Yes, we know this is a Softail, and we’re okay with that. When this magazine was founded far off in the misty past of 2006, its venerable founders debated back and forth over what constituted a bagger—just touring bikes, or anything with saddlebags and a windscreen? A half a decade’s bike features later, we think we’ve reached a good compromise—mostly tourers, but if it’s a big cruiser that’s cool enough, we’ll make an exception. This is one such motorcycle.
Sumax’s Kirk VanScoten fathered this purple child. It’s a 2006 Heritage Softail with not just bags, but a Pro Charger to boot. Between those two changes, its sanitized lines, and the gaze-grabbing purple finish, we felt it made the grade for an exception to our usual rule. Kirk was anything but shy about telling us about this sweet scoot.
Baggers: Tell us a little about Sumax.
KV: I’ve known Arlen Ness a long time and done fiberglass for him for 15 years. I knew Jay when he started Jaybrake. When Sumax started we were a specialty distributor, then things progressed until we even started making our own frames, then we brought the fiberglass in-house. That let us control the process and do what we wanted, when we wanted. You’ve heard of OCC. We were on the TV show the first five years. You’ll notice how gorgeous it all was. We did that all for them. When we did that, all of a sudden we had manufacturers coming to us wanting to do stuff so they’d get on the show. Our powders are smooth as glass. We get work from around the world. The main good thing that came out of OCC for us was that it made a difference in the colors we could do. Sumax has also done a lot of work for Disney to make things look like magic dust. We’re one of few places that can do two layers so you can look through the finish.
Baggers: Why did you build the Softail bagger?
KV: Originally I picked it up for fitting our bags and brackets to it. I knew we were going to do a project with it eventually. We’ve been doing a lot of powdercoat on Pro Chargers, so Pro Charger called and asked if he wanted to do a little cross-marketing. That decided it—cross-marketing with our ads. Kevin at Motorcycle Medic was my main guy for assembly due to how detail-oriented and into colors he is.”
Baggers: And then?
KV: We totally stripped the Softail down, then decided on a color for it and had the color mixed. I knew I wanted to make it a bagger. Kevin worked with the Ride Wright guys so we went with spoke wheels. The rest of the bike progressed from there.
Baggers: What do you like most about this bike?
KV: Two things. First, I was surprised by the blower. We’ve done a lot of big-inch bikes. I had a feeling like it would lurch, but it doesn’t. It’s docile at low speeds as if stock, but at 3,000 rpm when you whack the throttle, it smokes the tire and takes off! The bike makes a tremendous amount of power. Second, we took insignias Harley sells for Street Glides and put them on the gas tank so people think it’s a Street Glide without the fairing. They’ll even ask if that’s a radiator on the front. It’s got nice handling and shows off all our work.
Baggers: What challenged you the most?
KV: Our biggest challenge was the Pro Charger unit. Before this, they were only made for fuel-injected motorcycles and this one has a carburetor on it. They’d never done one. They needed a good sized carb for the install, so we used the Mikuni 45mm. We put a fuel pump on it. It still gets great mileage. This was also where Kevin being detail-oriented came into play. He ran the wiring through the bars to clean them up. You can see how everything is detailed down to the wire. Literally.
Take a look at the photos and you’ll see why this Heritage made the grade. You’ll also get a clear understanding of what we went through six years ago when we hemmed and hawed about whether or not to include non-touring Harley-Davidsons in the magazine. Purist dresser zealots may not agree with us; that’s fine. Running the same old stories each month leads to stagnation instead of innovation. Besides, who wants to read cookie cutter bike features every issue? B