In the custom game, timing is everything. If you’re not a leader in what’s hot and what’s fresh, you’re just another one following the trends. This mad dash to the finish can be seen in places like the race to perfect a sportbike fairing, slamming a bike so low it’s throwing sparks, and especially in the race to be the first 30-inch roller on the streets.
During 2011, many of the top builders across the nation started experimenting with a 30-inch wheel and George Mingledorff, owner of Low Country Customs (LCC) located outside of Savannah, Georgia, was secretly doing the same. Enter LCC’s 2010 H-D FLHX dubbed “Affliction.”
For years LCC has produced custom choppers and builds for customers all over the nation. George personally prefers to fly under the radar instead concentrating his energy on all the builds, paintjobs, and clients. Before 2011 Daytona Bike Week, he was already working on his first 26-inch wheel bike build. After surfing the web with his tech man, Clay Ward, he felt a bit behind the 8-ball as the two quickly learned that not only did the massive 26-inch wheel bikes exist, but were already being produced fairly regularly. So George immediately tossed out the original plans and spent the next 48 hours brainstorming with Clay on a new design to include an even larger 30-inch wheel. But he didn’t want to overdo the bike as eventually it would have to be sold. “The bike was eventually going to be put up for sale, so I wanted to keep it simple, clean, and reliable, and let the new owner decide on the finishing touches before it left my shop,” he explained.
LCC is known for offering many different types of bikes for sale, one-of-a-kind paintjobs and radical one-off builds. Most customers would be shocked to find out they have a reputation for building their creations in less than three weeks. They were again faced with such a crunched timeframe in order to finish this bike on time, but weren’t overly concerned. The plans for this FLHX were going to center around the massive 30-inch hunk of rolling metal. The first task was locating such a wheel. Metalsport had what they were looking for and had only sold three other 30s to date. As luck would have it, they even had a top-secret 3-D version in the works! It was still being developed and there weren’t even any pictures available. That was perfect in the race to be first. After a quick 16-digit plastic purchase, the world’s first Roxy wheel, dipped in chrome of course, was sold and on its way to the shop.
The next step was to figure out which bike donor from the inventory at LCC would be the lucky recipient of the wheel. George’s eyes fixated on a low-mileage 2010 FLHX covered in dust that he had received as a trade-in. Immediately the fenders and plastics were stripped from the bike, and sent off to paint. LCC has produced probably more than 1,000 paint schemes as a dealer for Big Dog, American Ironhorse, Bourget, Martin Bros, Victory, Vengeance, Independence, Viper, and more. “It gets harder and harder to come up with an original paint scheme that won’t become played out over the years,” George explained. “I thought it would be cool to do an Affliction bike. Affliction is one of the leading clothing lines in the Southeast and California. I mean you see eight out of 10 dudes wearing their stuff, so why not put it on an H-D?” George snapped a bunch of cell phone pictures and sent them over to Brian Morgan and Danny Robledo over at Brian’s Kustom Paint.
But no quickly built custom is without a hiccup or two, and the only bump in the build was the triple trees. Hawghalters only offered the trees in a 26-inch version and those weren’t going to work on the 30-plus-inch wheel. To remedy the problem, they took the 12-degree rake tree kit and a weld-on neck extension. The neck was cut off with the help of Neil Katz from Motocycos, who extended it up 1 inch and out 1.5 inches. Neil also ran all the wiring inside for a cleaner look. After a quick clean-up and black spray of some paint to the newly lengthened neck, it had a massive 47 degrees of angle.
By the time the frame was all sorted out, the massive wheel had arrived. Before it could be reassembled, the seat pan had to be moved back 4 inches. “This made the floorboards feel like forward controls on a chopper,” said George with a grin.
As the bike was quickly pieced back together, the biggest question on everyone’s mind was how this beast was going to roll down the road. The team carefully removed it from the lift, fired up the motor, and headed outside with much anticipation. As George rolled the H-D and putted around the parking lot, he yelled “Holy shit! This feels really easy to maneuver around.” During the first test run on the street, he took the H-D up to speed to see what it would do. When he returned without white knuckles and a pale face, he said with amazement, “No wobble! It rides better this way than stock in my opinion.” As the H-D was passed around for everyone at LCC to ride, no one could get enough of this newly born beast. Since this build was finished, the trend has started to take off and the work came in to prove it. But like your first kid, first girlfriend, or first motorcycle ride, they never quite compare to poppin’ that big-wheel cherry. HB