Custom H-D Roadking

Bryan Fuller's Road Warrior Road King

If Mad Max rode a Harley, this would be his bike of choice.

The high performance/racing elements of this bike were nailed all the way down to the minor details like safety wiring the ARP fasteners.

Not sure where the idea to use Hemi valve covers for saddlebag lids came from, but it works.

The custom fender mounts Bryan made fit this bike perfectly-minimal yet functional.

I met the owner of this bike, Gordon Erickson, through Kirk Taylor at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) event this past year in Las Vegas. Gordon was moving to Atlanta, and needed someone to keep an eye on his bikes from time to time. After seeing my Kawasabi bike I built at the local World of Wheels show, Gordon decided it was time to start a project in the ATL. We went through some options: Bobber, chopper, Buell custom...probably some others, too. Then the subject of how hot baggers have been recently came up, and Gordon's '01 Road King became the dominant topic of the conversation. Gordon had ridden the bike to Sturgis from Northern California a year or two ago. It ran great, but was lacking in the looks department.

The first two orders of business were to lighten up the front with a sport bike frontend and turn some Hemi valve covers into saddlebag tops. A Suzuki GSXR frontend and a pair of Keith Black Hemi Valve Covers were located at the local Internet auto supply house. We had to make spacers to get the Suzuki discs and rotors to work, and Neil Richardson made some new triple trees out of a couple of chunks of aluminum. Keeping with the high performance theme we used Automotive Racing Products (ARP) fasteners throughout the bike in order to keep everything bulletproof. The bags were made from scratch out of .080-inch 3003 aluminum by hand. Then the Hemi valve covers we were using for the lids had to have about 1/4-inch shaved off for proportion. Stainless steel hinges were fabbed for the lids, and the extra magnesium ended up as the bottom outside. I rough-shaped the bags, while Ben Boyle made the surrounding parts including the custom bent Nerf bars.

We came up with the idea of using the Road King to create a lighter, faster, meaner, sportier, and more menacing version of the old original. There were already some really good components on the bike, so we decided to keep most of its running gear in place. There was already a 200mm Metzeler mounted on a 18x8.5-inch rear wheel, a 2-inch lowering kit in the rear, and the Black Bike wheels looked good with the twisted spokes and black as oil rims. The engine was also already hopped up, as it had been stroked out to 106ci with S&S; components. All good pieces, so why not turn them into a pie?

Putting the GSXR frontend on required making new fender mounts. I took 16-gauge sheet steel and hand-formed those up. They are pretty tricky little guys if you look at the shape carefully; there's not a lot of extra room around the fork where it comes down to the bottom. I also made custom headlight mounts out of stainless steel to mount a Ducati light.

Gordon really wanted to strip the bike of unwanted parts and weight. The front fairing and stereo he had on the bike were removed, crash bar with lights went away, girly pegs vanished, gauges disappeared, and so on. If it wasn't necessary for riding or carrying some stuff, it went away. We estimate we dropped about 150 pounds off the 700-plus platform.

The stock frame neck from Harley is a pretty ugly unit. It actually had a plastic cover...not good. We considered cutting it out, and doing a completely new neck area all together. However, a compromise was made to put lightning holes in the neck instead to visually help the area. We were very pleased with the outcome...much easier than jigging the thing up and making a new one, too!

I thought the bars were kind of unique. Normal Harley bars are mounted onto the triple tree. We mounted ours clip-on style like race bikes usually do. It was just another of the many mixes of race and cruiser techniques we used on the Road Warrior (the name we came up with for this bike). The steering dampner is from a Ducati, as well.

The rear taillight is a weird story. It actually showed up in the top of my toolbox from an unknown source. I'm not sure who actually put it up there; I have some ideas, but am not certain as of this writing! The taillight looked like a cool piece, so I decided to use it regardless of the origin. It turned out to be a Frohoff trailer light from maybe the 1930s; Sam Memmolo, my co-host on Two Guys Garage (a TV show we do) was able to identify it. Sam's quite a knowledgeable dude-even trailers aren't out of his realm!

Rear blinkers were mounted into custom tubes that were added to the original frame horns just inside the bags. All the PM controls were left on and used as they came on the old bike. Speaking of the controls, it's hard to miss the Moon gas pedal footboards. These really reminded me of drag racing, and were a natural fit with the automotive racing parts already incorporated into this bike. The foot controls were modified stock units to match with the boards.

