Model: Liz Hui
Blink while driving through the state of Virginia and you may miss Stuarts Draft. The small town is full of old shops and antique stores where everyone knows everyone. Lee Myers is more than everyone in this small town. His '04 H-D FLHTPI always draws a crowd everywhere it goes. Hidden in this small town on some distant back road that all of Lee's customers love to ride to is Rankin Creek Custom Cycles, home of the best bagger customization in the area. In the beginning of his bike building days, Lee started out buying Softails and ripping them apart and learning every inch of the cycles and learned how to build everything from scratch more than 12 years ago. When asked what Rankin Creek Cycles specializes in, Lee responded with, "I enjoy every aspect of the bike world; however, I mostly enjoy the fabricating, customizing, and building of bikes. I love taking an Ultra Classic bagger, stripping off some of the parts, and showing how you can turn it into a hot rod bagger! I've had people come to my shop and tell me they never knew a bagger could look like that."
In 2005 some unfortunate police officer was riding the bike you see here and must have had his eyes targeted on some speeder racing away on a sportbike when he crashed his police H-D into the back of a 18-wheeler. Needless to say, we're hoping the officer was okay after the accident. Lee found this wrecked police cruiser at an ultimate low price that was too good to say no to. At the time of purchase, the H-D's lower legs were broken, front fender badly damaged, fairing, gas tank, and saddlebags tore up, but the frame was not bent. This was Lee's first bagger and he let it sit around for about a year drawing up ideas of his own custom bagger and how he wanted it to be and represent his work and shop. He put it back together like a Street Glide, rode it one season like that, and was not satisfied at all riding a stock cycle.
In the winter of 2008 Lee tore it down and began all the custom work. Being in a hurry to get the bike ready for spring, Matrix stretched the tank and fabricated the front fender. He originally bought a 21-inch Vega wheel but when he found out that Vega made a 23 he had RC Components send him one. When he first installed the 23-inch front wheel, it was so high in the front that he had to install a set of HHI triple trees and knew he would also have to rake the bike. Brad White with Gypsy Choppers, where Lee used to work part time, helped him rake the frame to the specs for the wheel. As for the engine, Lee pretty much left it alone other than installing a Freedom Performance exhaust and a Vance and Hines Fuelpak. The handlebars are Paul Yaffe monkey bars. High Roller Cycle Seats customized the seat for this wrecked police cruiser.
After stretching the bags, it came to paint, and Lee got in touch with Chad McCreay at Copperhead Graphics since he had done a killer job on a chopper Lee had built for a customer. Lee knew he wanted to paint it some kind of burnt orange and black. Chad had painted several test panels and there still wasn't a paint that Lee was excited about. One day Lee was riding through some car lots and there was this color scheme he had been dreaming of for a while. A Dodge Nitro had the burnt orange he had been looking for, thus getting the paint code over to Chad to get started on his paint. Chad loved the color but suggested he add some orange flake; however, Lee wanted to put silver graphics on the bike not orange flake! Chad's wife, Tabitha, was at the paint shop and insisted the orange flake to Lee as well. Lee stated, "I was going to put silver graphics on it, but Tabitha said it would look a lot better with orange flake, so I rolled with it as women have a better taste for paint! I'm so glad Tabitha came by that day because I couldn't be happier with my paint scheme!"
When asked what he loves most about this bike, he replied with, "The way the sheet metal and paintjob flow together. The bike has a stance and look I was after with the 23-inch wheel, stretched bags, and fender. The lowered hot rod look!" Lee would like to thank Brad White of Gypsy Choppers, who he worked with Lee for five years, Donnie Coffey for helping assemble the bike, and Chad McCreay of Copperhead Graphics for the killer paintjob. In the upcoming winter, Lee plans to take the motor out and turn it into a big-inch motor.