Working as the sales manager for Killer Creek Harley-Davidson, in Roswell, Georgia, Matt Gibby has seen his fare share of bikes exit the showroom floor only to return a few weeks later for some new chrome and other goodies. So when it came time for his next project bike, he could have easily followed the same path as all his customers and roll the bike into the service bay and let the techs go to town.
However, while attending a local bike show, Matt’s team was set up next to one of their neighboring shops, K-otic Kustoms based out of Woodstock, Georgia. And while Matt and K-otic owner, JT, were checking out all the iron on display, it was what Matt didn’t see on the show floor that inspired the idea for his project. “JT and I walked the show and checked out the bikes. We didn’t see any bikes with 23-inch wheels on the front and rear,” Matt stated. “In these days of everybody putting tall front wheels on bikes, I decided to run big wheels on both the front and back of a small bike.”
The basis for Matt’s big-wheel machine is an ’07 883ci Sportster. Not wanting to get too radical or spend too much money on the Sporty project, Matt decided a set of 23-inch wheels would fit the bill perfectly. They were large enough to draw attention to the small chassis but weren’t so big that they would require major frame modifications or surgery. With the bike sitting on the lift at the K-otic shop, JT stripped the wheels, frontend, and swingarm from the stocker. Up front he installed a set of HHI 5-degree triple trees and FL sliders. Out back the stock swingarm was cut and 4 extra inches were added to accommodate the rear spinner. A set of 23x3.5-inch RevTech Dominator 6 wheels were then bolted in place. The bike wasn’t quite sitting right so the front was lowered about 1 inch and a set of Progressive shocks were used to lower the rear and give the bike a more even stance.
A prolific artist in the custom scene, Taylor Reeve went to town on Matt’s sheetmetal, laying down an art piece she calls Chief and his Girls.
A prolific artist in the custom scene, Taylor Reeve went to town on Matt’s sheetmetal, lay
Curt, over at Outlaw Custom Seats, wrapped the steel pan with custom-engraved leather and hand stitching.
Curt, over at Outlaw Custom Seats, wrapped the steel pan with custom-engraved leather and
K-otic added some bolt-on components such as an Evil Spirit Engineering headlight, a set of 3-inch risers biting down on L.A. Choppers BMX handlebars, RSD grips, and a Crime Scene Choppers First Offense air cleaner. Not everything was exactly a bolt-on affair however, as JT fabricated a nasty set of stainless steel exhaust pipes, a nicely arched seat pan, and cut a pair of fenders to tightly hug the 130mm front and rear Avon tires.
With the bike basically complete, the only thing left was to paint it. To handle the color duties, Matt sent the sheetmetal all the way out to the West Coast where artist Taylor Reeve applied her signature style to the metal pieces. “I sent the paint off to California to Taylor Reeve to lay out the artwork, and in her words she, ‘Flowed with it,’ and man she sure did,” Matt commented. “The paint on this bike is what draws people to it, so much so that it drives me crazy because they want to touch it! She calls her artwork Chief and his Girls. I mixed new-school with old-school to come up with what I call ‘after-school.’ I call this bike Addiction 23-inch. The 23 is for the size of the wheels and Addiction because motorcycles are my passion. JT already has my Softail for another makeover.”
When all was said and done, Matt hit the show scene again, this time as a participant and the bike took First Place in the Custom Sportster Class at the Daytona and Leesburg Rats Hole shows. Apparently big-wheel Baggers aren’t the only hot trend.