We feature bikes from part manufacturers/suppliers and bike builders all the time where the story goes, "I bought/built this bike to showcase all our new parts." It's quite common and is a great marketing tool to take around to rallies and bike shows. And while Rich Fulk, from northern California, is a Product Line Manager and works on new product development for Custom Chrome (CCI), his intention when he purchased this '04 Softail was not to showcase it as a parts billboard, it just kind of happened that way after a freak accident that could have left him seriously injured or worse.
"I found the bike on Craigslist and purchased it from a guy in Santa Cruz, California, for $9,500 back in August of 2009. It was a decent deal, an almost bone-stock '04 Softail with only 8,000 miles," Rich stated. "I stripped the paint off and gave it a quick rat-rod-style makeover and hit the road on it as my daily rider."
The new CCI Bonanza II bars are a modern twist, or should we say bend, on the traditional ape.
The new CCI Bonanza II bars are a modern twist, or should we say bend, on the traditional
Barely three months later while riding back from an event the day after Thanksgiving, Rich hit a pothole on the freeway doing about 70. The size of the hole and the force with which he hit it sent him and the bike in the air, and when Rich and the bike hit the ground, they hit the ground with both sliding down the freeway until the bike kicked up into the air and flipped down onto the tarmac. "I broke three ribs, popped my shoulder, bruised my hip, and the beltdrive took a bite out of my left foot," Rich commented. "A few days later, I was finally able to get out of bed and head to the garage to inspect the damage."
Remarkably the damage wasn't nearly as bad as expected. The front wheel, sheetmetal, bars, and exhaust took the brunt of the impact, and the frontend and frame were OK.
"As I looked the bike over I knew it was time for a re-birth (not a re-build)," Rich said. "I wanted something that had that 'Frisco' chopper vibe but wanted to make it as practical and rideable as possible. I didn't want to cut the frame all up, and figured I would see just how far I could go with bolt-on parts. After I started looking to see what was available in the market, I knew I would have to build some of the parts but made sure that they would bolt directly onto the existing mounting points on the bike."
With his experience as a new product development guy at CCI, Rich figured this would be a great R&D project to see what kind of new bolt-on parts he could develop. Needing some fabrication help, he called his partner in crime Kirk Taylor from Custom Design Studios in Novato, California. Having worked with Kirk on several other projects, the two were quickly on the same game plan.