When we arrived, Anthony had already prepped the frame for its reincarnation and had it sitting in one of his frame jigs. Basically the frame was cut at the backbone (just in front of the seat area) and down at the bottom of the downtubes. As you can see, the remaining portion of the backbone was sanded and prepped for the addition of a new backbone.
 Down below, the area where the bottom of the downtubes used to reside was prepped to accept these two slugs, which will provide structural support for when welding in the new downtubes.
 Anthony’s helper, Mike Daugherty, TIG-welded the steel slugs to the downtube locations.
 Here is one of the slugs after it’s been welded in place.
 While Mike was welding, Anthony was marking the new neck tube for the placement of the top of the radiused downtubes. Chassis Design utilizes its own neck tubes for its frames. Anthony has the frame jig set up so that the frame with have an additional 7 degrees of rake (33 degrees) as compared to the stock rake (26 degrees), the backbone will feature 3 inches of stretch, and the downtubes feature 1 inch of stretch over stock.
 When Anthony measured the length for the downtubes, he measured above the line he marked on the neck so that the top of the downtubes won’t interfere with the bottom of the triple trees.
 After he had his measurements, Anthony cut two pieces of 0.156-wall DOM tubing to length.
 The tubing was then run through the CNC ring roller.
 After checking and running through the ring roller a couple times, Anthony came up with the proper radius for the left side downtube so that when placed over the slug at the bottom, the top sat just above the line he marked on the neck. The same process was repeated for the right side.
 While Anthony was working on the downtubes, Mike was setting up the new backbone. The new backbone is comprised of 2� OD, �-inch-wall square steel. A piece of 2-inch OD �-inch-wall square steel will be used as a sleeve slipped into the remaining portion and new backbone for structural integrity.
 The top of the downtube will be coped so it fits in flush against the neck. Anthony used the center of the neck as a reference point to mark where to cut off the excess downtube material (red arrow). The other mark (yellow arrow) indicates where to cope the tube so it will fit in against the neck.
 The excess was then cut off with a band saw.
 A 1 3/4-inch hole saw was then used to cope the end of the tube.
 Both tubes were cut and coped and then mocked up against the neck.
 Here we see Anthony and Mike discussing the new backbone. Notice how the sleeve will join the existing backbone and new backbone together. Also notice that the front portion of the new backbone has been mitered and angled up to fit up against the neck with the radius of the downtubes.
 While Mike continued working on the backbone, Anthony began tacking the downtubes in place.
 To get the front section of the 2½-inch backbone to fit up flush with the neck, Mike made a pie-cut on the left and right side of the square tubing.
 A Dake press was then used to compress the wedges left over from the cut out material.
 Once the backbone was the right width to match up with the neck, a measurement was taken so that the excess could be cut off.
 A 2�-inch hole saw was then used to cope the backbone so it would fit in against the neck.
 Anthony then fit the backbone in place to make sure it fit like he wanted it to before tack welding.
 Once satisfied with the backbone, Mike began tack-welding the sleeve into the new backbone. He used some welding rods (arrows) to space out the smaller diameter sleeve in the new backbone.
 While Mike was using welding magnets to hold the backbone in place, Anthony was working on gusseting the underside of the downtubes and the neck with some steel plate. Gussets will help add structural integrity to the new front section.
 Here we see Mike tack-welding the sleeve/new backbone to the existing portion of the backbone.
 This is what the frame looked like tacked up with the backbone and downtubes in place.
 Once again to add structural integrity to the new front section of the frame, the backbone, neck, and downtubes will be gusseted together. A template was made using some light cardboard.
 The pattern was then transferred to a piece of 11-gauge steel.
 Mike then used the bandsaw to cut out the steel gusset.
 He then used a belt sander to clean up the edges and finish off the radius that was cut into the back of the gusset.
 The gusset was then mocked up in place to make sure it fit properly. The rear radius of the gusset is for aesthetics to help give the frame look more finished and custom look.
 With both the gussets cut out and fitting properly, Anthony and Mike began TIG-welding everything together. This is what the finished frame looked like. The radiused legs really give the frame some style.
 Here’s a close up of the gusseted neck. As you can see, the TIG-welding by Chassis Design is top notch.
 Oh, and to give you an idea of what can be done with one of Chassis Design’s custom H-D frames, here’s a totally custom Road Glide with a 23-inch front wheel. And while you can’t really tell because of the lower covers, this frame features the same radiused downtubes as the frame we just followed.
As you’ve thumbed through this magazine over the past couple years you may have seen several feature bikes outfitted with 23-, 26-, and even 30-inch wheels. Where the pro-street trend of yesteryear was stuffing a bulldozer barrel between your swingarm, in the bagger world it’s all about the height of the front wheel more than width of the rear wheel. There are several companies on the market that offer kits for big-wheel applications. Some of those kits are just a matter of adding raked triple trees while others offer a frame/neck rake kit along with new triple trees to get the bike to sit and ride right. You could get away with bolting on a set of raked trees for a 23-inch front wheel, but when you get into the 26- and 30-inch wheels, the frame/neck kit which involves cutting and re-raking the neck and then re-welding everything back together to get a good stance and proper rake and trail for high/low speed handling is a must.
Well if you’re going to make the leap to running something a big as a 23, 26, or 30, then you’re probably one who really likes to stand out amongst the rest. So we say if you’re going to take things that far, then you might as well go the full monty add some additional style and even more customization to your bike. If this sounds appealing to you then you’ll definitely want to check out the offerings and possibilities from Anthony Keeling and his company, Chassis Design.
The name pretty much says it all. From choppers, bobbers, and pro-street frames, to diggers and board trackers, Chassis Design has been building frames for everyone from top name builders to the average garage wrench. As of late, Chassis Design has been messing around with bagger frames. With his background, experience, and shop full of materials and machinery, Anthony could easily build a ground-up bagger frame to whatever design and dimensions your little bagger heart desires. But Anthony knows times are tight and money isn’t as easy to burn as it used to be, so he’s been chopping up stock Harley touring frames and re-working them for big-wheels with creative touches like stretched backbones, radiused downtubes, single downtubes, or just about anything a customer could dream up. Best of all, Anthony offers these customized frames for a reasonable price (often the same as or cheaper than the raked triple trees or triple trees/ neck rake kits that are on the market), and you don’t have to do any of the chopping/welding. You can either tear your bike down and send Anthony your stock frame, or Anthony can procure a stock frame for you. It’s then just a matter of a phone call or sending along a drawing of what you want. If you send in your own frame the price will range between $600-800 depending on what you want done and you will keep the stock VIN on the frame. If you have Anthony get a frame for you the price will run about $1,500 depending on how much work you want done to the frame, and since the frames Anthony gets come with the neck cut off, he will issue the frame a Chassis Design VIN number and you will receive an MSO with the frame.
We recently caught up with Anthony just as he was about to reconstruct a 2012 Road Glide frame for a customer. This specific frame was going to be for a 26-inch wheel and the customer requested a pair of dual radiused downtubes as opposed to the standard straight legs the frame came with. Follow along as we show you how Anthony met his customer’s desires. B
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