HB: If you were making one now, what would you do different?
JC: You know, I honestly can't think of anything I would change. It would make it a different motorcycle if I did that. I like it and ride it. We built it in 1979 and finished in November of 1980. I've had it ever since and have been riding it ever since. That's what, 30 years? I can't believe it. Monday I'll be 66 and I can't believe it's been that long. It's like yesterday that I finished that bike and it just hit me that it was 30 years ago (laughs).
HB: Anything you'd like mentioned?
JC: I'd like to give Gary credit. He was the man behind it and my buddy. See the front disc? He drilled it with the letters KHK repeating and that's one of his ideas. Gary even took the horn apart and painted its diaphragm red. He's a stickler for detail like that. I can't say enough good things about him. Interestingly enough, he's still in the motorcycle design business heading the design team at Roar Motorcycles. He's been working on bikes for 50 years.
It's rare to meet a H-D parts maker whose family involvement predates The Motor Company itself but that's Gary Bang's history. His great-grandfather started in the bicycle biz back in 1895 and by 1902, he'd built a three-wheel, gas-powered cycle for use on railroad tracks. That didn't work out so he removed the third wheel and turned it into a motorcycle. A few years later, he'd opened a bicycle, gun, and motorcycle dealership. Come 1908, Gary's grandfather became a motorcycle dealer too, and later became a successful endurance racer. Fast forward to 1948: Gary's dad gifts him with a new Cushman scooter. It started the next era of Bang family involvement with motorcycling. Gary would eventually open his own retail parts store in Canoga Park, California, in 1967, specializing in spokes and wheel-building. Soon thereafter, though, they specialized in remanufacturing parts and accessories for Harley-Davidsons. From the late `60s to the `80s, Bang's operation was one of the most successful aftermarket parts operations in the country. Now, he runs Gary Bang Harley-Davidson in Atascadero, California.