2005 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
"A life-changing thing called a divorce-that's why I did it. It was the bar or a bike. Hell, the bar scene would've been cheaper, but this was more fun," Tony Egland told me. If you're going to shell out a cash heap for therapy, why not go with a program you can ride all over town? I'm sure you could mount someone and ride them through the city for the right price, but cops tend to frown on that sort of thing (except in some parts of Nevada). The po-po is usually OK with it if your steed has two wheels and a motor, though. Knowing that, Tony procured an '05 Road King and lost himself in the sweet embrace of wind and asphalt.
Although it's his first motorcycle, this isn't his first day at the rodeo. He's a long-time street rodder with a fair amount of experience in the garage. Even so, when he heard the call to two-wheelers, the message came through loud and clear. Riding became like a drug for him, only without the risk of body-cavity searches.
Obviously he didn't leave it stock. If he had, you wouldn't be looking at it right now. Cruising on a hog is a great cure for brain cobwebs; an easygoing day in the saddle leaves a fair amount of room for contemplation. Tony's customization process started that way and snowballed into the chromed-out all-day touring motorcycle presented here. That's not to say he just changed parts like a paranoid schizophrenic changes names; his brand of madness had some method to it. Reliability, comfort, and good looks were his top priorities.
The King's V-twin motor gave him plenty of the first. Tony wanted a little more muscle off the line, sure. What he didn't want was a high-maintenance relationship with his motorcycle. That's why he kept the power upgrades simple and straightforward-a Milwaukee Twins air cleaner, a Thunderheader pipe setup, and a Screamin' Eagle ignition suited his needs just fine. "That's what I like most about it," Tony said. "You can just start it and ride it. I want to get on it without worrying about a breakdown. I can also just hit the cruise control if I want to be lazy."
Comfort was a little more involved. The stock Harley seat was trimmed down in keeping with lowering the suspension. Tailoring it to his body also helped. Like the shaved Harley seat, the fairing's accessory pack got the ostrich hide treatment too. He added in the custom fairing for added wind protection on long runs but it also comes off for stripped-down barhopping. The only downside being the ribbing he catches from his buddies for calling it a chameleon bike.
Pimping out anything is often a balancing act between looking good and feeling good. Tony's approach was simple enough to walk the edge: "If it doesn't move, paint it. If it does, chrome it." A lot of the OEM parts found themselves plated in the shiny stuff-from the swingarm out back to the controls up front. He was plenty happy with the feel of the bike, so there wasn't any point in changing it. That's not to say he left the aftermarket out in the cold, though. Parts were swapped in reasonable, tasteful doses all along the length of the bagger, like the Wrath wheels from Performance Machine, the Carlini handlebars, and the Küryakyn highway bars. One glaring omission he made, though, was sound. It didn't jibe with what he wanted on the road. "My whole idea was to get on the bike and clear my head, so no stereo," he told me.
The main event in this show is the color scheme. From the get-go Tony envisioned flames with marble. In between each coat, the paint was sanded down so the flames feel embedded in the clear. His reason for the extra effort? To keep people from thinking it's all smoke-and-mirrors pulled off with decals. When you run a hand over it, Tony's King feels baby-smooth.
With as much detail as went into the paintjob, you'd think that was the hardest part of the project. Tony disagreed: "No, that'd be knowing when to be done. I'd tear it down, add something, and keep adding. You know what? It'll never be done so now I can be done with it." Although Tony loves his monarch of the highway, it's given him insight into some ideas for his motorcycle project. "Maybe I could have a little bigger motor. Maybe a stereo. Hell, I considered a sidecar so I could take one of my daughters with me. Who knows?" he laughed.
"If it doesn't move, paint it. If it does, chrome it."