No one’s ever going to accuse Roger Vaughn of subtlety. He’s way too dynamic for that. Even when I interviewed him over the phone about this ’02 Road King, his voice practically crackled with energy as he described the hows and whys of taking a bike some riders would consider ready for retirement age and evolving it into a show-conquering custom beauty.
It’s the sort of energy that serves you well on a project like this. Roger was tired of seeing scoots where the owner swapped the wheels, changed the paint, and called it a day. He really wanted his King to stand out. Most people would’ve stopped at the Maserati theme and the 14 speaker stereo system, but for Roger, something was missing. Apparently, his Road King needed a PlayStation 2. Oh, and a Wii console.
Yes, when he needs a break from the saddle, Vaughn can stop and play Call of Duty any time he wants. While that’s by far the most indulgent addition he’s made to this Road King, it may or may not be the most ambitious change. That title might be a toss-up between the chromed frame, the video games, and the Maserati spoke wheels, which are one-offs specifically for this bike. I could run on at the keyboard about this bike, but I’d rather let Roger do it.
Baggers: What’s your background?
RV: I’m a laborer in the refineries. I got into riding with a Honda 750 that I modified to sound like a Harley. I worked and worked to get one but didn’t have the money. That Honda wasn’t the one I wanted. My mother was tripping on me riding a bike, then I put it away. She died, and I started riding. It was always amazing to get on two wheels instead of four.
Baggers: What about your electrical skills? Wiring all this up couldn’t have been easy. You’ve got not just the stereo and lighting, but the games too.
RV: I’m not a full-on electrician, but I used to work with one. When I see something, I learn it. One thing I picked up is that if you do any wiring, make sure you make the connections right and solder them. I saved a lot of money doing it myself.
Baggers: Why the Maserati style?
RV: It was different. I wanted to let people know you can go to town instead of just wheels and paint. The goal was something to amaze people. A lot of them think you can only go so far but if you can do wiring and other stuff, you can go a long way.
Baggers: What do you like most about it?
RV: I love the feel of it. Harley-Davidsons, there’s nothing like them. The way it handles, feels, and vibrates. It’s just a beautiful bike.
Baggers: What was the hardest part of making it all happen?
RV: Trying to map it out. Breaking it down to the frame and getting the frame chromed. The guys at Rebel Design helped me get it down and get it to the chromers. I had no idea how that was going to turn out. Then I did all kinds of trick stuff like the Maserati one-off wheels and Maserati theme. I looked at the emblems when the wheels came back and they made it all look authentic to me.