Keeping the tats on one side of the tank is a cool twist you don't see every day. It's also handy if your bike decides to join the Yakuza.
John Shope did a lot of wild stuff with this bike, like kicking the rake to 46 degrees and dropping in a 23-inch wheel. Now it just needs some apes. Oh, wait...
Most baggers run a closed primary but not this one. It's a styling cue found on chopped iron, but given that the shop's got "Chopper" in the title, it's not a total surprise it'd take from that aesthetic for a bagger.
Ssinister's Fire Breathing Road Prowler
This bike's history reads like that of an old fighter plane. Both carry their pilots through times good and bad until they crash or get retired, and if someone loves them, they get rebuilt so they can fly again.
You don't have to step all the way back to World War II for this bagger's origin story, though. Just take a short hop to Portland in 2001. Ssinister Choppers owner John Shope bought this new Road Glide. Later, his then-girlfriend Sara cut her new-rider teeth on it. Four years and some modifications later, they hopped on it for the run to Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where John made an honest woman out of Sara. The Road Glide would've stood as maid-of-honor but it looked bad in a dress and couldn't throw a bridal shower.
Two years later SSinister had moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, bringing its married owners with it. John traded in the `01 at Hacienda Harley-Davidson for a younger model. Local builder Mike Taylor picked up the 2001, customized it some more, and sold it to a friend, who had a horrible accident on it.
That's when she came full circle. John bought his old totaled Glide back from Mike and resurrected it into the fire goddess you see on these very pages. Think of it as a pimped-out bagger that has been crossbred with chopper style.
The one thing both aesthetics have in common is power, power, and more power. SSinister tore the motor apart and bumped it up to 107 cubes, then added in a set of modified Klock Werks Flame Thrower pipes. The breathing equation is topped off by a unique v-shaped air cleaner made in-house. John also swapped the old five-speed gear set for a Baker six inside the stock Harley case to handle the extra power.
It's all set in the stock frame, minus the old profile. We mentioned chopper looks earlier, and this is where it comes into play. The chassis is the one aspect most builders leave alone on a bagger; Harley does a great job with its touring frames so most people just don't see the need for the extra effort. This didn't deter John, though. He likes his creations more wild than mild, so raking and stretching the dresser frame was almost a given for him. He pushed the rake to a rather extreme (by bagger standards) 46 degrees and stretched the Road Glide 2 inches out. The overall effect? Long and mean, just like he likes it.
John's also a big fan of unified, clean profiles. Look at the metalwork and you'll see what we mean. The fairing, fenders, and bags were all swapped out with just that in mind. The skinny hard bags are his work, as is the wild tank. Ever on the lookout for ways to stand out, he gave it a crazy lean to the primary side. Not only that, he matched it with the dash and had the seat custom cut to fit precisely with the bizarre curve of the tank where the two parts meet. Some of the other Ssinister touches include the floorboards, brake pedal, and belt guard.
It's all finished in powdercoat and flat paint. Hot Air Brush zapped it with a gloss flat black, then gave it the graphics treatment. Again, John wasn't happy with conventional wisdom when it came to this bike. Most people would lay their artwork down on both sides of a motorcycle to balance it out. Not John. Like the gas tank, he had it done off-kilter. The fuel sack graphics sit on the primary side and it's balanced out on the other side by tats on the fairing and pipe-side front fork. The overall effect is like the tattooed bad guy in a kung-fu film, only cooler.
Between breaking in a first-time rider, cross-country touring, standing in at a wedding, and a bad wreck, this motorcycle's seen a lot. Luckily, she belongs to two people who loved her enough to bring her back from the dead, and better to boot.
|BUILD TIME||Six years (off and on)|
|AIR CLEANER||Ssinister Choppers|
|PRIMARY DRIVE||Hi-Tech 3-inch|
|YEAR/TYPE||`01 H-D/Road Glide/|
|FRONT||H-D Road Glide|
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
|FRONT ROTOR(S)||Hammer Customs|
|COLOR(S)||Gloss black with flat|
|airbrushed candy red|
|PAINTER||Hot Air Brush|
|GRAPHICS||Hot Air Brush|
|POWDER COATING||Affordable Powdercoat|
|FRONT FENDER||Ssinister Choppers|
|REAR FENDER||Klock Werks|
|GAS TANK / gas CAP||SSinister Choppers|
|DASH / BAGS||Ssinister Choppers|
|FOOT CONTROLS||Ssinister Choppers|
|LICENSE MOUNT||Klock Werks|
|SEAT||Custom Seat by Rex|