To me, as a writer, the best part about Steve Huff bikes is that they always have a good story to them. As can be said about a few other guys I can think of, Steve Huff is the best custom-bike builder nobody's ever heard of. The Seattle native was on his way to bike builder stardom in the mid-'90s, getting his creations on the cover of national mags and building sleds for Seattle's rock stars. But a wicked woman named drag racing lured him away from it all.
Just as bike builders became bigger rock stars than the rock stars they sometimes built bikes for, Steve was battling in the very low-profile arena of AHDRA drag racing and doing very well at it. But eventually he turned back to where he started and began building his unique brand of custom again.
You might remember this bike from way back in the October 2007 Baggers...but then again you may not recognize it anymore. Back then it was a blue 2007 Road King, fresh out of the crate, getting a 107-inch Axtell big-bore kit bolted onto it. And a pair of big-bore bolt-ons is always welcome...
When assembling the Axtell/Zipper's/Baisley Hi-Performance parts, Steve was blown away at how easy it all went together, and in fact that was what inspired him to record the process for the magazine. As he got deeper into the build, his amazement continued, as all of the very complex kits he used in the bike's construction were simply falling into place.
Back in the '90s when Steve first started out, even applying bolt-ons involved some fabrication skill, as both Harleys and (especially) the bolt-on parts had rather loose tolerances, requiring some massaging to get on...it was one of the things that inspired him to make one-off stuff!
In Steve's own words, "Take, for example, the Custom Cycle Control Systems bars and controls. I didn't like the bars they offered, so I fabricated the bends I wanted out of electrical conduit and sent it to them, and they came back perfect. They even got them powdercoated for me." He said the CCCS bars and controls are the best-engineered bike parts he's ever come across. With all internal wiring, cabling and piping and even including a two-cable throttle control (also internal), it works together flawlessly despite the tight packaging.
Steve recently had a life-changing experience with regard to single-cable throttles. He was riding a friend's rigid Ironhead ("Rock Star Bike Rehab," March 2007 Street Chopper) with a single-cable internal throttle, which stuck wide open at an intersection. In the ensuing collision with a car, he almost lost his right foot. So while Steve built this bike from a wheelchair, there was no way in hell it was only getting one cable.
The other big surprise for Steve was the Fat Baggers (FBI) 200mm rear end kit. Either due to good engineering or the fact that they put on hundreds of these kits themselves at rallies, the FBI swingarm, fender and all the rest dropped on like it was factory.
Years on the drag racing circuit somehow didn't kill Steve's desire to make bikes that actually turn, so instead of a stylish 18-inch rear wheel, he went with a 17, as more sporty rubber is available in that diameter. As a concession to the norm, the front is a 21x3.5-inch, and both are contrast cut Performance Machine wheels wrapped in Avon rubber.
Up until now, we hadn't mentioned the owner, Art Cervantes, and with good reason. Art, like many Seattleites in the know, simply dropped the bike off with Steve, gave him a budget (exceeded) and said he wanted a fast, reliable ride...and a loud horn. The rest is pure Huff ad-lib. The bike draws from a hot-rod tradition of simplicity and flowing lines. The air horn draws from a big-ass compressor under the left sidecover.
Steve had intended to make a lot more of the parts on the bike, but as so many of the parts available were so good, he didn't have to. FBI fabricated the tank to Steve's specs after the first one got blown up by a TIG-welder (don't ask), and the front fender is an off-the-shelf FBI piece. Steve did make the diamond-plate air cleaner insert as well as the floorboards, which he made rubber-mounted "shakers" just like the OEM parts. The dash is a Huff creation as well, with the ignition switch relocated to a hidden key on the back of the headlight nacelle.
With the owner identified, you might be wondering who the girl is. The rider in the photos is none other than NHRA Pro Stock rookie Valerie Thompson, who stepped in for Art and Steve, as they were both unavailable for the shoot. In fact, we had to break into Art's condo (with his blessing) and dodge a rare Phoenix rainstorm to get the photos, but that's a whole other story. B