Barnstorm Cycles was officially started in November 2004 by father-and-son team Doug and Jake Cutler as a result of their lifelong passion for motorcycles. The original shop was in an old carriage house they called the “Barn.” Over the years, Barnstorm grew significantly. In 2011 they moved into a renovated, 10,000-square-foot mill building originally built in 1840. Employing an ever-growing team of talented and diverse individuals, the shop can handle all aspects of motorcycle service, parts, fabrication, accessory needs, and even detailing, in-house.
As a family owned, independent dealership, Barnstorm is also proud to offer one of the largest inventories of motorcycles and Jeep Wranglers for sale in the central New England area. They truly enjoy helping people realize their motorcycle dreams in a friendly, low-pressure environment.
The donor bike they used for this particular build was a complete—although not entirely cosmetically stock—1988 FXR. It was in decent shape, and they picked it up for the right price. A large part of the inspiration for this build was to evolve this bike beyond the performance limitations of the original FXRs.
As Jake Cutler tells us, “It was most important to start with a cherry frame since that is really what gave the FXR its reputation.” Tearing apart a perfectly good FXR hurt the purists in the shop though. Still, the team saw this as an exciting opportunity to see what could be done to enhance such a renowned model. And on the bright side, now the shop has a lot of great take-off parts available to other FXR’s in need of repair.
The centerpiece of the bike really is the mammoth S&S Cycle T143-inch motor mated to a Baker seven-speed transmission. Barnstorm thought it'd be the perfect setup for a powerful, comfortable, and reliable performance touring bike.
“Like any FXR Twin-Cam conversion, we had to make the usual changes to the lower frame supports and fabricate a side stand provision,” Jake tells us. “We also had to clearance the frame under the seat area, as well as at the downtubes-to-backbone gusset area. These small additional mods allow the rocker box covers clearance during the inevitable movement of the rubber-mounted drivetrain.” Since the motor and gearbox case are for ’08–’13 touring fitment, they ran a stock bagger inner primary and a Baker Bully outer Primary cover.
“We had to modify these, as well, for the mid-controls we built,” Jake continues. “The mids utilize some one-off and some stock dyna mid components, the end result being super clean and ergonomic. Inside the primary we locked the power to the gearbox with an Evolution Industries front motor sprocket and clutch assembly.”
Along with all the components Barnstorm sourced, made fit, and had manufactured, the FXR has quite a few of the shop's own handmade one-off parts on it as well—some of which are intentionally subtle and easily overlooked. Take the hand-formed aluminum side covers for example. They look like typical FXR covers, matching that signature triangular FXR frame section. They were made to allow a bit more space for the ’08–’13 touring wiring harness Barnstorm fit onto the bike (yes, this ’88 FXR has an almost stock late model OE bagger wiring harness on it).
The covers also pop on and off by hand, like modern bagger side covers. This was to update the often finicky well-nut system on stock FXRs. The ability to pop the side covers off allows for easy access to the fuses, data port, ECU, etc. Another easily overlooked set of details is the fuel injection and fly-by-wire controls: “Aside from all the electronics and wiring in the harness, we needed a fuel pump to make this all work. For that, we used an ’08–’13 gas tank, complete with factory fuel pump. Of course, it’s been trimmed up a bit, has a one-off hand-built aluminum dash with lines inspire by the FXR dash, and some custom mounts for fitment. The tank trimming was done in part for leg clearance and in part to match the lines of the vintage Tour Glide fairing we restored and custom fit to the FXR frame.” Barnstorm also built a stainless steel 2-into-1 exhaust with Burns Stainless components.
Jake Cutler elaborates: “One of our favorite parts on the bike is the Touratech 31-liter Zega Mundo Aluminum Pannier adventure style case. Since these are not typically (or ever?) mounted on FXRs, we made a set of custom mounting racks for them out of 3/4-inch stainless tubing. The panniers are very well made, rugged, and efficiently spacious. We think they help set the bike apart visually and speak to the functional nature of the build.”
Bike Owner: Barnstorm Cycles
Shop Name: Barnstorm Cycles
Year/Make/Model: 1988 Harley-Davidson FXR
Year/Manufacturer: 2016 S&S Cycle
Builder: Steve Berthiaume
Front: Gigastat Cycles Corsair Frontend with Race Tech Springs
Rear: 14-in. prototype direct fitment FXR shocks
Wheels & Tires
Front Wheel: California Custom Wheels
Rear Wheel: California Custom Wheels
Painter: Brenden Parsons/BP Custom Paint