2007 H-D FLHX
Baggers are typically bikes that people get around to buying; it's not a question of if but when. Nino Alagna grew up riding motorcycles and would ride on the back of his dad's bikes; he figured that if he learned how to ride, he could spend even more time with his dad. After going through a few stock bikes, Nino branched out and bought a succession of Pro Street-style bikes. There were only two problems: They were never reliable, and his friends always had to pack his gear. Nino grew tired of the same story with low, long, big-inch bikes but didn't want to have just another stock bike; it had to have some horsepower and possess the ability to turn heads. No more Pro Street race machines; he was heading into the unknown territory of the bagger.
Nino called from his home in Chicago and conferred with his dad, who lives in Phoenix, and he recommended Nino buy a 2007 Harley-Davidson Street Glide. It was something that was minimalistic, stylish, reliable and easily modified. Before Nino bought the bike, he knew in the back of his mind it was going to be transformed into a fire-breathing bagger. He tried riding it stock for a short time, and it just wasn't what he was used to. Besides the fact that he could just hit the ignition and know it would start, the bike was a bit top-heavy and just didn't have the flowing lines he was so fond of.
Nino had been very successful at the ripe age of 31, working in his family's cartage business, All Truck, and was willing to throw some money into is motorcycle. His dad understood his need to modify and recommended Phoenix native Matt Risley of Matt Risley Innovation. Matt had done some work on Nino's dad's bike, and he was more than pleased with the results. While he was there, he noticed some other baggers, and the rest, as they say, is history. Nino made the call, and Matt, being the modest guy that he is, said he was flattered that Nino would send his bike from Chicago just to have him do work on it.
It started out with a laundry list of "dos" and "donts" from Nino. The biggest "don't" was that Matt couldn't change the paint or the drivetrain. It had to remain a 96-inch with the stock six-speed. That was where it all started: no changes to the motor or paint, but everything else was fair game. Matt started to make some suggestions, and while Nino was visiting, it just so happened that Eric Carr of Steel Vision Custom Paint Design was on hand and made some suggestions about changing from the standard Harley-Davidson black. The paint changed to a black diamond with silver leaf, and then things really started to get interesting. Matt received Nino's blessing and an OK on the budget.
Matt started by stripping down the bike to the frame with the drivetrain intact. It was essential to get the feel of a Pro Street without compromising handling or looks. This was accomplished by using one of Matt's new tanks that smoothed out the lines of a standard Street Glide and dropped the seat height. No fabrication was needed to get the tank to fit, so it was on to the saddlebags, fender and fairing. There was a fair amount of fiberglass work that had to be done to flush-mount the custom turn signals up front, and Paul Yaffe Originals taillights were installed in the modified original saddlebags.
After the fabrication was done and everything was fitted, it was on to the essentials like foot and hand controls as well as wheels. Performance Machine was Matt's choice because of their availability, ize range and style. They chose Roulette wheels, a 21-inch up front and an 18 out back. They utilized PM three-button hand controls and PM floorboards. The frontend got lowered an inch, and a Legend Air Ride Suspension was mounted up. Combined with the Guy's Upholstery seat, this lowered the seat height almost 7 inches from stock. The bike took shape and was ultimately a very Pro Street-style Street Glide. Although they did no real motor work, they did install a race tuner, Screamin' Eagle airbox and Bassani True Dual exhaust. This combination has proved to be a winner and increased horsepower and torque significantly.
Matt debuted the Glide at Sturgis and broke in the newly transformed bike, rolling through the Black Hills. It received praise wherever it went. These days, the bike is back in Chicago, and Nino puts miles on it whenever he gets the chance. He is extremely happy with the outcome, and it goes to show that sometimes trusting the mechanic is the best choice in the end.