With styles getting more and more outlandish, you need to be a fabricator to do the latest in baggeralia, right? Wrong.
“Fabrication’s for suckers, meet Lucy…”
That’s what Cory Ness tried to get across to me in a conversation we had about this bike. Okay, he definitely didn’t use those words, (and definitely did not name the bike Lucy) but it’s the thought that counts. This fine Road King is almost entirely Arlen Ness catalog bolt-ons. Though they vary in difficulty, they all go on with fairly standard tools and do not require any grinding, shaping, or cutting. The only thing requiring any specialized equipment are the fork lowers on which you’ll need to seat the seals.
The centerpiece of the bike is the Windshield Skin that was painted to match the rest of the machine and gives a more “baggeresque” look to the otherwise more classically styled Road King. It bolts up to the stock crossbar holes, so it’s super-easy to do. There’s also a radio kit (not shown) that bolts up the backside of the unit for a little more fairing function to go with the look. Except, since this is still a Road King, it can be taken off when not wanted.
The other re-shaped portion of the bike was in the rear with the gear. Ness bags and a smooth fender extend the lines of the King down and around the mufflers. Ness/Rinehart mufflers poke out from the form-fitting Down-N-Out Bags. The bags mount up to stock lids and hardware and are actually beveled on the outer edge for increased ground clearance, which is probably not an issue on a stock-height bike like this. Also the extended bags some space for storage.
Lucy carries Ness’ swirly engraved theme all the way through the bike from big-ticket items like wheels down to various covers. Between the Road King itself mimicking a ’50s dresser, the ’70s-style engraving and motocross fork cans, and the modern baggerista touches, you’d think this bike would be hopelessly lost in its anachronistic nostalgia, but it somehow carries it off. Perhaps the secret is in the details. With the aforementioned smoothed Ness fork lowers, rounded shapes on the footrests, and a pair of non-Ness items with Kodlin/CCI bars and a Le Pera Villain seat, the bike comes off as a well-thought-out and finished custom that would catch the eye of even a grizzled old hot-rod guy.
Which leaves us to the question: What’s better: natural or bolt-ons? Natural feels better, but doesn’t stand up to gravity as well…wait, what was the question? Whatever it was, if you take your bolt-on fetish this far down the primrose trail, be prepared for a bill much like a full custom job. Cory Ness informs us that the sum total of the parts seen here is in the neighborhood of $15k, which of course could be done in stages or all at once to work on your own custom ride. We’re pretty sure the rideability of this fine machine is at least as good as stock with the moderately sized 21-inch front wheel, and possibly better. You frequently cannot say that about your latest 26-inch-and-bigger wheeled bagger. B