier look, they changed the King’s entrance fender with a fatter, Ness fiberglass fender. White Brothers reducing parts are mounted on the again, and Progressive Suspension springs are at work within the fork. The wheels, ahead controls and numerous covers are by Surgical Steeds.
Dourham nonetheless rides along with his buddies, however now he has the best-looking Bagger of the bunch.