Variety is one of the qualities of the United States that make it great. Take barbecue for instance; there are many unique and distinct flavors from each part of the country. The same is true of bike builders, different styles are more popular in different areas—and it’s always great to try a new flavor and discover something that you love. Scott Becker lives in Chicago, and despite his efforts, he couldn’t find a local Harley customizer that met his criteria for a bike he was planning to have built. He came across one of Paul Yaffe’s custom bikes in a magazine, and began researching Paul’s shop, Bagger Nation, to see if it might have what he wanted in a shop. Scott was happy with what he saw, but the shop was located all the way in Arizona. “After a few emails, Scott was confident in our abilities, and called into the shop. We talked for a while, and decided he’d drop off his bike with us in Sturgis 2010. He figured that he could leave the bike with us for the winter while we did the work because he wasn’t going to be riding it much during the long and cold Chicago winters,” Paul says.
The meeting and drop-off of the bike in Sturgis went smoothly, concluding with Scott taking a plane back to Chicago, and Paul transporting the Road Glide back to the Bagger Nation headquarters in Phoenix. They had established a deadline for April 2011 during Arizona’s Bike Week, and Paul had a clear idea about how Scott wanted his bike customized. “Scott threw in a few challenges along the way, like deciding he wanted a matching trailer (that would ride behind the bike) and a GPS unit molded into the fairing. We enjoyed him as a customer because he allowed us the opportunity to create—and he appreciated all the one-off details we made for his bike,” Paul comments.
Once Paul had the bike in the shop, he and his crew tore it down to the frame and drivetrain, which created an accessible foundation for the start of the bike’s transformation. Considerably larger than stock, a huge 26-inch Bagger Nation front wheel was placed on the lift in-line with the rest of the bike, and a matching 18-incher was fit into the swingarm. That big front wheel isn’t exactly a bolt-on piece: to get it to work the crew fit a Bagger Nation Plus 18 degrees rake kit and triple trees to the steering neck, along with a 2-inch-over frontend. Bagger Nation’s 26-inch front fender covered the tire that rests just inches from the ’Glide’s fairing, all underneath a pair of 12-inch monkey bars. Yaffe’s six-gallon tank was attached to the backbone and rides above the two obvious engine modifications: a Bagger Nation air-cleaner and a Super Trapp 2-into-1 exhaust system. The pipe’s muffler threads its way between the “Chupa” single-outlet rear fender that’s straddled by a pair of Bagger Nation extended saddlebags.
“The only way you’d call this bike a trailer queen is if the definition was changed to mean: A bike that tows a trailer, instead ...
With the large custom parts in place, the bike was ready for the one-offs and details that Yaffe builds are known for. Yaffe’s 14-speaker House-Party/Rockford Fosgate audio system (two-amp, four-coaxial 6.5-inch and a pair of 6x9 three-way speakers) was installed into the Road Glide fairing and Yaffe Audio Saddlebag lids. That fairing must be packed to the brim because it also holds the aforementioned custom-mounted GPS unit in the left-side glove box. The trailer that Scott requested wasn’t forgotten, either. Paul designed the single wheel trailer to match the shape of a saddlebag, only much, much larger. It connects to the bike via a hidden hitch, and is mounted just under the tip of the rear fender.
April’s Bike Week deadline loomed ever closer as the build progressed, but Paul and the crew weren’t too concerned as they only had a few more aspects to attend to in order to make it road-worthy. A host of satin-black Bagger Nation hardware and accoutrements were attached to the bike, along with a slick Klock Werks aerodynamic windshield and velvet lining for the bags. Lastly, AJ’s Custom Paint laid down thick coats of gold, graphite, and black all over the bike and its matching trailer.
The shop easily met the show deadline and invited Scott down to pick up the bike. Without hesitation, he bought a one-way ticket from Chicago to Phoenix. “He hung out with us at Arizona Bike Week, we had a great time partying, and then he rode his bike home all the way to Chicago—we love that!” Paul states. It’s nice to know there are builders with unique flavor who are just as concerned about the reliability of a bike as they are with the looks. The only way you’d call this bike a trailer queen is if the definition was changed to mean: A bike that tows a trailer, instead of rides on one. HB