Bad Dad Covers It All | 2007 Star Road Star Bad Dad Customs - Hot Bike Baggers Magazine
Parts for Whatever You ride
When we decided to feature Bad Dad's custom motorcycles, we decided to write an article different than the standard "baseball stat card" type of story. We spoke with Derk Hinsey, Mr. Bad Dad himself, and asked about his past, present, and future. Before continuing, it should be mentioned that Bad Dad is a company offering parts and service for H-D and metric bikes that have a decidedly touring slant to them; from saddlebags, fenders, lights, and accessories, all the way up to custom paint and complete bike builds. The two bikes featured here and on the cover are examples of Bad Dad's breadth and style.
In 1977 Derk Hinsey left Indiana University while studying accounting after landing on the "Dean's List." Most people are not aware that the Dean has two lists, so Derk left before he was asked to leave. He went on to study welding at Ivy Tech Vocational School and learned how to stick metal things together and take them apart. The winter of 1979 brought with it the opening of Hinsey's Pro Paint Body Shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana, amidst a recession and gas rationing. The body shop business grew from rust-work and re-paints to collision and Corvette restoration. During this time the employee base hovered between two and five. The advent of insurance-owned body shops and Direct Repair Programs coupled with increased "total losses" caused profitability to suffer.
Derk customized a '98 Sportster in the winter of 2001, and people started to request similar custom work for their bikes. At first Derk hesitated, but when faced with not being able to keep "tar paper on the shack," he started customizing bikes and bike parts. Initially he sold painted H-D tins on eBay and in typical eBay fashion, the market became saturated and prices became unprofitable. During the winter of 2002, an Electra Glide Classic and a Road King came into the shop. The EG had a wide, long fiberglass rear fender and a pair of 4-inch extensions that the owner had previously bought to be installed along with a complete custom paintjob. In Derk's estimation, the parts fit like "socks on a rooster" so he cut them into several pieces, fit them up, and matted them back together. After getting the parts finished, Derk looked at them and said, "I better make a mold off these cuz other people are going to want them too." Turns out the guy with the RK wanted a set installed on his bike. So Derk made some parts and got a "real mold" made by a guy who actually knew what he was doing and they were off to the races. Derk's old friend eBay was his vehicle to sell while he developed his own website. Derk's wife, Andrea, having a degree in graphic arts and web experience, paved the way for expanded pathways to sell parts to the world, via the web.
There is so much involved with competing in the custom motorcycle industry, as there is in any industry. In 2006, Derk developed and taught a Custom Paint Class for Ivy Tech State College (morphed version of where he learned to weld). It was an eye opener as Derk was forced to focus on all of the small details that lead to a successful outcome in any endeavor. Derk told his students that the custom paint industry was a complex series of thoughts and practices more complicated than they knew. Derk's best example was the napkins they routinely found in a dispenser at their favorite fast food establishment. These napkins used to be a tree. The process to take a tree from forest to a table was a definitive series of events that, when followed, would produce a favorable outcome. This process, known only to persons in that industry, was the same scenario in the custom paint world.
Once Derk started selling more parts, his world started to change as different time zones and languages crept into his day-to-day life. Relationships were forged with people he had never had the luxury to look in the eye and shake hands with. Most met and exceeded expectations, while only a few failed. One part begets the need for another part. Derk became fond of an axiom he had experienced, "When you change one part on a motorcycle, you have to change nine more." So Bad Dad's product line expanded, not by well-constructed business planning, but a knee-jerk reaction to the demands of the customer and the parts they saw a need for in the shop.
Personnel became part of Derk's life; more people were needed to squeeze more parts out of the same piece of real estate in the same amount of hours as before. Jacob became their first salesman/tech-support/web designer, a position he still holds for the most part to this day. Derk used to have a slim appreciation for people who made their living at a desk or keyboard as he did those things in his spare time (evenings and weekends with the former business model). That changed as Derk saw that answering emails for hours on end was as exhausting as grinding fiberglass or assembling a bike, maybe more so on certain levels. The secret to success is purported to be surrounding one's self with good people. That became Derk's mission. The staff of 11 that Bad Dad presently enjoys has come to them from all walks of life, all with a different set of skills to contribute. They have a designer, office manager, shipping clerk, painters, parts trimmers, and assemblers. One thing they have in common is youth, with an average age of 26 years old. Derk says, "They have insights on doing business in this new age of immediacy that are lost on an old guy of 53 like me."
