The ’09 Road King and its owner, myself, Jon McDevitt, have had a rough go of it. This is a story of life lessons, and, as in most cases, this one was a bitch.
Let’s go back to a younger version of myself. It is 2011, I am working my dream job at Harley-Davidson, and riding my first-ever bike, the H-D Iron 883. I was 22 years old getting into trouble and riding like a jackass, as most young guys do, just having a great time starting my career in this amazing industry.
Cue the first incident to October 2011. I totaled my little baby Iron on the 405 freeway. Luckily I was okay—just some minor scrapes and bruises. The bike, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. The thing flipped end over end, and as you could imagine it was totaled.
Fast-forward to December of 2011, I bought my first “big boy” bike, my favorite of the Touring family, a Road King. I bought it stock with somewhat of high miles on it from a rental company, so it was not in the best shape. But I had big plans for this bike, and it wasn’t going to have anything left on it stock anyways, so I took the money from the insurance and bought the 2009 Road King. I always liked the Road King, and I think it is because it was in no way, shape, or form a cool bike in stock form—I mean, not even close. I remember I bought it and all my friends thought I was an idiot for buying such a hideous “grandpa bike.” But I knew better. I could see the potential in the bones of the FLHR. It was just going to take a small fortune and a lot of know-how. Now at this point in time, I had neither of those things.
I was just starting out in a new career learning the ropes and apprenticing as an H-D tech, so the money was not there and clearly the know-how wasn’t fully there either. This is where my old pal Jordan—now my boss—comes into play. We decide to feature the build process in Hot Bike magazine and later in Baggers magazine. This frees up funds for the project, but we still need the know-how. Well, I was lucky enough to learn from one of the best in the Harley-Davidson world, my old boss and teacher Alan Barsi. He beat into my head that if I think the work I had done was perfect, it could still be better. This drove me to be the tech that I am today, and I will be forever grateful for his role in my life.
Back to the bike. I started out by powdercoating every single piece of chrome on that bike either gloss black or wrinkle black. The classic rear fender and badged/lit front fender were massive eyesores for me, so those were ditched and the H-D clean front fender was installed and the rear got the CVO-styled fender with flush LED lighting. We did 14-inch apehangers with all-black hand controls of course. For wheels I ditched the mags and went with black rim and hub and polished spokes. Sixteen-inch rear and 21-inch up front. The motor got the Screamin’ Eagle Stage IV kit installed, and the lower end was sent out to the best in the game, Revolution Performance, where they went through it with a fine-toothed comb.
Here comes the shitty part. Fast-forward to the completion of the bike. It had taken about two years to complete, so it is now January 2014. My insurance is up and while renewing they find a few more tickets I had acquired, which jacked my premium up high enough to where I could not afford to pay it, so I drop to the lowest I possibly can, just liability. I justify it by telling myself I am a good rider and if anything happens it will be the other person’s fault and their insurance will cover it.
Two weeks later, only two weeks after this two-year-long project of my first-ever build was complete: Someone hits me on the freeway. It was 100 percent their fault, as they crossed the double yellow and came into carpool. “Well this blows, but at least there is no way this can be blamed on me,” I thought as I slid down the freeway with my baby grinding the asphalt behind me. Once I finally came to a stop and stood up, I saw—to my amazement—this dick face driving away! My heart fell out of my ass, as I realized not only is my bike wrecked, but if he leaves my liability won’t cover it. I ran to the car behind me and grabbed his phone and punched my number in and yelled at him to get me that motherf—ker’s plate number. It was too late, and he had pulled off before he could catch up.
Well, the bike was actually in pretty good shape for what had happened. The front forks were bent in, and the front fender and wheel were smashed, but the crashbars saved everything else. There was absolutely no damage to the tins, controls, engine covers, nothing. As you can imagine the whole thing soured me on the bike and just life in general, so I stashed it away for a while.
Fast-forward for the last time to the end of 2015. I got a job working here at Baggers magazine, and we decided to bring the Road King back to life. Since I had no coverage for insurance, there was never any claim made, so the title was still clean with no record of an accident. It took a pretty big hit though, and we wanted to check the frame, so we took it down to Anthony at Chassis Design Co. and had him check to make sure it was straight and sturdy. While we were there we had him customize the downtubes and neck as well to give the bike a more custom feel. Over the next two years I slowly pieced the bike back together with new pieces from the best brands in the industry.
I built this bike very subtly. I do not like the flashy in-your-face builds with chrome blinding you from every direction and a paint job with naked chicks throwing burning money around. Those bikes make me want to leave the industry. Matt at Color Zone Designs knew exactly what I meant by this and gave me the perfect paint job. To the naked eye from a distance it looks like the stock paint scheme, but when you get closer you will see some flake. Get even closer and you notice the pinstriping was redone from silver to a stainless-steel color to match the exhaust system. That’s the type of shit I get stoked on.
To get the thing running at its best we went down to Steve Cole at TTS who is an absolute wizard on the dyno and had him tune the bike with the new Vance & Hines Hi-Output Stainless 2-into-1. What good is a bike if it doesn’t have performance as its backbone? That’s what I wanted to instill in this build.
This bike has been a roller-coaster ride, and as terrible as the lows were, the highs were high indeed. I couldn’t be happier with the way the bike has turned out. It has been through hell and back, but I like to think I have turned its life around. I am excited to see what happens next for it. I hope wherever it goes, whatever happens to it, it will be enjoyed.
|Bike Owner||Jon McDevitt|
|Shop Name||Baggers Mag|
|Build Time||2 years (the second time)|
|Type/size||Screamin’ Eagle Stage IV/ 103ci|
|EFI/Carb EFI||Tuned by Steve Cole of TTS 114.20 HP 111.64 TQ|
|Air Cleaner||Screamin’ Eagle|
|Exhaust||Vance & Hines Hi-Output Stainless 2-into-1|
|Special Features||Screamin’ Eagle Roller Rocker Arms/High Capacity Tappets/Automatic Compression Releases/Lower end balanced plugged and welded by Revolution Performance|
|Year/Manufacturer||2009/H-D Modified by Chassis Design Co.|
|Triple Trees stock||H-D|
|Manufacturer Rear||EMC Custom Line Shocks|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Manufacturer Front||Ride Wright Spoke|
|Wheel Height/Width||21 x 3.5|
|Tire Height/width||120/70/21 Michelin Commander II|
|Manufacturer Rear||Stock H-D spoke powdercoated black|
|Wheel Height/Width||16 x 5|
|Tire Height/Width||180/65/16 Michelin Commander II|
|Rotor||Split H-D 7-spoke|
|Painter||Matt of Color Zone Designs|
|Graphics||Light flake and pinstriping matching exhaust|
|Rear Fender||H-D CVO|
|Gas Tank/Cap||H-D Flush Mount Gas and Gauge Caps|
|Dash||H-D Gloss Black|
|Oil Tank||Stock H-D|
|Handlebars||H-D 14-in. apehangers|
|Hand Controls/Grips||H-D black Levers and H-D black Get-a-Grip hand grips|
|Foot Controls/Pegs||H-D Street Glide floorboards powdercoated black|
|Taillight||H-D CVO LED|
|Turn Signals||H-D CVO LED|
|License Mount||H-D CVO|
|Seat||Custom two-up high-end seats|
|Saddlebags||Stock bags/Bad Dad speaker lids|
|Saddlebag Latches||Stock H-D powdercoated black|
|Speakers||Bad Dad 6x9s|