We all have passions in life-you know, different strokes for different folks. Some of us take the mania so far we cover our bikes with symbols, graphics, and mementos to let others know what we really dig in life. Maybe you're into skulls, kitties, bodacious ladies, guitars, or a favorite sports hero. It's all good and a way to fly your freedom flag when out puttering down Main Street, USA. The uniqueness we put into our scoots is what sets us and our bikes apart from a factory fresh garbage wagon.
We're not denouncing stock bikes but it's the lure of the customization that makes so many of us love to work, play, and ride year after year. Jeff Gray, the owner and proprietor of Jaags Cycles in Maryland, is just one of those people that likes to show off his passion: Marilyn Monroe. Looking at the pictures here it's pretty obvious that Jeff loves the former Miss Norma Jean Mortensen Baker. For Jeff this bike started out as a totaled '05 FL, and he figured that the best way to bring the old girl back to life was to also resurrect the Hollywood icon herself at the same time. Jeff didn't want to use the iconic traditional played out images of Marilyn on the bike, but rare images capturing her innocence and youth in an array of headshots as if you were actually looking into her eyes. Which, as Jeff points out, if you're not careful, can be quite distracting and mesmerizing while actually riding the bike.
The bike is almost exclusively black, white, and shades of gray with the only splash of color being on Marilyn's lips. Marilyn's signature on the seat is actually a replicated signature obtained by Jeff's father, a '60s PGA golf professional who knew or seemed to meet everyone throughout his career.
Over the course of six months Jeff turned the wrecked bike into a show bike. The stock frame checked out as being OK, so the first order of business was punching out the motor to 95ci and juicing up the bump sticks with a set of SE 203s. The fuel-injected motor drives a stock five-speed tranny. For the rolling stock Jeff went with a pair of 18-inch Domino Contrast Cut wheels from Performance Machine wrapped in Avon skins. Matching PM rotors were utilized but he used HHI calipers on the front with a stock H-D unit on the rear. All of the sheetmetal was H-D as well as the fairing, saddlebags, and controls, but Battistinis was called upon to add some bling to the floorboards, dash, and saddlebags.
As you can already see, it was the paint that received the most attention. Jeff called upon Darren Wenzel to work his magic with the pigments and airbrushing. Every available part of sheetmetal, side covers, and fairing contain images of Marilyn. The artwork was so well done it's hard to distinguish the airbrushing from actual photos of the star. It looks that good and lifelike. Jeff's Norma Jean bike took home the Promotor's Pick "Best of Show" at the 2009 East Coast Indoor Internationals that claims to be the largest indoor all-American car and custom show on the East Coast.
Jeff definitely isn't your average fan of Marilyn Monroe as he tried unsuccessfully to win an auction for the funeral plot above Marilyn; a resting place comfortably on top of Marilyn. He then figured, "Hey, I've wanted to ride this beauty my entire life and now I can! I have a room in my home dedicated to her and will always truly appreciate her talent, beauty, and charm. So this is my 'Candle In the Wind.'" Like we said, different strokes...