Today Bad Dad works tirelessly to incorporate a thought-out business plan, in place of the "knee-jerk reaction." The company is careful to produce prototype parts that can be replicated. Showcasing bikes with parts it can't produce is counterproductive as well as anti-climatic. Safety is the foremost criteria with its parts, as Derk would expect it is with all companies. The company strives for a "look" that works with all of the other parts so the bike has balance and harmony. That is not to say you can't "shake it up a bit," but Derk doesn't want bikes that look like they are assembled from leftovers.
Derk compares the bikes he builds to people: they are all the same yet somehow they are all different. Derk tries to leave a little room on his parts for the end-user to "smear a lil' funk" on them and make them their own. Bad Dad was among the first to offer fenders, extensions, and saddlebags without exhaust cutouts for two reasons: one, for a full look with turndown exhaust, and two, so the installer can get a nice tight line around the exhaust for a custom, not an off-the-rack look. Many people have asked why Bad Dad does not have a cove built into the saddlebag cutouts and it is because Bad Dad custom tailors them to fit the pipe. Derk states, "The cove is necessary when you have a 'one size fits most' cut."
Bad Dad has moved into other mediums to produce complementary parts not available on the market or variations thereof. For example, most exhaust systems aren't long enough to stick out the back of extended rear fenders and saddlebags, so Derk developed a set of pipes that are 1 inch longer and being produced by an exhaust manufacturer from the blueprints Derk supplied. Another Bad Dad part eliminates your stock rear fender from being used under his extended fender. This assembly is a combination of a fiberglass splash and metal brackets, thus bringing Bad Dad into the world of metal gauge thickness and thread pitches.
Parts for metric bikes have been an often-requested desire of many. The process to develop parts for new platforms is pretty intense and time consuming. Safety, model fitment, serviceability, functionality, ease of install, and practicality all weigh in on new parts. Derk usually buys a model of the bike they want to make parts for primarily to relieve any time constraints. Parts produced "under the gun" are often fraught with disappointment and despair, many times not evident until the product has "went to market." It is no secret that many of Bad Dad's metric parts are actually parts they already produce for American Touring models that get trimmed in a different fashion or attached with its own set of brackets. With this they have proven parts and a fresh look and functionality for other motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy.
The future of Bad Dad rests with doing more of the same. Each and every person that works with Derk has an interest in the utmost customer satisfaction and appreciates the opportunities they have working in an exciting upbeat industry. Not a day goes by that Bad Dad isn't floored that it is sending parts all over the world from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Most days when the last of the day's shipments go into the brown truck and they close the door, you can hear someone say, "Is this a great country or what?"
2007 Road Star
Bad Dad has been making a wide range of bagger parts for Harley's Touring models for several years. The company has always received a lot of great exposure from sources such as Hot Bike and Hot Bike Baggers, and it routinely received questions about building a metric bagger. While Derk always wanted to build custom metric parts, the timing never worked out for him to devote the required attention. Luckily for him, he came across a great deal on an '07 Star Road Star. Aside from an aftermarket 2-into-1 exhaust system and a few bumps-and-bruises from a lay down, the bike was completely stock with less than 2,000 miles on the odometer. Derk rolled the bike into storage until he had a chance to give his time to it.
Last year the stars aligned themselves in such a way that he finally had time to focus on the Road Star project with a few goals in mind. The biggest goal was to build a classic looking bagger that flowed well from the front of the bike to the rear. Another goal was to do this without spending thousands of dollars on custom wheels, brakes, handlebars, etc. Rather, Derk wanted to see what he could build by only focusing on the Road Star's sheetmetal. To do this, Derk planned to use most of the parts from his current line of American bagger parts and adapt them to fit the Road Star chassis.
