2001 Road King
While in South Dakota last year for the Sturgis Rally I was up in the hills above Spearfish Canyon photographing a motorcycle. While shooting on the desolate dirt road, the bike owner's cell phone rang, he answered it, and then it was back to business. Butch said his friend Kelvin was riding out to meet up with us, just to hang out and keep us company.
A short while later the most gorgeous red Road King came roaring up the mountain. The candy burgundy glistened as the sun was setting behind the Black Hills. I've seen a lot of candy paintjobs but this particular finish looked like molten red metal-lawless and even. It was so deep it appeared to still be wet. After introducing ourselves, Kelvin let me shoot the bike.
Kelvin's Road King wasn't built for the show circuit or to be put on a trailer, it was built a few years ago specifically to carry Kelvin from his home in Illinois to Sturgis. But, the story of this bike started a few years before that when he picked up a mostly stock Teal RK in Michigan. He rode the bike for a while like that, riding it to Daytona and Sturgis, adding some chrome bits and doing minor motor mods.
Kelvin had a few bikes in the stable so redoing the Teal-mobile wasn't a huge priority. His philosophy is to build it once and ride it the way it is until it breaks. The 'use what you have' mantra.
Then, one winter, Kelvin decided to tear down the King. He owns his own body shop but doesn't usually deal with working on customer bikes, and like most of us, his work was the priority; not getting the bike done. He had sold off some of his other rides and Sturgis was approaching. If he was going, he'd have to have the bike done in three weeks.
He made the project his personal quest and went to work. Everything on the bike from the motor work, to the sheetmetal and painting, was done in-house. Starting with the rear fender, he chopped an inch off the bottom, split it down the center, and added 1-1/8 inches to its width while also stretching out the fender struts. This necessitated making new bracketry for the stretched saddlebags. The handmade strut covers feature integrated lights for the turn signals. He frenched in the taillights and made bag fillers for a sano look. Not being wasteful, Kelvin grafted the cutoff dovetail part of the rear fender to the lowered front fender.
He used the stock H-D gas tank but had H-D logos made from chrome vinyl applied to each side. The edges of the logos were airbrushed to add depth, then clearcoated with the rest of the tank.
After a grueling three weeks, Kelvin received delivery of his new Weld wheels. It was the night before his crew was leaving for the nearly 900-mile ride to Sturgis. At 6:30 p.m. he fired up the bike for the first time, rode it around the block, and went home to pack for the trip. It's been 30,000 miles since that day and his little red hot rod is still purring. Check out the spec box for all the motor details. This bike goes as well as it looks.