From the words of Bryan Fuller for Hotbikeweb
We came up with the idea of using the Road King to create a lighter, faster, meaner, sportier, and more menacing version of the old original. There were already some really good components on the bike, so we decided to keep most of its running gear in place. There was already a 200mm Metzeler mounted on a 18x8.5-inch rear wheel, a 2-inch lowering kit in the rear, and the Black Bike wheels looked good with the twisted spokes and black as oil rims. The engine was also already hopped up, as it had been stroked out to 106ci with S&S; components. All good pieces, so why not turn them into a pie?
Putting the GSXR frontend on required making new fender mounts. I took 16-gauge sheet steel and hand-formed those up. They are pretty tricky little guys if you look at the shape carefully; there's not a lot of extra room around the fork where it comes down to the bottom. I also made custom headlight mounts out of stainless steel to mount a Ducati light.
Gordon really wanted to strip the bike of unwanted parts and weight. The front fairing and stereo he had on the bike were removed, crash bar with lights went away, girly pegs vanished, gauges disappeared, and so on. If it wasn't necessary for riding or carrying some stuff, it went away. We estimate we dropped about 150 pounds off the 700-plus platform.
The stock frame neck from Harley is a pretty ugly unit. It actually had a plastic cover...not good. We considered cutting it out, and doing a completely new neck area all together. However, a compromise was made to put lightning holes in the neck instead to visually help the area. We were very pleased with the outcome...much easier than jigging the thing up and making a new one, too!
I thought the bars were kind of unique. Normal Harley bars are mounted onto the triple tree. We mounted ours clip-on style like race bikes usually do. It was just another of the many mixes of race and cruiser techniques we used on the Road Warrior (the name we came up with for this bike). The steering dampner is from a Ducati, as well.
The rear taillight is a weird story. It actually showed up in the top of my toolbox from an unknown source. I'm not sure who actually put it up there; I have some ideas, but am not certain as of this writing! The taillight looked like a cool piece, so I decided to use it regardless of the origin. It turned out to be a Frohoff trailer light from maybe the 1930s; Sam Memmolo, my co-host on Two Guys Garage (a TV show we do) was able to identify it. Sam's quite a knowledgeable dude-even trailers aren't out of his realm!
Rear blinkers were mounted into custom tubes that were added to the original frame horns just inside the bags. All the PM controls were left on and used as they came on the old bike. Speaking of the controls, it's hard to miss the Moon gas pedal footboards. These really reminded me of drag racing, and were a natural fit with the automotive racing parts already incorporated into this bike. The foot controls were modified stock units to match with the boards.
Exhaust is always one of my favorite things to build. Our original idea was to take the exhaust out as duals, with the exit being two pipes next to each other under the rear fender-mimicking the way hot rods have been doing it for years. Sometimes, things just sound better than they actually look though so we decided to make a change. Running two pipes out on one side just looked more aggressive and fit the look of this beast better. We used 3/8-inch stainless steel flanges and stepped the tubes up to the 2.5-inch finished diameter. We had the inside of the tubes coated with ceramic to keep the heat and tarnish down.
When it came to the seat we wanted to do a diamond stitch, tuck-n-roll seat with the '60s dragster theme. Gordon liked the comfort of the seat already on the Road King, so why not just have it covered? The foam and pan were sent to Jerry Price Upholstery in Alabama to re-cover in black leather. Jerry has been upholstering longer than I've been alive, and the work on this seat shows it. Beautiful and puffy, stylish and comfortable...good job, Jerry!
Once we had all of the parts mocked up, primed, and painted, Brian Pappa of Pappa Studios here in Atlanta took over for the striping and gold leaf. The overall idea was to use the mix of flat and gloss black to blend all of these random components together into a cohesive package. Gold was used as the "pop" color since we already had it on the inverted fork. Brian matched the gold and started laying down some cool scallops and stripes. Instantly, the bike took on a whole new amount of class and texture!
Now, onto the good part. This bike is an absolute pleasure to ride. We say it's like a couch with gobs of torque! The frontend handles beautifully; the old unit was heavy and clunky under full open conditions. This one is light and nimble. The center of gravity is better due to the 2-inch drop to even out the already lowered rear. A 150-pound diet really changed the complexity of how this thing feels. Before, if you were stopped and got a little off-balance, keeping the bike from falling over was a real workout. Now, it is much more manageable. The power on this bike is up too of course, thanks to the extra fat coming off the bike. The 1-inch solid steel passenger pegs alone probably weighed 10 pounds.
All I can say is it was a sad day when the test riding was over and it was time to turn over the Road Warrior to Mr. Erickson. What a great bike!
- Year/Model: 2001 Harley Davidson
- Engine Make/Size: Harley Davidson w/106 S&S kit
- Drivetrain: Stock
- Frame Make/Type: Harley Road King
- Front End: GSXR
- Rake: Stock
- Stretch: Stock
- Swingarm: Stock
- Wheels Front: 21" Black Bike
- Wheels Rear: 18" Black Bike
- Tires Front: 21" Metzeler
- Tires Rear: 200mm Metzeler
- Brakes Front: Dual GSXR
- Brakes Rear: Stock Harley
- Painter: Brian Papa