Since Derk was building a metric bagger, he naturally started by adding a set of Bad Dad Stretched Saddlebags to the bike and fabricated a set of brackets that would allow mounting the bags onto the Road Star's frame. The bags were finished off with a set of OEM H-D saddlebag lids as well as the matching latch assembly.
With the bags mounted, attention was turned to building a custom rear fender that would allow the back of the bike to flow seamlessly between the two Stretched Saddlebags. Derk started with one of the Bagger Rear Fenders he makes for Harleys and chopped it into 18 different pieces, and then pieced it back together so that it was a perfect fit for the back of the Road Star. Next up was building a set of flush mount taillights into the rear fender and bags. Derk used the traditional Yamaha logo in the fender, and added Yamaha's tuning forks to the saddlebags. The license plate was recessed into the back of the fender.
Moving to the frontend, Derk wanted to build a beefier looking headlight assembly in order to create a real "freight train" appearance on the front of the bike. To do this, he again used some donor parts from the H-D parts line and added fabricated a stretched headlight nacelle, and then mounted an H-D headlamp assembly and trim ring. The nacelle was modified to use the stock Road Star spotlight bar and turn signals. For the front fender, Derk wanted to keep a classic look. Since he was keeping the stock 16-inch wheel with white wall tire, Derk used one of his custom FL Front Fenders modified to fit the bolt pattern of the Road Star's fork legs, and outfitted with a set of chrome mounting spacers.
With the Road Star project now in the "Frankenstein" stage with all of Bad Dad's standard bagger parts chopped, hacked, and modified to fit the Road Star frame, the bike was ripped apart one final time to throw the parts into the spray booth. During final assembly, the bike was lowered 1 1/2 inches in the front and 2 inches in the rear with a Baron kit. Derk then bolted on a set of Baron Hellbent pipes, and fit a Mustang Daytripper seat to the bike. Aside from these four aftermarket options and the custom Bad Dad Road Star Bagger Kit, the '07 Road Star is a completely stock bike.
All of the parts needed to convert a Road Star into the Bagger shown here are now available from Bad Dad. Each of these parts can be purchased individually to build your own bagger. These parts fit all Road Star models made from 1999 to the current model year. Not only was Bad Dad able to remove a huge goal from its Bagger Bucket List with the completion of this bike, but it also hit a goal that it set with all of its custom baggers: to build a clean, classic motorcycle that people love to stop and look at.
2003 CVO Road King
Derk bought this bike as a salvaged bike for a customer who already had a Road King customized by Bad Dad. The owner had a desire for another bike with a bigger motor and this one filled the bill since Derk was planning to replace the damaged items with his custom parts anyways. Derk brought it into the shop and used it to test parts and mock things up on while the new owner made payments on the bike. When the bike was paid for and the build was getting serious, the guy lost his job. He was in a bit of a spot, so Derk refunded the money and put the bike together the way he saw it. Derk generally builds bikes to the customer's specs so this was an opportunity to build a bike the way he wanted.
The bike is an '03 CVO Screamin' Eagle Road King and it came in the standard gold color that Harley used that year. When Derk was discussing the plans for the bike with his crew, they had a big discussion regarding color. The OEM gold color had grown on them somewhat, and since they already built orange, green, red, blue, and black bikes, they decided to keep the bike gold. Because the OEM gold was a little weak, Derk mixed up his own batch of gold with more flake and a much warmer tone, and then used that gold color after body working the frame and swingarm, and also for all the other body panels including the handlebars. With the decision to paint the bike gold, they also decided to name the bike King Midas. The name King Midas is a Greek mythology reference to the king whose touch turned everything to gold. They were also able to make a play between "King" Midas and Road "King," so it helps carry the king reference throughout the bike.
The royalty aspect of King Midas started with the brass crown Derk bought on eBay and decided to turn it into a gas cap. He was aware of crown gas caps available on the market but Derk wanted his crown "super-sized," so this worked perfectly. He then flush-mounted a set of crowns for turn signals in the back of the Bad Dad Stretched Saddlebags, and also flush-mounted three crowns down each side of the bags. The three crowns on the bags actually flash sequentially when the turn signals are activated. To finish the crown and highlight the Screamin' Eagle aspect of the bike, Derk had Scal of Scal Graphix hand-paint an eagle head wearing a crown on the side of the gas tank.
