If you’re looking for a story about teenage girls puking, try the internet. This tale is about a bike builder going on a totally different purging binge. Namely, a holy war against imperfections. Mark Siddle at Cutting Edge Cycles prides himself on clean, smooth lines and the Zen minimalism that comes with them.
Just ask Drew Zepp. A few years ago, Cutting Edge created a bobber for him and you can’t get much more minimal than that. Drew’s been a good friend and customer to the shop ever since. When Drew felt the bagger itch, Cutting Edge was the logical choice for the job.
Look in any custom bike mag, and you’ll find a herd of customized stock iron. That wasn’t Drew’s funk for this project. He had motive, means, and opportunity for a ground-up built machine. Cutting Edge was happy to aid and abet.
Drew’s custom is based around a Rolling Thunder drop-seat bagger frame with curved downtubes. Cutting Edge ordered it stretched 4 inches in the spine for the long and low look. Big Bear Chopper’s Softail primary has a unique look that Cutting Edge wanted for this bike. One problem: the Rolling Thunder frame is set up for a Dyna-style drivetrain. Still, the shop went for extra credit and made the changes necessary to make the primary fit and flow. Mark cushioned the frame with a Harley fork set and Arnott air ride. A set of Renegade Wheels with Avon tires later, Drew’s frame graduated to rolling chassis status.
At this point Cutting Edge had a basic profile on its hands. What they needed, and this is very important when creating any bagger, is complementary metalwork. While the Corbin bags-and-fender combo they chose would look good on any project, Cutting Edge insisted it look perfect for this bike. That meant a fair amount of modification. The bags and rear tire skin were extended to better fit the custom frame and the left bag was filled where there was an opening for an exhaust pipe. Moreover, Cutting Edge fabbed the side covers under the seat and molded them to perfection. Up front, the Corbin fairing was also modified, including shaving the center ridge to better complement the rest of the bagger. Cutting Edge also gave it an inner dash to hold Drew’s Dakota Digital gauge set.
If all of that sounds involved, check out the painstaking detail Cutting Edge applied to the gas tank. Normally when you call a company like Fat Katz for a fuel tank, you order it in one piece, it arrives, and you tweak it to your frame. Here? Not so much. Drew’s tank came to the shop like a nasty mafia hit—in pieces. That’s what really drives home just how exacting Cutting Edge is when it comes to clean lines. By getting the tank that way, Cutting Edge was free to make Drew’s tank as precise a fit as possible. Just witness how well the tank’s tail flows into the seat and side covers. What’s more, the shop vents all of its tanks internally; this one comes out at the top of the tunnel, into the backbone, and then out the back of the bike. All of that, just so you won’t see a fuel line coming out of the bottom of the gas tank. It also has Fat Katz hidden crossover lines that Cutting Edge tucked up in the tunnel. Again, that’s to keep the bottom of the gas tank super sanitary.
It’s almost a given that Cutting Edge molded the frame where necessary for maximum smoothness. With this much attention to detail, you also want your paint to follow form too. Cutting Edge could have copped out, sprayed on one color, called it a deal, and grabbed a beer, but where’s the challenge in that? Instead, Charles Crews and Koby LeBlount laid down a two-toner consisting of cobalt blue and cream, with an airbrushed silver lining. The overall idea was a modern take on ’50s two-tone paintjobs. The TP air cleaner and Wire Plus coil and key switch housings were also reshaped and painted to better match the look of the bike as well.
Mark Siddle tells us, “We go to great length to create clean, smooth, flowing lines for our bikes. Don’t get me wrong, we do sharp, pointy sheetmetal bikes too but they’re done tastefully and also have a flow to them.” Looking at the meticulous details in this beauty that might be a bit of an understatement. B