There’s nothing more special than the bond between a father and son. Well, then again maybe there isthe bond between a man and his motorcycle. Not one to push his family aside for the freedom of two wheels, Sam Ball of Mills River, North Carolina, decided it would be a great experience to build a project bike with his son, Ryan.
Scouring the Cycle Trader and internet for a project bike, Sam eventually ended up at an absolute auction where he spied the perfect bike, an Evo based Softail. After some tactical bidding, Sam and Ryan eventually had the Softy in their possession and were headed back home to start work. Once they got home, Sam and Ryan started tearing the bike apart, and when they looked back at the pile of parts they had accumulated and the skeleton of a motorcycle before them, they realized they might be in a little over their heads. So Sam began searching for the perfect shop or builder that could build the bike the way they had envisioned. They eventually stumbled across Randy of Miller’s Cycle and Hot Rod in Leicester, North Carolina. After talking with Randy extensively, Sam and Ryan felt that Randy seemed like a cool and honest guy and understood exactly what they were going for with this bike (or at least what was left of the bike).
"As he started to show off and rev the throttle, Sam's hand accidentally slipped off the clutch and the bike took off running over his wife's friend, and slamming into his Corvette and '67 Chevy truck."
"As he started to show off and rev the throttle, Sam's hand accidentally slipped off the c
A few days later Sam and Ryan had the pile of parts in two boxes with the frame, engine, and trans all sitting out separately. After loading everything into the truck, they hauled over to Randy’s shop. When they pulled up and started unloading the parts, Randy just stood there and shook his head. Once all the parts were sitting in a corner of the shop, Randy reassured Sam and Ryan that he could build them the bike they desired. As they mulled over the parts, Randy made some suggestions of his own and they all agreed that a collaboration of their ideas would work best.
Some of the ideas they had were to ditch the stock frame and go with a Mid-West Softail frame, rake the neck, add a Biker’s Choice Springer, mount up a suicide shifter setup, and have Randy make some custom upsweep pipes, a tire-hugging rear fender, and a hand-formed sissybar.
While the mock-up and fabrication was going on, Sam and Ryan would drop by regularly and had a great time hanging out watching the build and making friends with Randy’s brother, Stacy, and dad, Joe. When it came time for paint, Sam and Ryan wanted something really flashy but also plain. Somewhere along the line the idea of grinding flames and incorporating them into scallops came up, and after practicing on all the metal he had lying around his shop, Randy eventually nailed it on the tank and rear fender. To help set off the flames/scallops, Randy coated them with Burnt Kandy Orange, then added some matte black panels and outlined it all with some red pinstriping. When it was completed, it was exactly what Sam and Ryan were hoping for and more. While it took Sam some time to get used to riding a suicide-shift bike, he eventually got the hang of it.
With the bike finally back home in its own garage, Sam had some friends over who wanted to see it, so he led them out back to his shop and pulled back the sheet. As everyone oohed and ahhed, Sam decided he wanted them to hear the radical upsweeps Randy had made, so he fired it up and let everyone listen for a bit. As he started to show off and rev the throttle, Sam’s hand accidentally slipped off the clutch and the bike took off running over his wife’s friend, and slamming into his Corvette and ’67 Chevy truck. Luckily the friend was ok (but she does still rag Sam about the incident) and now it’s a running joke. After realizing the friend wasn’t hurt, Sam became sick to his stomach about thrashing his bike, Vette, and pickup. Once again Sam and Ryan loaded the bike back into the truck, and headed to Randy’s shop.
When Randy saw Sam and Ryan pull up with the battered bike in the back, Randy just shook his head and reassured them he could fix it (and have it done in time for an upcoming show only three days away). As expected, Randy lived up to his word and exceeded their expectations as the bike took First Place in the show.
Sam told us he had a great time working on this project with his son, and while he’s very grateful for the excellent work Randy did, he knows Randy’s thankful for the extra work he acquired when they dropped off the Vette and truck to be fixed as well. HB
As he started to show off and rev the throttle, Sam’s hand accidentally slipped off the clutch and the bike took off running over his wife’s friend, and slamming into his Corvette and ’67 Chevy truck.