Winters are tough on those who have to battle below-zero temps and snowfall on a daily basis. These cold snaps are especially worse on those who love motorcycles. Having to wait for a specific season to get out and ride gets old after a while, but the downtime does pose the perfect opportunity to make some real progress on project builds. “Canada” Craig Campbell is all too familiar with this specific subject of give and take. Living in Ontario just above the Minnesota border means that he has learned to seize every available hour suitable for motorcycle riding before hibernation time presents itself. But once the white stuff starts falling, you better believe Craig is still wrapped up in matters revolving around his bike.
Some 12 hours away in Lake Villa, Illinois, is DD Custom Cycle, where Craig’s ’07 Road King has migrated to for the winter the past few years. Dave Dupor, proprietor of the shop, has spent many countless hours sculpting Craig’s bike farther and farther into the realm of becoming a trophy-snagging bike—something that we’ll touch on more in just a bit. Before Dave laid his hands on the Road King, Craig had already changed things up about four different times, but none of the versions were nearly as close to what it has currently evolved into. After investing close to $30K on his last project, Craig swore up and down that he would never again allow himself to become so consumed in another build. Clearly, the power of his will was no match for what would soon happen once his bike took that first fateful trip to Dave’s place.
The two met at the Donnie Smith Invitational bike show in Minnesota one year. Craig was captivated by what he saw at the DD Custom Cycle booth, and the way he explains the situation makes it sound like it was only yesterday when he stumbled onto the ultimate source of inspiration.
“The first thing I noticed were bikes that had been cut and raked on big wheels—I’m partial to the long and low look,” Craig says. “After I started talking to Dave, I instantly got the impression that this guy was the real deal. He was down to earth, knew what he was talking about, and didn’t try to blow smoke or attempt to make any sort of false illusions about what his work is all about.” Little did these two know, they would soon become good buds and collaborate on building one of the slickest Road Kings out on the road today.
And Craig does push his bike down the highway more than most people would imagine. In fact, that’s how his relationship with Dave really started to pick up. Craig was out riding one day, and he ended up scraping and cracking the back fender. He could’ve done the repairs himself or had a local shop fix it up, but it boiled down to a matter of convenience and a little bit of luck that made him drop the bike off with Dave. Craig says, “Dave’s estimate was extremely reasonable. It was actually about the same as other shops were pricing, but being a fan of his work, I figured the money would be better spent with him.” So Craig loaded up the bike and ventured south to DD Custom Cycle—a place that would soon become a second home for both him and his hog.
During the following four winters, Craig’s bike ended up at Dave’s shop in the off season, and every year the Road King was transforming into something Craig never intended. Of course, not one single complaint ever left his mouth. Aside from the fender repairs, the set of DD Custom Cycle’s Ghost Bars sparked the entire rest of the project.
When looking back where they first started, Dave retraced their first steps and the initial game plan development. “Clean was the overall main goal of the build,” Dave says. “We wanted this Road King to stand the test of time and make sure that it wasn’t being built too far ahead of its time only to get left behind in a year or two. Once it made its way into our shop, we installed the bars Craig had wanted made and began work cutting and raking the rear end before fabricating the all-steel rear fender.” It was the avoidance of fiberglass (among many other nuances) that Craig really tuned into. The quality and style of work that he would receive from Dave and his team was exactly what he had been looking for.
Now, Craig never had any intensions of building a bike only to have it be too nice to want to take anywhere. He and his wife—who has a custom Street Glide—use the summers as their time to hit the road as much as possible. They’ve cruised all over and have ridden to some amazing places, and in the upcoming years they plan on riding even more. With that said, Craig was worried that his bike’s rideability would suffer with all the stretching, raking, and cutting going on. Dave was good to reassure him that their work always revolves around riding, and once the bike was ready for a test run, all worries were immediately buried.
“I had my doubts at first,” Craig says. “Not to say that I didn’t trust Dave—it was just me being paranoid. Once my wife and I took it for a spin, we couldn’t imagine how great it rode. It handles like an absolute dream, and Dave delivered everything he said he would.”
With large forward steps being made every winter, it was the springtime that proved to be the most exciting part of the year. Craig was finally able to introduce his bike to the light of day, and he started entering it at the Donnie Smith show—the place where it all started.
“I placed second for three consecutive years,” Craig says. “The competition out in the Minnesota area is tough, but I figured that since I was going to head to the show anyway, why not enter my bike and get some feedback from others?” The runner-up award was a bittersweet title for Craig. He was grateful that the reception of the bike was consistently on point, but he felt that maybe a few points of interest on his Road King were possibly being overlooked.
Dave and the boys continued to spend the winter months with Craig’s bike, and after the fourth year of showing it, the tide finally turned. The first-place trophy was awarded to Craig, and although it was an honor he was excited to receive, he had no intention of celebrating the victory and leaving the bike as is. “Onward and upward” has been the unofficial motto of this build, and just like the years before this one, this winter is being reserved for further renovations.
Craig let us in on what’s in store for the build, but you won’t be getting any sneak peeks here. We aren’t the gossiping types (not at the present time, anyway). We’ll allow the true writers of this story to unveil the next chapter as they see fit. Stay tuned, dolls and gents—you never know what might be lurking underneath the frost.
|Bike Owner||Craig Campbell|
|Shop Name||DD Custom Cycle|
|Shop Phone||(847) 356-8053|
|Fabrication||DD Custom Cycle/Dave Dupor|
|Assembly||DD Custom Cycle/Dave Dupor|
|Build Time||3 months|
|Modifications||Raked 9º, plus 9º trees|
|Triple Trees||HHI 9º|
|Manufacturer Rear||Legends Air Ride|
|Wheels, tires and brakes||SPECIFICATIONS|
|Manufacturer Front||Renegade Tahoe|
|Wheel Height/Width||26 x 3.75 in.|
|Tire Height/Width||Vee Rubber|
|Caliper||Performance Machine 6-piston|
|Rotor||11.5-in. Renegade Tahoe|
|Manufacturer Rear||Renegade Tahoe|
|Wheel Height/Width||18 x 4.25 in.|
|Tire Height/Width||Vee Rubber 150/70R18|
|Rotor||11.5-in. Renegade Tahoe|
|Color||H-D Vivid Black|
|Painter||CPV (Custom Painted Vehicles)|
|Front Fender||Fat Katz|
|Rear Fender||DD Custom Steel|
|Gas Tank/Cap||H-D flush-mount|
|Dash||Yaffe/DD Custom iPod|
|Handlebars||DD Ghost Bars (Yaffe bar)|
|Hand Controls/Grips||PM Contour|
|Foot Controls/Pegs||Arlen Ness Deep Cut|
|Headlight||Sinister w/ signals|
|Turn Signals||Cycle Visions|
|Saddlebags||Yaffe Super Stretch|
|Saddlebag Latches||H-D Streamline style|
|Speakers||(4) Alpine Type-R 6 x 9|
|Head Unit||DD Custom iPod dash|
|Amp||JL Audio XD400/4|
For more information on Dave Dupor and his bikes, visit DDCustomCycle.com