About eight years ago a similar thing happened to Mike Armtrout.
Gearing up for a local toy run, Mike surveyed the three bikes taking up space in his garage, none of them in running order, and decided he needed a replacement ride. Mike took a trip to his local NorCal Harley dealer and he rode away with a Road Glide. He had to promise his wife that (unlike the other bikes) he was not going to bury a ton of money in this one, that it was just going to be a rider. Mike ended up having to go back on the pledge more than a little, but not before kicking the other three bikes to the curb and freeing up some money and garage space.
Obviously, it’s way easier to keep just a single set of wheels running and looking good. But this wasn’t about economics, this was about love…for his new bagger. Mike went a little crazy. He loved his new bike, but it didn’t measure up to the level of custom he was used to, nor did it fit his style.
He started fabricating parts for the bike, but it wasn’t enough. So the bike went on a little road trip without him. In Arizona, John Shope’s Sinister Industries (JSSI) raked and stretched the frame, giving it the long, low look Mike was looking for, while making room for a new 23-inch front wheel. Meanwhile, Shawn Wilken (also in AZ) laid down the paint and graphics. Jaime Costeneda of La Puente, California, did the engraving, carving his patterns atop the chrome, stainless, and aluminum surfaces of the bike. Jaime evev got into the forgotten corners in his quest to tattoo the beast.
Back home in California’s Central Valley, Head Hunter (the Glide’s new name) was scheduled for a new heart. Judging by the number of times Binford’s custom, ground-up bikes have graced our cover with sick baggers, you might not realize that what Paul Binford is best known for is building fast, reliable engines. The Head Hunter’s next stop was with Binford where the Twin Cam 88 powerplant was punched out to 95 ci with a combination of Screamin’ Eagle and aftermarket parts. Paul also hooked up Mike with a pair of “Elkhorn” bars that look remarkably like apes.
The final touches were the twin Skull Industries headlights that grace the front of the fairing. Jay at Skull had never seen his lights used on a Road Glide, but was happy to find out that with a fabbed mounting plate and some creative fairing reinforcement, the 8-pound hunks of cranial-shaped metal held on just fine.
Mike’s now such an evangelist for the bagger life that he started a company, Bagger Pimps, fabricating parts specifically for the saddlebag-equipped road barges. Just about all of the bolt-on accessories on this bike were designed and fabricated by Mike, and are for sale to the public.
Mike told us that despite the show-bike look of the bike, he rides it everywhere and finally has just the look he was going for.
You may be hearing more about Mike’s place in the Baggerverse in the coming months, or see his parts on other magazine-worthy bikes, but always remember, the original Pimp, this Head Hunter, was seen right here. B