For the other bolt-on components of the bike, the previous owner had selected a 23-inch front wheel from Wicked Image prior to Derk buying the bike back. That wheel was the mock-up wheel Derk used for creating the 23-inch wrap fender that is featured on this bike. He also ordered a matching rotor and a six-piston caliper, knocked the caliper lugs from the right-side leg, and plated it. He also lowered the frontend 2 inches with a drop-in Progressive Suspension kit. For the rear end, Derk used an Arnott air setup. To lower the back even further, a set of Bad Dad Slammed Lowering Blocks got the back another 2 inches closer to the ground.
This bike also features Bad Dad's entire catalog of custom bagger parts, including the Stretched Headlight Nacelle and Stretched Spear, Stretched Tank Shroud, Low Profile Dash, Stretched Saddlebags with flush signals, and Stretched Rear Fender with flush brake and flush plate. The flush mount lights are completely customizable to any shape or design. The bike also features a set of Bad Dad's custom slip-ons that are designed to slightly extend beyond the length of the saddlebags and are slash-cut to match the sloping angle of the back of the Stretched Saddlebags.
The handlebars were also handmade for this bike. Bad Dad's friends Ronnie Cooley and Bill Edler made the rider and passenger floorboards, toe shifter, and brake pad. Finally, Derk added a few other custom features to this bike, such as relocating the ignition switch to the right sidecover to help clean up the dash, and the speedometer moved to the left-side rocker box. The speedometer belonged to Derk's father-in-law, Ron Robinson, who passed away last fall. Ron is also the father of Bad Dad's engineer Adam Robinson. After Ron's passing, the speedometer was found in Ron's huge garage full of hot rod and muscle car parts. As a further connection, Ron also undertook the responsibility of transporting this Road King from the salvage yard to the Bad Dad shop. Ron was known for saying, "It only costs a little more to go first class."
|SHOP||Bad Dad Customs|
|BUILD TIME||Three weeks|
|1 1/2-inch Lowered|
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
|COLORS||House of Kolor Kandy Tangerine|
|PAINTER||Matt Anderson of Bad Dad|
|GRAPHICS||Silver leaf and striping by Scal Graphix|
|FRONT FENDER||Bad Dad|
|REAR FENDER||Bad Dad|
|HEADLIGHT||Bad Dad Stretched Nacelle|
|TURN SIGNALS||Bad Dad|
|LICENSE MOUNT||Bad Dad|
|OWNER||Hinseys Pro Paint Inc.|
|SHOP||Bad Dad Customs|
|YEAR/MAKE/MODEL||'03/H-D/ CVO Road King|
|BUILD TIME||Eight weeks|
|YEAR/ TYPE/SIZE||'03/Twin Cam/103ci|
|LENGTH||Progressive Lowered 2 inch|
|TRIPLE TREES||H-D trike, +2 degree|
|SWINGARM||Bodyworked by Bad Dad|
|SHOCKS||Arnott air ride with Bad Dad's Slammed Lowering Blocks|
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
|BUILDER/SIZE||Wicked Image/HogPro Vendetta/23-inch|
|ROTOR||Wicked Image Vendetta|
|COLORS||Special Mix "Midas Gold"|
|FRONT FENDER||Bad Dad 23-inch Wrap Fender|
|REAR FENDER||Bad Dad Stretched Fender|
|GAS TANK||Bad Dad Stretched Tank Shroud|
|GAS CAP||Bad Dad/eBay|
|DASH||Bad Dad Low Profile Dash|
|GAUGES||Ron Robinson Original|
|MIRRORS||H-D w/ LED turn signals|
|FLOORBOARDS||Ronnie Cooley and Bill Edler/Custom Billet Designs|
|HEADLIGHT||Bad Dad Stretched Nacelle|
|TAILLIGHT||Bad Dad Flush Mount|
|TURN SIGNALS||Bad Dad Flush Mounts|
|LICENSE MOUNT||Bad Dad Flush Mount|
|SEAT||Ride & Leather|
|SADDLEBAGS||Bad Dad Stretched Saddlebags|