Model: Eva Silva
Mikey picked up a red tinted 7-inch headlight visor from the local swap meet, a Harley sig
Back in the day-when we toted film cameras and flip phones-we used to find all our feature bikes by attending major events or local bike nights. Sometimes we'd even discover a bike tucked away in some hidden nook on the other side of the country via 5x7 pics sent to us in the US mail. And then there was the rare occasion where someone would just show up at our office and say, "Hey come check out my bike." These days, we still find bikes at major and local events, but it's become much easier to score bikes from all over the country via email, submissions on our website, or any of our social media outlets. In fact the 2003 Softail Heritage you see here came to our attention via our Facebook page. Coincidentally just before I was about to take on off a trip up to northern California, a fan of Baggers mag, Mikey Barber posted his bike and asked our thoughts. I dug the bike and conveniently, Mikey was located in central California, which made it easy for me to stop by and shoot his bike on my way home. Mikey succumbed to our typical third-degree line of questioning in regards to him and his bike.
Baggers: What's your background? How did you get into motorcycles?
MB: My alias is Mikey Barber, and I am the owner of Solid Few Clothing Brand. I was born and raised in east Modesto, California, the city known for cruising low and slow, up and down through the parks playing artists like War and Brenton Wood on an eight-track player 'til the sun goes down on a Sunday afternoon. I grew up watching all this eye candy with blingy wheels and shiny custom paint roll past me. Growing up around the custom car scene gave me the passion to build lowrider bicycles as a kid and enter them into car shows as far south as Los Angeles and as north as San Jose, usually riding off with a First or Second place trophy. Seeing my custom bicycles show up in the pages of Lowrider magazine would inspire me to come up with new and better ideas for the next build. After building a couple dozens bicycles for customers and for personal use, I was old enough to get a drivers license so I moved on to cars, trucks, and eventually motorcycles. Currently I build all the above and have a blast doing it. Everything I build is lowrider inspired. If I were to build a skateboard, it would have whitewalls and hydraulics-you get the picture. It took a lot of time, sweat, beers, and money with oldies playing in the background and a couple of solid homies stopping by to give a hand with my build. I call my Harley "Blood in Blood Out," because I'll be living the lowrider lifestyle 'til I die. I started customizing, cutting up bike frames, and getting bloody knuckles working on builds, and years later I still get blood and sweat on my clothes. So I'm sure it's going to be the same when I grow old.
Baggers: How did you find the bike and what kind of shape was it in?
MB: Once a month on Sundays for fun I would drive down to the local Harley-Davidson dealer with my family in my 1965 Impala convertible to check the motorcycles and just dream. Then one day in February 2009 I stopped at Harley of Modesto and saw a used black 2003 Heritage Softail Anniversary model. It was totally stock and looked like a grandpa's bike with the stock windshield. It could instantly envision what it could become once I got my hands on it. After a couple of days of thinking and getting my money together I went back and purchased it-I had never even ridden a Harley before. After the paperwork I called this guy I knew to ride it home for me and the next morning I jumped on it and have been riding ever since.
Baggers: Why did you build the bike?
MB: What was the inspiration? I love looking at this picture of my sister and me sitting on my dad's Harley when I was five years old. I have a pack of Camel non-filters rolled up in the sleeve of my white T-shirt and my sister is behind me with a bandana around her head with dark shades on. My father, "Chivo," always rode a Harley. Sometimes he'd sell his bikes, but he'd always end up buying another. Being around motorcycles all my life and seeing the way Chicano bikers put their lowrider touch on them inspired me to purchase my own Harley and show my own ideas that make it a one-of-a-kind motorcycle.
Baggers: What was the most challenging part of the build?
MB: The most challenging part of the build was the electrical. I actually didn't want to deal with it so I just left that and a couple other things to my H-D-certified buddy Aaron Machado from 360 Mobile. Aaron knows Harleys like the back of his hand so he knocked it out really fast while drinking some cold beers and eating a bag full of candy he stole from his kids. [Laughs]
A pair of Tecate Beer taps were drilled and tapped to be used as passenger pegs.
Baggers: What is/are the most interesting aspect(s) of the bike?
MB: The things I'd say I like the most about my bike are the modified Indian front fender and the paintjob. I love 1965-and-earlier Chevrolet Impalas sitting low with skirts. So I thought I'd give my Harley that same old-school look with an early-style full-skirt Indian fender I found on eBay. I had to modify the brackets so I could get it to sit low on the 21-inch front wheel and I also had to cut a relief on the left side so it would fit around the caliper. As far as the paint goes, lowriders have always been known for having flashy paintjobs. I was going for a 1970s lowrider-style paintjob with lots of paneling, silver leaf, metalflake, and pinstriping. I pretty much got what I asked for. I incorporated a lot of elements from the lowrider/old-school car scene such as the headlight and mirror visors, and the safety star badge and retro 3D Red Rocket antenna topper. I really like the overall flow of the bike with the swooping fenders and stretched tank, dash, and saddlebags.
Baggers: How much would you say the bike is worth?
MB: Any material object is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it in my book. Personally, I really can't put a price or value on my motorcycle