2006 Ultra Classic
As concepts go, cool is subjective. Ask a group of twenty-somethings what's cool and you'll get an entirely different set of answers than you would from those younger or older.
Most young guns aren't going to put a stock Harley Ultra Classic on their "it" list. Between the bags and all the extras it's not exactly sleek or svelte. When sore muscles and aching bones heal in the blink of an eye, why do you need to feel comfy, right?
What the Ultra is, though, is comfortable. Luxurious. It's the kind of steed you want when aching joints after a full day's saddle time are a major concern for you. With a world of life experience under his belt, Al Thompson values comfort but when it came to buying a touring machine, he also wanted to look cool.
In the fall of 2005 Al was looking for a touring bike that he and his lovely wife could take on trips and bring all of the items that 'mid life' requires. The Ultra Classic was an obvious choice but Al had some issues with it: "Not much was cool about the geezer glide, but it's a Harley-Davidson. Then the new 2006 Street Glide caught my eye. What a cool bike. I knew the Ultra Classic was the best choice, but what a bummer to be a geezer on a loser cruiser." He turned to a friend to help him choose between coolness and practicality. The response from his long-time riding buddy was less than encouraging.
"Al, look in the mirror! You're a geezer. You can purchase the best looking bike money can buy, but you will only look cool when riding it. Eventually, you have to get off the bike."
Reality set in. One Ultra Classic, please.
Al was still set on being cool, though. He personalized his Ultra Classic with a few bolt-on items, but couldn't let go of the burning desire for a cool bike. After numerous trips and fun times on his scoot, it was time for a 20k service. It was also time for a detachable Tour-Pak kit and an improved stereo. Yes, the Street Glide burned an image in his brain that would not go away. Al wanted to find a shop close to home, as well as support a local small business. He found K-otic Kustoms, of Woodstock, Georgia, just up the street but got way more than he bargained for.
Al pulled in and met shop owner JT at the door. They walked outside to look at Al's bike and talked about the required service, the detachable Tour-Pak, and the trouble he and his wife were having hearing the stereo. When Al mentioned starting over with a Street Glide, JT said, "Don't waste your money starting over, I can help you with your bike." Music to Al's ears! Which, with a new stereo, he'd probably be able to hear. "I knew right then JT had my best interest and expenses at heart," Al told us.
Al left the bike at K-otic, assuming he'd pick it up in a few days and could start looking good around town. However, as with many great endeavors, one thing led to another. JT had some great ideas and Al found websites and magazines. Who knew that baggers were a cool thing to do? Next thing Al knew, JT worked some magic and put the smack down on Al's bike.
Okay, in this instance "next thing" is code for "six months." That's how long it took K-otic to transform this Ultra Classic. Very little was done to the basic platform; it's the same stock Twin Cam V-twin motor set inside a stock frame," but there's hardly another surface on this bike that didn't receive a custom touch.
What Al really wanted was to look good. He liked the riding position and the power plant. JT would've done him a grave disservice by urging Al to make changes he didn't truly want. That also let the shop focus the budget on visual upgrades like a cleaner back fender, stretching the gas tank, creating stretched side covers, and zapping the skin with a killer blend of Candy Red and Gunmetal Gray paint. Their strategy centered around making Al's Glide cleaner, smoother, and sleeker.