“Why don’t you just make 10 louder and make 10 be the top number and make that a little louder? [pause] These go to 11.” Marty DiBergi and Nigel Tufnel, in the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap.
In a lot of ways, Harley’s Screamin’ Eagle glides are 10s—the high end of what H-D is willing to do with its bagger line. They aren’t really customized to the individual, though. Jason Hughes came to that somewhat dismaying conclusion with his 2010 Screamin’ Eagle Street Glide after parking it next to a similar scoot one too many times. It was a 10, but what he really wanted was an 11.
Making that jump may sound easy, but it’s really not. You’re talking about taking something high-end, then taking it above and beyond the call of duty to really shine. It is and isn’t like you’re taking a stock bike and tweaking it. That’s probably why Jason enlisted Covington’s Customs to get the job done. Either that, or familiarity. He’s bought a couple of cars and a Shovel chopper from them, so he already knews what Covington’s was capable of delivering. “Jason loved his bike until he saw two just like it,” recalls Dave Covington. “We did a little bit of work to his last bike. He wanted this one more wild. Jason wanted to keep the eagles in the paint, add airbrushing, and generally hot rod it out.” He also needed it done in eight weeks. No pressure, Covington’s.
Jason loves himself some pulled pork and brisket. Come hell or high water, he wanted the bike done in time for the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Although he upped the difficulty factor for the project, Covington’s not only pulled it off, they stuck the landing to boot. Harley-Davidson does a great job with its stockers but the hard reality is assembling motorcycles on an assembly line just doesn’t leave much room for the hand-crafting you find in a custom shop. That’s what operations like Covington’s bring to the table. They disassembled Jason’s Street Glide down to its basic elements, then re-imagined it on steroids.
A lot of that meant the sawbones treatment for the chassis. Covington’s busted out the bike surgeon’s toolkit to clean up the frame, drill holes for the wiring, and then went to work on the neck. It’s been stretched 5 inches out and raked 9 degrees total over stock (1 in the neck, 8 in the trees). Not just to lengthen the profile but also to make room for the 2-inch-over Covington’s air forks and 26-inch Loker wheel that sits between them. The swingarm wraps around a matching back wheel and is hooked into an Arnott air ride so Jason can slam it to the pavement at will. Between the two air cushions, they also make for smooth riding.
All of those skeletal changes demanded radical alterations in the skin department too. The new front wheel would have looked pretty silly with the stock fender on it, for one thing. Covington’s changed it out for some Fat Katz metal and spacers. They also stretched the gas tank to fill the longer backbone, then mounted one of their own smooth rear fenders to sanitize the rear view. It’s bracketed by sleek Sinister saddlebags.
Which, by the way, are home to some sweet stereo upgrades. The lids hold JL Audio 6x9-inch speakers with finned grills to match the billet shine found throughout the rest of Jason’s Street Glide. Covington’s also gave him a set of 6.5-inch speakers up front, iPod hookup, and a Kenwood stereo with a flip-up screen. “It’s a nice stereo but with no subwoofers,” Dave elaborated. “But it does have a JL amp in back and a touchscreen with DVD, CD, and thumb controls.”
Buying what you think sets you apart then seeing the exact same bike twice is enough to send a lot of people screaming to the paint booth, if nothing else. Painter Brian Loker went over the surfaces of Jason’s bike in meticulous detail, making sure the tri-toned True Blue Pearl, Orion Silver, and silver metalflake emphasized the Street Glide’s new lines. All of that eagle airbrushing is his handiwork too.
Jason had issues with his Street Glide, but horsepower wasn’t one of them. That was fine by Covington’s. Open heart surgery eats time like Jabba the Hutt devours Girl Scout cookies. They limited the performance upgrades to their own true-dual pipes, a Vance & Hines air cleaner with a machined cover, their own pan-style rocker boxes, and diamond cutting the cylinders.
The Covington team completed Jason’s ride with two days to spare. He couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle. Dave told us, “He rides his bikes. He picked it up and rode it home, which is 100 miles each way. It’s a real rider and not a trailer queen at all.” The Bikes, Blues, and BBQ fest wasn’t just around the corner from Jason’s house, either. Try a 3,000-mile shakedown cruise with a pack of friends. I’ll bet he didn’t run into any copies of his Street Glide along the way, though. B