D.J. making sure his custom work is up to speed, so to speak.
Lee Archuleta waited for the perfect moment to buy his first bike. Eventually the stars aligned and he bought a used '96 Fat Boy off a friend at work. He rode it around for quite a while knowing that eventually he had to make it his own.
After about a year Lee brought the bike to D.J., the owner of Str8Customs in Arvada, Colorado, just outside of Denver. Lee wanted to make the Fat Boy his own with some attitude, but he still wanted a rideable and reliable bike.
"When Lee brought me the bike and said he wanted to go wild but still put miles on it, I said let's strip it and make a bagger out of it but make it sleek and clean and he was down," D.J. said. "The first thing that needed to be done was get rid of the sheetmetal, clunky frontend, and '90s billet rim-pretty much take the bike to the frame and start over.
I pitched the idea for a thin tire up front and bags in the back for traveling to Lee and he loved it. He wanted a bright paint job with bling, a real stand out color. So I let him flip through the color book and it took five minutes for him to decide on the red you see here. Lee said, "make it crazy that's why I brought it here." I've known Lee for some time now and getting to do this bike for him was a real compliment. The first parts I ordered were some Mammoth spokes from DNA, a thin 21-inch rim up front and a stock 16-incher for the rear. We wanted to do the gangster look, so I ordered a narrow Avon White Wall for the front and wide Avon whitey for the back. I had a few raw Perse Performance frontends laying around so I took one and blacked it out along with the rest of the stock frontend tins as well as some other miscellaneous parts.
Next on the to do list was the sheetmetal. I got ahold of a set of front and rear Heritage fenders and lowered the tabs on the front to sit a little lower and hug the narrow rubber. Then I shaved the taillight mounts on the rear and welded it smooth. I got some bags from a Street Glide (not that they are any different from the others but it sounds cooler) and mounted them on with a Softail saddlebag conversion kit I got from Sumax. The gas tank was next. I didn't want the average stretched tanks so I got ahold of some aftermarket tanks and stretched and rounded them to kind of give them a different look.
After getting the bike all primed up and waiting on the last custom parts to come in, as always a looming deadline approached. The Red River Run in New Mexico was days away and Lee was really looking forward to riding his "new" bike to the rally. I knew that there was no way even if I worked day and night that the bike would be ready, so I did something that takes more work than anything, I put the old frontend on and old wheels back on and left the new sheet metal on. I knew I would have to take it all apart again but oh well, that's part of this business we are in. So we got it all together a day or so before the rally and it looked hot. I decided to close up the shop and ride down to the rally with Lee. We rode the entire five-hour trip in the rain and met up with Lee's brother in this small town along the way. While we were stopped we had people looking at the bikes and they couldn't believe how cool the "Battleship Grey Bike" (that's what we called it) was and that it wasn't a Road King. The battleship grey was actually epoxy primer and even though the bike wasn't finished, it still drew lots of attention all weekend long.
After coming back to town I got back on the project and stripped the bike again for paint and all the custom parts. I shot the bike with Hot Lips Red from Planet Color, wich was custom mixed with some hints of green and gold. Then I had a local custom pin striper named Rody (pronounced roadie) come lay some black flames over the top to be real subtle but still keep it gangster like the rest of the bike. The bike is a mix of a lot of blacked out parts, chrome, and some custom billet parts done by Stretch at WFO Engineering. In the end it was what Lee had wanted and it's so bright it turns heads no matter where he goes. The Fat Boy even got a new name, The Sick Monkey, instead of The Battleship Grey Bike. With Lee's pride and joy a show stopper, now he's a happy man when he hits the streets and that's what makes my day more than taking the chips to the bank."