Gassed up, toolkit packed, cell phone charged, and crew in formation. Destination—Sturgis, South Dakota, home of the of the biggest, baddest bike rally in the world. Starting point: West Allis, Wisconsin, and if you’re a local, it’s just ‘Stallis; left side of Milwaukee with a population of 61K. And another home of the biggest—the biggest goddamn state fair in the country where nothing can’t be skewered, battered, and deep fried. A scant 13 miles from a little motorsickle company called Harley-Davidson and where one Dennis Bublitz resides. Wisconsin native and lover of anything with two wheels, this homosapien has evolved from crotch rocket to road sofa with pride.
With a plethora of two wheelers under his belt, including a Yahama ricer, a Dyna Wide Glide, followed by his first chopper that he had to sell for some much needed home improvements. Hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Throw in another Bublitz original chopper in the mix and like a diagram from knuckle-dragger, to Cro Magnon, to cruising man, “El Guapo” is definitely built for the modern riding human. And for you gringos out there, “El Guapo” translates to “The Handsome One.” The scooter, not the builder. I didn’t say it. He did! This time Dennis wrenched together a classic he’ll hold onto for Sturgis and most likely, beyond.
Having ridden more than 900 miles on a suicide shift chopper with no rear suspension to pay homage to a fallen road warrior, he realized a 1,300-mile road trip to Sturgis on a bone rattler just wasn’t going to cut it. He liked his vertebral column intact. So in 2010, it was kismet when Hal’s Harley-Davidson in New Berlin, his place of employment where he manages the parts department, was contracted as the sole dealership to replace a dozen of the Milwaukee County Police Department’s motorcycle fleet. Wanting to hang with the big boys in Sturgis, he was able to purchase one of the 5-0 bike trade-ins. Dennis wanted the highest mileage, most affordable police bagger he could get. His first testrun to Biker’s Disneyland was a success. His maiden voyage proved to become a tradition. With spinal cord blissfully aligned, Dennis decided his second excursion on the bagger would be done with style.
Dennis wanted a fast and reliable motor. The stock 88 motor was treated to a healthy dose of go-fast parts including some plastic surgery to add a pair of 97ci jugs. Sitting on top of the S&S cylinders were worked heads courtesy of Hal’s in-house race-bike gurus. The H-D throttle body was pitched in favor of a high-performing and flowing HorsePower Inc. throttle body. A combination of Vance & Hines headers mated to a set of Jim Nasi mufflers to fit into the unique saddlebags. It’s a healthy motor that still drives the stock five-speed tranny.
There’s usually a set of unwritten steps that go along with a rebuild theme. What is the motivation behind the final product? For Dennis it started with comfort. He’s not the type of fella who trailers his ride around. As far as the design goes, think ’49 Mercury. The type of machine you can’t help but feel the urge to run your hand over and feel its smooth, luscious curves. If you’re not familiar with this piece of automotive history, give a Google and you’ll understand what all the hubbub is about. With the afterglow of Sturgis still lingering, he searched for and found the perfect kit from Jim Nasi Customs (jimnasicustoms.com) to transform the FLH into a classic custom. As a modern thinker, Dennis decided to go with the stealthy cool flat black, or as he states, “flat, flat, flat black” to match his chopper. With a stellar paintjob executed by TS Customs (tscustoms.com), new wheels by Rampage (rampagewheels.com), kicking stereo components from Clarion and Hawg Wired (hawg-wired.com), and five months of knuckle-busting, “El Guapo” was ready to hit the highway.
So if you venture to the Sturgis rally this summer, you’ll probably catch a glimpse of Dennis and his buddies. And if you happen to wander through ‘Stallis, Hal’s H-D is just down the road. It’s the biggest “one-stop” bike shop in the area.
Ya’ll come back now, ya hear? B