I wanted the bike to look as good as it handled, and I was lucky enough to have a good friend like Eli who was ballsy enough to take the leap with me. Most people feel the FXR is perfect the way it is and don’t want to screw it up. Eli, however, let me do whatever I wanted with exception to the bars, they had to be up for comfort (so I leaned them forward to make them have a nasty stance).
When it was time to dig into this project, I started with the part I felt was the essence of the bike: the Y part of the chassis. “What’s more ‘hot rod’ than exhaust cut-outs?” I thought to myself. I made the side covers out of 16-gauge steel (which was a real pain in the ass) with large cut-outs in the middle of them to account for the running gear movement so the exhaust wouldn’t hit. I felt it made the Y part of the chassis more purposeful, like it was built for function, strength, and style. I built the oil bag and tucked it up in the rear of the lower frame rails behind the tranny. I made the custom exhaust and ran it over the starter towards the side covers. I flipped the battery on its side for more clearance.
I then went to the tail section and joined the end of the rear frame tubing on either side with round stock to match frame diameter. Then I formed a small tail section and laid it over the top of the rear of the frame. Just like the side covers, I thought it made the rear look aggressive and finished (like a sport bike tail section), not just bolted on. Over the backbone I built a tank that was large enough to roll a 100 (miles) but was minimal and kind of up tight on the frame. The shape is quite a bit different than most tanks, but I really like the shape and it was a really fun tank to build.
I stuck with stock wheel sizes for handling and went with a GSXR1000 frontend with a set of kickass triple trees that Gard Hollinger at LA Chop Rods built for me. Up front it has dual radial brakes, and I made a custom bracket to run a radial brake in the rear as well.
As the build was coming to a close, I told Eli I wanted to do a different color, because black would lose a lot of the cool details of the bike. I didn’t tell him what color I planned on painting it because I knew if I told him I wanted to do Pagan Gold he wouldn’t have ever gone for it. Needless to say it was painted Pagan Gold—it’s definitely not an understated color, nor is it “not crazy.” But in the end Eli was glad I went with the gold and he loves the bike; he rips it daily in Sonoma County.
I didn’t want to build just another Bay Area rubber mount. I feel like in the end I built something that pays homage to the history of the best bike Harley ever built, but made changes that enhanced both its performance and style. HB