One Fire It's OK To Play With
Without fame, he who spends his time on earth leaves only such a mark upon the world as smoke does on air or foam on water." --Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, Cantico XXIV
Take that statement and apply it to a parking lot full of motorcycles at a rally. What stands out first? The flashy ones like Mike Hodgin's `05 Road Glide. Bright paint and chrome are a good start, but it takes more than that for a great machine. It's what's on the inside that really counts; looking good is one thing, riding fast is another. He knows that, and so does Dante DePaola, who built it for him.
Dante's been around two wheelers since he first flogged a poor dirt bike offroad at the tender age of 8. His uncles were anything but discouraging, too. Long time riders themselves, they cultured a healthy love for motorcycles throughout his childhood. After college, Dante met up with Ron Simms who got him involved with the business side of riding. Dante cut his teeth under Simms' wing and eventually started out on his own, opening a shop in Santa Rosa, California.
But that was back in 2000 and we're living in the now. When Mike brought his stock Glide into Dante's shop, he wanted it rodded up, cleaned up, and colored up. Both of them call Santa Rosa home and knew a cool custom bagger would definitely be something different for the area.
After tearing it down on the lift, Dante pulled the motor out for major surgery. Mike's a bit of a speed freak, so beefing up the mill was a must. Dante swapped in a Screamin' Eagle 103-inch kit and changed over to a Bassani 2-into-1 pipe system that also sanitizes the primary side profile. This being an `05 model, it came with a Five-speed transmission. Since Mike was going touring on it, Dante switched over to a Baker Six-speed for smooth sailing on the freeway.
The motor's not all about muscle. Dante blinged it up with some jewelry courtesy of Roland
Cleaning it up came next. Dante took all the extraneous stuff off of the fenders, smoothed them, and switched over to Klock Werks filler panels for starters. Off came the front turn signals, and a smooth Perse fork set went on to finish cleaning up the frontend. "What's hard about baggers is the amount of stuff you have to deal with. I do mostly minimalist bikes. I wanted to make it flow right without making it look like a floating whorehouse. It's especially clean without the tour pack. What I like is that this bike is not too gaudy but still pretty bright," Dante told us.
Although Dante's a one-man operation, he got Mike Taylor to lay down the red background and black flames that draw your eyes in at first glance. Mike's the same guy who paints for Ron Simms, so he's no foreigner to flame jobs. This one came off beautifully, and the combination of dark red with black makes for a unified paint scheme that's long on symmetry and short on contrast. It's a big part of making it flashy but not visually loud.
Mike is pretty stoked with his bike but Dante says he's not exactly done with it. Mike hot rods a lot; a 103-inch motor's a gateway upgrade for a guy like him. Good for a quick rush, but once the initial thrill wears off it's time for something more ballsy. Say, for example, the 124-inch (or bigger) V-Twin Mike's got on his brain. This presents him with a unique dilemma. With all that speed, how are folks supposed to notice his cool paint and cleaned up ride?