“It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that they got here, but it’s just, there it’s a little different.” —Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction (1994)
Vincent Vega was talking about beer and Quarter Pounders in Europe when that line came up at the beginning of Pulp Fiction, but his point also applies to custom versus stock: It’s amazing how the little differences can redefine something, even a bike like this 2015 Road Glide customized by Lex Rivera.
After working at another shop for many years, Lex took the leap into the wondrous world of entrepreneurship and started working for himself. Xel Customs is the name of his shop, and clean, smooth designs are what he does. Bikes that ride well but still demand some attention are his main goal. His vibe is less-is-more, and that certainly came through in this bagger.
Lex didn’t do anything with the powerplant: no air cleaner, no custom exhaust. Nada. How’s that for minimalist? When you read a bike feature, you at least expect to see the standard better breathing hop-up that almost everyone does to a Harley when they buy it. He didn’t feel the need to do that though. In fact, so many riders change their pipes and air cleaners that you could argue that leaving the power equation stock is almost custom. That’s a talk for another time.
Lex left a lot of this 2015 Road Glide stock, not just the motor. There are two key changes he made that we don’t see on the regular, and they’re what make this motorcycle feature-worthy.
The more obvious of the two would be the wheels and tires. During the big-wheel craze thin was in up front. With this project, fat is where it’s at. Both of the tires are beefy 180mm treaders. Although that’s nowhere near the mammoth 300mm back tires we saw during the chopper craze more than a decade ago, it’s a little different and pretty easy for all-day riding. As he tells it, “I wanted something different than a big-wheel bike. I built a few fat-tire baggers for customers and just fell in love with the ride and the look.”
What you are not seeing is the second major change on this bagger. That’d be the full air ride system utilizing Lex’s manual toggle valves located in-frame in front of the battery. It’s a simple setup with no solenoids or valve bodies to hide or fail. Lex drilled and tapped the crashbar in order to utilize it as an air tank.
These weren’t the only changes, but they’re probably the most noteworthy. Lex Rivera altered the profile with cleaner fenders and a set of Drag Specialties bags with his own speaker lids, as well as swapping the handlebars and associated controls. If all you had to go by was our spec sheet, you might not think this bike was all that custom, but take a look at the photos and you’ll see that the right little differences can add up to something pretty cool.
|Bike Owner:||Lex Rivera|
|Shop Name:||Xel Customs|
|Shop Phone:||(847) 873-7779|
|Build Time:||30 days|
|Type/Size:||Twin Cam 103ci|
|Manufacturer Front:||Xel Customs/AS Pistons|
|Manufacturer Rear:||Xel Customs/Gabriel Shocks|
|Special Features:||Manual toggle valves for front and rear air with crashbar as a tank to store air|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Manufacturer Front:||Colorado Custom Wheels|
|Wheel Height/Width:||18 x 5.5 in.|
|Rotor:||Colorado Custom Wheel|
|Wheel Height/Width:||16 x 5.5 in.|
|Rotor:||CCC with matching pulley as well|
|Front Fender:||Xel Customs/HHI|
|Rear Fender:||Curry’s Inc.|
|Gas Tank/Cap:||H-D with flush-mount cap|
|Hand Controls/Grips:||Performance Machine|
|Turn Signals:||Custom Dynamics Plasma Rods|
|License Mount:||Xel Customs|
|Misc:||Xel Customs speaker grilles for lower fairing pods and flush-mount grilles for 8-in. bag speakers|