Here at HOT BIKE, we get a lot of rides-Harleys, hogs whatever you want to call them-submitted by our readers. Pick of the Pen is an opportunity to dedicate a few pages to our favorite readers-submitted bike each month. This month's pick of the pen comes to us from Sue Huebl out of Georgia.
When I asked my husband, Dave, if I could trade in my Ducati Monster for a Harley-Davidson, I didn't know my new motorcycle would be delivered to our home on the back of a tow truck. My "new bike" was a totaled 1994 FXDL, purchased as a parts only bike with no title. Overjoyed does not exactly describe my emotions that day. Knowing my husband has built show-winning customs in the past, I put my trust in him.
The first step was to talk to the people at our local DMV and find out what we needed to do to acquire a registered title. After jumping through several hoops a Minnesota title was finally in hand and we were ready to start the transformation from train wreck to show bike. We utilized years of old HOT BIKE issues and numerous web pages for unique ideas for the build. Dave wanted my bike to be clean and simple with a low vintage racing look to it. After talking with Cole Foster at a bike show, we were inspired by his Frisco bobbers and wanted to incorporate some of his style into this project. Another challenge was to keep the cost (too many toys) to a minimum using as many used swap meet parts as possible. The bike was placed on our homemade lift in the garage and stripped down to bare bones
The look of the bike had to start with just the right ride height and stance. We wanted it as low as possible, yet maintain somewhat of a cushioned ride. An Arlen Ness fork lowering kit was chosen to get the frontend down 2 1/2 inches. With that not giving us the low look we wanted, the fork tubes were re-positioned through the top triple clamp, dropping the front of the bike another 1 1/2 inches-giving it an awesome stance. The front fender mounts along with the caliper bracket were smoothed off the fork legs for a clean bobber look. A pair of Progressive 11-inch rear shocks completed the suspension package.
The next questions was what gas tank to use? Throughout the past several years Dave has accumulated numerous different tanks that are all hanging from the rafters in the garage waiting to be used or cut up into pieces. A 2002 H-D Duece tank ($40 at a swap meet) was chosen for its custom tear drop shape and sleek lines. To give it a more of a vintage look the fuel gauge hole was filled in and an ridge was welded down the center. The original mounting tabs were cut and re-welded to fit the original front mounting holes. With the Duece tank stretching much longer than the original, a new mounting tab was fabricated into the back of the tank and a mount was welded into the backbone to accommodate the extra length.
The back of the bike needed to really stand out. Eliminating the struts to allow for a bobbed fender and a solo seat posed quite a problem. How do we finish off the seat pan, support the fender, and make it all flow? After hours of cutting, molding, trimming the frame, and cutting the original rear fender the tail section took shape. It was completed by the original two-up seat being trimmed down with my electric knife that just weeks earlier was used on our Thanksgiving turkey. We had to add the cost of a new electric knife to the cost of the build. Mark Milbrandt incorporated a gel pack into the foam and put the final leather rap over the solo saddle.
PPG Vibrance Ruby slipper was chosen for the main color two toned with a pearl black racing stripe. To give the paint that old school racing look, Brian Truesdale of BT Design laid down the gold leaf followed up by numerous swipes of the sward. The rest of the bike was totally disassembled and repainted right down to brake calipers.
I couldn't be happier with the low racing look and comfort of the ride. The big bonus is that we were able to finish the build for just under $6,000. It helps to have a husband in the auto body business for the last 30 years.
As for the story behind the "49"on the gas tank that everybody asks me about, only my hair dresser knows for sure.
|Gas Tank||H-D Duece|
|Rear Fender||Modified H-D|
|Front Suspension||H-D/Arlen Ness|
|Rear Suspension||Progressive Suspension|
|Wheels||H-D/Chrome Pros Plating|
|Handle Bars||Custom/Dave Huebl|