Sleek sheetmetal is one of the key identifiers on a Martin Bros. bike, and this bagger is no exception. The front fender is a tight-fitting 1/2 wrap, and the rear fender is a one-piece steel unit with many hours of work in it. “The frame was tough, but the rear fender was just as hard because it’s all one piece, so it took a lot of work with the air hammer and English wheel to get it straight and shaped just right. Then I had to reinforce it so it wouldn’t flop all over the place,” Joe states. As for the gas tank, Joe shaped a tank that would sit low on the backbone and featured dished, tapered, and stretched side panels that would flow into the narrowed seat pocket. Joe added some extra attention to the tank by incorporating a peaked spine. Originally he wanted to stick with the EFI setup the Street Glide came with, but after realizing the wiring was junk and that mounting a fuel pump in the tank wouldn’t quite work with the fuel tank design, Joe ditched the EFI and converted the bike to a carb setup. Instead of fabricating a new fairing for the bike, Joe decided to keep more of a Road King look with just a set of H-D saddlebags that were purchased off of eBay. To allow the bags to flow with the rest of the bike, a set of Klock Werks saddlebag extensions were incorporated to the bottom of the bags.
“While we’ve worked on modifying various other bagger projects, this was our first completely ground-up bagger build. And the bike we started with was in the worst condition we’ve ever seen, but it all worked out for the best because it turned out to be one of the best daily riders we’ve ever done.”
After the sheetmetal was finished and the mockup was complete, the skin was taken into the paint booth where Shorty and Joe sprayed the black and pearl orange basecoats, then Joe hit the skin with an airbrush and went to town laying down a series of his signature skulls.
While he initially might have been opposed to the whole bagger trend, the end result of Joe and his shop’s first ground-up bagger is exactly the badass bike we’ve come to expect from them. And it appears there’s no slowing down as the Martin Bros. has about eight more bagger projects in the works ranging from simple sheetmetal to ground-up projects like this. “While we’ve worked on modifying various other bagger projects, this was our first completely ground-up bagger build. The bike we started with was in the worst condition we’ve ever seen, but it all worked out for the best because it turned out to be one of the best daily riders we’ve ever done,” Joe comments. With its low center of gravity, extended wheelbase, and modified rake and trail, it’s very stable at high speed. It does have a wide turning radius, but it’s nothing like riding the choppers we’ve built. And it seems like this bike has more soul to it with its tragic past.” HB