Every month we get bike submissions from people for consideration to be featured in Baggers. Some people have very lofty goals and will title their email with the subject line: Your next cover bike. It's great to reach for the stars, but we only have 12 covers a year, so it has to be something really special to be in contention for a cover spot. Other times people will submit their bikes just hoping to see it in the Readers' Rides section. And after looking at the bike, we might feel it's worthy of more than just a half page in the magazine and run it as a feature bike. Christopher Ash from Missouri was one of those people who had one of those bikes. Chris sent in a couple pics of his Road Glide asking if we would run it in the Readers' Ride section, but once we looked at the pics, we liked what we saw and we liked what he did with the bike, so we decided to give it the feature treatment. We'll let Chris tell you the story of his bike.
I am an active-duty Major in the Missouri National Guard, stationed in Jefferson City. I also own a vehicle detailing business on the side. When I am not wearing my ACUs, detailing cars, or chasing my six- and four-year-olds, I'm tinkering and riding my 2009 Road Glide. I bought the bike new through the Military Sales office after my last deployment. The bike was delivered to Mid America Harley-Davidson in Columbia, Missouri. I had sold my military edition 2007 Road King just after I deployed in 2008 and knew I was going to buy another bagger when I got back and was hell-bent on the Mirage Orange paint scheme. The only bike offered in 2009 with that color was the Road Glide. I wasn't crazy about the shark-nose fairing, but I just had to have orange, so I pulled the trigger. Thankfully I got used to the fairing and I can honestly say it's the best riding bike I have ever owned (out of a total of eight Harleys). All my buddies who rode Softails and Dynas were giving me shit about the fairing and the radio. All those guys are now riding Street and Road Glides.
I have always customized my Harleys and I started right away on the Glide. The chrome was too much against the bright orange so I pulled all the chrome and had it powdercoated black. I was able to get it back together and attend a bike event at Lake Ozark where I came across a bike very similar to mine. From that moment on I was determined to make my Road Glide different from the rest. I called my friend James Campbell at Black Hawk Customs and Ryan Adcock at Mid America H-D and we mapped out a plan to customize my RG with the right parts and do them strategically over time as my budget would allow. Over the next two years I would order parts as I had the extra scratch. With two kids in daycare and extracurricular activities, extra money for the bike was hard to come by. This past winter I ordered a Paul Yaffe Bagger Nation House Party audio system. The kit comes with new saddlebag lids that need to be painted. The orange paint was hard to match so I bit the bullet and did a total custom paintjob. I wanted to keep the Mirage Orange and bring in some black. Creative Street Customs basically had free rein to do whatever it wanted. We were down to the wire to get it all back together before Bikeweek 2012. With the help of friends, we pulled it off and made it to Bikeweek.
In the process of de-blinging the bike, the engine was torn down and the rocker boxes, cam
The most challenging part of the build was finding quality parts at reasonable prices from vendors who had them in stock. There are a lot of vendors out there selling parts these days; however, just because there is a recognized name attached to a part doesn't mean it's of good quality or that it is in stock. Lastly is budget. I do not have thousands of dollars sitting around to throw at my Harley habit. I had to juggle my family responsibilities and the next accessory, which is why it took so long to get this bike where it is today. I'd like to add a 26-inch wheel conversion as my next winter project, but we'll have to see if the warder will let that happen.
I think the most interesting aspects of the bike are the color combination and sound system. When I pull in, people come over and check out the bike because they can't believe that much sound is coming out of a motorcycle, then they comment on the paint. Everyone asks if it's a Screamin' Eagle CVO bike. Additionally, I have added several pieces to honor my military service and those who have served. Once people get past the paint and audio they notice the little things and are amazed. I'd say it's probably worth about $30,000 when you consider the cost of the bike itself, paint, and all the parts I've put into it. I have not totaled it up, as my wife would probably kill me if she knew how much I've put into it.
Uhh, Chris, the cat's out of the bag. Let us know how things go after she reads this.