The economic downturn was hard for many industries. From custom cars and bikes to boats and sand rails, sales recently hit historic lows. A few years ago in Corona, California, Coby Klein was working at Eliminator Boats constructing some of the fastest production boats in the world. “The boat market really cooled off, and I’ve wanted to get into building bikes for a while. I felt something was missing from the custom bike world and that I might be able to add to it with my fiberglass skills and the talented people I work with,” Coby said.
Not long ago he took his knowledge of composites and a handful of good people with him into the bagger world and started tooling parts under a new shop name; Speed by Design (SBD). Still located in Corona, Coby and his team build a minimum of one show bike every year. This bike, a factory fresh 2012 Electra Glide Classic, became the foundation for SBD’s 2012 custom. “Building the front half of the wishbone single downtube frame was the hardest part of the build,” Coby said. “The motor is raised in the front to close the gap between motor and frame that is generated by raising the fairing and the tank 2½ inches in order to accommodate the 30-inch front wheel.” A set of inverted American Suspension air ride forks were set at a total rake of 44 degrees and mounted to the chrome-moly reinforced frame neck. Further frame mods included an electric billet center stand that keeps the bike steady and low when parked, but the original jiffystand was retained—only because it’s hard to see when tucked under the primary. SBD chose to maintain the factory Harley-Davidson 103ci motor and six- speed transmission to maintain reliability, but it’s far from stock in appearance.
According to Coby, thousands of hours of SBD labor and support from many masters in the industry went into the painstaking process of designing the bags, gas tank, and fairing. The saddlebags feature seamless built-in side covers, flangeless internal weather seals, SBD billet electric actuated hinges, and powered lids. “There is a ton of usable space because SBD bags are longer and deeper than stock bags and utilize the side cover area for additional storage,” Coby said. LED taillights were frenched into the ends and he managed to keep the OEM mounting brackets and bushings. An adjustable windscreen was built into the fairing and utilizes an electric motor to keep wind off the rider’s face, and provide a little extra storage for small items like a wallet or pistol. Somehow, the SBD crew found enough room to hide an air compressor and four speakers inside the fairing, too. Along with many other styling cues of the original Electra Glide, the dashboard was removed from the gas tank, a bottom-mounted fuel pump was installed with a Matt Hotch recessed filler cap and flush mount fuel fill, and secured to the frame with hidden mounts.
A host of electronics was added, albeit somewhat hidden, to command the sound, movement, and direction of the bike. The main control unit for the bike’s electronics is a permanent Samsung Touch Pad tablet with full, turn-by-turn GPS capabilities, video, Wi-Fi, cell-phone tethered access, and stereo control mounted within a SBD-made billet frame. Audio pleasure was increased by the addition of four 6.5-inch Alpine speakers and tweeters mounted in two sealed enclosures within the fairing and powered by a 300-watt Rockford Fosgate Amp. Aircraft-style switches, easily serviceable headlights and LED turn signals, plus a storage area for keys and other small items were also squeezed into the fairing.
Early on in the build, Coby and the team decided there wouldn’t be any chrome or flat black on this bike. “It had to be flashy without being too flashy,” Coby tells us. The coloring for the bike started with every aspect of the drivetrain ceramic coated in two shades of satin gray: titanium or cobalt, plus the frame, handlebars, and wheels. A crazy custom satin orange color was chosen for the majority of the bodywork with graphics covering the lower portions of each piece. “We try to always have something new or different for the paint scheme of every bike we build. This time, our award-winning painter, Chris Guinn, and world renown brush artist, Kiwi Terry, created this medieval-themed design that was specifically named ‘Vengence’ instead of ‘Vengeance’ because it fit on the back of the bike better when followed by the year it was built in Roman numerals,” says Coby.
If a person happens to be in the market for a bagger just like this one, he/she would be in luck. “Basically, it’s still a brand-new bike,” says Coby. “I’ve barely ridden it more than 400 miles because I want to keep the mileage down for a prospective buyer. It drives me nuts because I love riding it so much.” If a full-blown custom isn’t in the budget, Coby made sure to point out that most of custom parts on this bike are available as kits and are specifically designed to fit comparable stock Harleys.
|Bike Owner|Speed By Design/Coby Klein|
|Shop Name|Speed By Design|
|Shop Phone|(951) 371-7433|
|Fabrication|Speed By Design Coby Klein & Troy Johnson|
|Build Time|2½ months|
|Cases / Cylinders|H-D|
|EFI/Carb EFI|H-D Race Tuner|
|Air Cleaner|Performance Machine Fast Air|
|Exhaust|Sinister/Dirty Bird Up-Yours|
|Special Features|Cam Shaft 585 S&S;|
|Clutch|Performance Machine Hydraulic|
|Year/Manufacturer|2012/H-D, Speed By Design|
|Rake / Stretch|9 degrees / 4 inches|
|Manufacturer Front|American Suspension B-17 Vampire King|
|Triple Trees|9 degrees leading pivot point|
|Manufacturer Rear|Arnot Aldon-Air|
|Special Features|Full air ride front and rear|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Manufacturer Front-Type|Speed By Design custom machined by Curtis|
|Wheel/Tire Height-Width|30 inches|
|Caliper|Performance Machine six-piston|
|Rotor|Lyndall Carbon Fiber|
|Wheel Height-Width|16 inches|
|Tire Height-Width|Trade Secret|
|Caliper & Rotor|H-D|
|Front Fender|Aluminum B’ Cool|
|Rear Fender|Speed By Design|
|Fairing/Windscreen|Speed By Design|
|Gas Tank/Cap|RWD /Speed By Design|
|Handlebars|SBD/Troy Johnson Drag Bars|
|Hand Controls/Grips|PM with Cruise Control|
|Taillight|Speed By Design|
|Turn Signals|Speed By Design|
|License Mount|Klock Works|
|Seat|Travis Walker Double Cross|
|Saddlebags|Speed By Design|
|Head Unit|Samsung Touch Pad|