If you've been around motorcycles for a while, you've most likely heard of Paul Yaffe. For the past few decades, Paul's radical creations--choppers, Pro Streets and bobbers--have continually graced the pages of Hot Bike magazine. Newcomers might better know him from his one-off TV show build-off bike. His vision has always been about sleek, uncluttered bikes with great lines, sheetmetal and paint, but he was designing and building baggers well before the current craze.
Compared to the Evo age of the Motor Company, the Twin Cam's constantly evolving platform can cause problems for many fabricators and custom shops. It seems that changes and innovations from year to year have progressed at an unprecedented rate. It wasn't that long ago that every air-cooled H-D model from the most diminutive Sportster to the largest Ultra carried 130 rear tires on 16-inch wheels. 2008 brought big changes throughout the touring line, such as electronic throttle control, isolated drive system in the rear pulley, Brembo brake calipers with optional ABS, a 6-gallon fuel tank and a frame redesign.
Just as the new '08 models were unveiled, Rudy Moreno knew a Street Glide was in his future. Paul's first task was shaping the stock gas tank to flow seamlessly with the rest of the bike. The H-D unit was extended rearward while also making a pocket for the seat to fit into. Then a cool low-profile dash and pop-up gas cap were added for a custom look. The seat needed to be reshaped to fit into the pocket in the new fuel tank. Paul's metalworking continued with both of the fenders. He "shaved and pinched" the stock H-D front fender by first shaving off the stock rivets and pinching in the edges. To get a great look over the 21-inch Bagger Nation wheel, the fender was welded back onto the mounting bracket 3/4 inch back and 1 inch lower than stock. On the back end, the rear fender received a close shave and fill along with the removal of the stock license frame, taillight and signals. An added bonus to all of this work is the exchange program: You can send Paul your tank, fenders and seat, and he'll send you back customized sheetmetal. Different options exist, so give him a call, or check the Bagger Nation website for more info.
On the rear of the bike, the saddlebags received frenched-in Wedgy taillight/turn signals. The unique shape makes the squarish bags look amazing, and combined with the Stealth license mount, this has to be one of the best-looking bagger rear ends out there. Complementing the lights are the similarly shaped mirrors placed in the traditional position above the hand controls. A very simple Stealth license mount completes the rear package. Gary Crisp sprayed the paint, first laying down a base of silver, then a bright cobalt blue. For the graphics, Gary ghosted in gunmetal gray and black, giving a very deep finish that pops in the light.
Many other Bagger Nation parts were bolted onto the Street Glide to let it stand out in the crowd. The stock rider and passenger floorboards were replaced with units designed by Paul. Curved Banana Boards for the rider add some length and comfort while the passenger spot got new footpegs. A drilled and chromed Missing Link shift linkage connects the shifter to the transmission. Mounted on the 12-inch Bagger Apes are chromed H-D switch housings flanked by Yaffe rubber grips. Lurking inside the H-D fairing is a Hawg Wired super-loud 150-watt amplifier linked to the stock radio along with new speakers to handle the extra wattage. Harley gauges and ignition switch fill out the painted-to-match inner fairing.
Other than the addition of a Screamin' Eagle air filter and the SuperTrapp/Yaffe exhaust, the 96ci motor remains stock. Other than lowering the frontend 2 inches, the suspension is also stock H-D. At the end of the chromed fork, a 21-inch Bagger Nation wheel carries matching rotors clamped by chromed Brembo calipers. Since the rear wheel is mostly obscured by the saddlebags, Paul saved Rudy some money by using an 18-inch chromed Smoothie wheel instead of matching the higher-priced front wheel.
This bike is a good example of using some well-thought-out parts to convert your ho-hum stock bagger into a one-of-a-kind custom bike. Rudy gets tons of attention everywhere he goes and doesn't have to worry about reliability or his factory warranty. With a little time and effort, most of the parts seen here can be adapted to your bike to make it stand out in the crowd.