1997 H-D Lonely King Project
What a difference a year makes. We scored this '97 Road King out of Billings, Montana, off of eBay with less than 3,000 miles on the clock. The deal sounded sweet, but when our friends at Keyboard Motorcycle shipping safely delivered the scooter on our doorstep down here in SoCal, it looked like the FLHR had 10 times the mileage on it. The deprived bike sat in a barn for four years since its last ride and had definitely seen better days. While looking over the bike we deduced that when the Road King did its bid in the freezing winters and sweltering summers, anything plated or painted was just plain ruined. In short, we were starting off with a low-mileage piece of junk.
We started off the transition by swapping the 16-inch wheels with a set of 21 and 18-inch Ride Wright Fat Daddy wheels with Avon tires. To stop the larger wheels and ditch the rusty H-D parts, Lyndall Racing rotors and black Hawg Halters calipers were bolted up.
Once the circumference of the wheels expanded, so did the distance the bike sat away from the ground, so we decided to lower the bike with aid from Progressive Suspension, who offered up its front 2-inch lowering kit and 1 1/2 inch lower-than-stock 440 rear shocks.
Once the bike was sitting and rolling right, we upgraded the foot controls with a set of Cyclesmith's extended floorboards and Softbrake brake and shift levers in chrome. Up top we were hunting for a set of comfortable bars with attitude, so with one phone call we received a set of Trask Performance 16-inch Bro Bars in black. To keep the darkness going we bolted up blacked-out H-D hand controls and some Performance Machine Renthal grips for comfortable throttling.
While we were in the middle of blacking out the bars, we called Harley-Davidson and ordered up a black nacelle, fork bells, and clamp cover to match the fork lowers. When we were putting the nacelle back together, we installed an Adjure tri-bar headlight with blue dot in the center for a retro look.
The engine is basically stock inside and a good runner due to its low mileage, but we needed to clean up the outside of the motor and swap out the gummed up CV carburetor for a Mikuni HSR 42. It was at this time the bike went over to Samson for a set of its Custom Shop true duals, which really helped the 80ci motor get up and go. The bike rode so much nicer with the new carb, pipes, bars, and altered stance, but the stock look of the bike still remained.
Once the mechanical upgrades were finished on the newly dubbed Lonely King, the OEM bodywork was switched around a bit for fun, but when it came time to seriously consider the final paint scheme, we wanted to upgrade the sheetmetal and saddlebags. We chose Klock Werks' 21-inch front and stretched rear Benchmark fenders. We also dug into the Klock parts pile for a Curvacious low-profile dash and bag fillers. When it came time to get our hands on a set of stretched saddlebags we got on the horn again with Trask Performance and promptly ordered up a set. The bags are made from hand-laid fiberglass and are one of the highlights of the bike.
We discussed what kind of paint we wanted on the bike and a late '60s Lowrider theme was chosen. After looking at what seemed to be a million paint jobs from a thousand painters, we went with Airea 5150 due to its vast understanding of Lowrider and Kustom Kulture paintwork. The only thing we told Scott and his crew at Airea 5150 was to use brown mini-flake as the main color and to get as wild as they wanted.
When we received the painted parts a short while later, we were floored at the work they did. The paintjob had every single '60s and '70s panel, tape-fade, scallop, pinstripe and gold leaf trick in the book. The tri-tone tangerine, gold, and brown paint design was absolutely gorgeous and surpassed even our best expectations.
With the newly-squirted sheetmetal on the bike, the Lonely King went from a nice looking stock bike with some add-ons, to a full-on custom bagger that could easily bring home a trophy at any show it entered. With it all said and done, the Lonely King was two-wheeled case study in what could be done with an older bike and a little work, while showcasing some of best parts companies in the business. We hope you all enjoyed the ride!