Mike Slagle, sales manager at Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson in Riverside, California, enjoys his job almost as much as he’s enjoyed changing-up his bikes throughout the years. At the dealership he talks with people every day about realizing their bike’s custom potential, and a couple of his friends kept pushing him “to go as big and bad as possible with my own bike,” Mike tells us. “Kinda asking me to practice what I preach.” And that’s exactly what he did with his current everyday rider: a 2010 FLHX Street Glide.
Early in the design phase of the build, Mike’s friend, Frank (who conveniently works for the wheel company Lexani), helped him decide on a 26-inch front wheel. Most of the work on the bike was performed at the Fordyce shop under the supervision of Josh Rundlett, but a huge wheel like the one planned was not a bolt-on affair. “We don’t do frame modification at the shop, so after Josh stripped the frame, he took it to his personal garage to rake the neck an additional 9 degrees with a kit from HHI,” Mike says. The kit also included a set of 9-degree raked triple-trees culminating in a frontend rise of 18 degrees to meet the hub of the wheel. Not surprisingly, Frank from Lexani made the wheel set. “The wheels are a one-off design similar to one of Lexani’s car wheels. Its main business is car and truck stuff, and I was lucky to get a set of the few motorcycle wheels it makes each year,” Mike says. The towering 26-incher received a ring of Vee “Monster” rubber and the 18-inch rim in the rear was wrapped in a 200mm-wide Metzeler tire. Paul Yaffe Monkey bars (not quite ape-hangers) were secured to the top of the triple trees and a pair of smooth legs slid into the HHI clamps. Adjustable Progressive suspension shocks were installed to regulate cushioning in the rear.
Customization can take an indefinite amount of time, and Mike didn’t want to be without his commuter for long. “Eventually, I plan to bump up the engine’s displacement to 113 ci, but I can do that anytime. I want to ride it and keep it reliable for now,” Mike says. The fuel-injected 96-inch Twin-Cam received D&D Fat Cat 2-into-1 pipe that adds a bit of torque and a great rumble to the bike. Able to flow considerably more air than stock and more than ready for the planned big-inch motor, a Battistinis air-cleaner cover was bolted to the right side of the engine. The six-speed transmission and stock clutch was more than sufficient for commuting duties and is actuated with a hydraulic unit from H-D.
With a goal of a cohesive and unique design in mind for the skin of the bike, it took parts from a myriad of sources to make it happen. A Paul Yaffe stretched gas tank was fit to the frame’s backbone while Sinister Industries side panels smoothly transition into the saddlebags. Stretched and widened “Down-and-Out” Arlen Ness bags were mounted on either side of a Ness rear fender. The custom Fat Katz front fender hardly conceals the huge front wheel, located just under a Yaffe Wedged batwing fairing. The bags, fairing, tank, dashboard, fenders, and side covers were painted flat black by John at Intense Creations. Each piece was then meticulously pinstriped to accentuate the curves of the body panels while adding a lime-colored flourish that stands out on the monochromatic basecoat.
The sheetmetal and rolling stock required a little extra work to make it fit properly, but the accessories practically flew on the bike. The stock headlight was lengthened with a Headwinds trim ring that matches the new angle of the fairing. Arlen Ness taillights, turn signals, and license plate mount were installed in the bags and rear fender. Low profile, slim oval mirrors don’t grab attention and keep the handlebars balanced (and 50-state legal). Matching, lightening-holed Battistinis bag latches, frontend accent pieces, floorboards, forward controls, and pegs are tastefully sprinkled on either side of the bike. A pocketed seat by Le Pera (and designed specifically for the Paul Yaffe gas tank) is perfect for maintaining correct riding position under hard acceleration and features an aerodynamically shaped rear section that’s comfortable enough to hold a passenger. The lowered/trimmed windshield gives the front a sleek profile while providing decent wind protection. Just below the windshield, a set of gauges from Harleygauges.com were installed to complement the stock speakers contained by the user-interface side of the fairing.
After eight months of down time, Mike was happy with the results of the bike build and even happier to be riding it again. Years of experience make custom bike building a relatively painless experience, but even a bike built mainly at a dealership faces tribulations. “I’m spoiled working at a Harley shop. I have almost every part I need for a bike on hand. The hardest part about this build was getting the custom aftermarket parts quickly,” Mike says. Though it is a custom bike, Mike rides it like a borrowed mule. “It’s fun to look at, but I ride the bike every day. The rake is extreme and there’s a lot of rotating mass in that front wheel, but it rides pretty damn nice. I’m getting ready to take a trip out to Colorado and I’m excited to face some real weather touring with it outside of Southern California,” Mike says proudly.