Exhaust is always one of my favorite things to build. Our original idea was to take the exhaust out as duals, with the exit being two pipes next to each other under the rear fender-mimicking the way hot rods have been doing it for years. Sometimes, things just sound better than they actually look though so we decided to make a change. Running two pipes out on one side just looked more aggressive and fit the look of this beast better. We used 3/8-inch stainless steel flanges and stepped the tubes up to the 2.5-inch finished diameter. We had the inside of the tubes coated with ceramic to keep the heat and tarnish down.

When it came to the seat we wanted to do a diamond stitch, tuck-n-roll seat with the '60s dragster theme. Gordon liked the comfort of the seat already on the Road King, so why not just have it covered? The foam and pan were sent to Jerry Price Upholstery in Alabama to re-cover in black leather. Jerry has been upholstering longer than I've been alive, and the work on this seat shows it. Beautiful and puffy, stylish and comfortable...good job, Jerry!

Once we had all of the parts mocked up, primed, and painted, Brian Pappa of Pappa Studios here in Atlanta took over for the striping and gold leaf. The overall idea was to use the mix of flat and gloss black to blend all of these random components together into a cohesive package. Gold was used as the "pop" color since we already had it on the inverted fork. Brian matched the gold and started laying down some cool scallops and stripes. Instantly, the bike took on a whole new amount of class and texture!

Now, onto the good part. This bike is an absolute pleasure to ride. We say it's like a couch with gobs of torque! The frontend handles beautifully; the old unit was heavy and clunky under full open conditions. This one is light and nimble. The center of gravity is better due to the 2-inch drop to even out the already lowered rear. A 150-pound diet really changed the complexity of how this thing feels. Before, if you were stopped and got a little off-balance, keeping the bike from falling over was a real workout. Now, it is much more manageable. The power on this bike is up too of course, thanks to the extra fat coming off the bike. The 1-inch solid steel passenger pegs alone probably weighed 10 pounds.

All I can say is it was a sad day when the test riding was over and it was time to turn over the Road Warrior to Mr. Erickson. What a great bike!

SPEC SHEET
BIKE OWNER Gordon Erickson
SHOP NAME Fuller Hot Rods
SHOP PHONE (310) 704-3855
SHOP WEBSITE www.fullerhotrods.com
YEAR/MAKE/MODEL '01/H-D/Fuller
FABRICATION Fuller Hot Rods
ASSEMBLY Fuller Hot Rods
BUILD TIME Four Months
ENGINE
YEAR/ MANUFACTURER '01/H-D
TYPE/SIZE H-D & S&S;/106ci
CASES H-D/S&S;
CYLINDERS S&S;
HEADS S&S;
ROCKER BOXES S&S;
CARBURETOR H-D
AIR CLEANER Fuller
EXHAUST Fuller
TRANSMISSION
YEAR/MANUFACTURER/TYPE '01/H-D/five-speed
CASE H-D
CLUTCH H-D
PRIMARY DRIVE Primo-Rivera
FRAME
YEAR/MANUFACTURER '01/H-D
RAKE Stock
STRETCH Stock
SUSPENSION
MANUFACTURER FRONT {{{Suzuki}}} GSXR
TRIPLE TREES Neil Richardson
MANUFACTURER REAR Progressive Suspension
SWINGARM H-D
WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES
MANUFACTURER FRONT/TYPE Black Bike/Spoked
SIZE-HEIGHT/WIDTH 21x3.5
TIRE/SIZE Metzeler/120/70-21
CALIPER Suzuki
ROTOR Suzuki
MANUFACTURER REAR/TYPE Black Bike/Spoked
SIZE-HEIGHT/WIDTH 18x8.5
TIRE/SIZE Metzeler/200mm
CALIPER H-D
ROTOR H-D
FINISH/PAINT
COLOR Flat, Gloss Black, Titanium
PAINTER Brian Pappa/Fuller
GRAPHICS Brian Pappa
POWDERCOAT Miller's Powdercoat
ACCESSORIES
FRONT FENDER H-D/Fuller
REAR FENDER Ben Boyle Mods
FENDER STRUTS Fuller
GAS TANK∩ Military Cap from Nixon
DASH Fuller
HANDLEBARS Fuller & AJ
MIRRORS Ness
HAND CONTROLS PM
FOOT CONTROLS H-D/Fuller
FOOTPEGS Moon
HEADLIGHT Ducati
TAILLIGHT Fruehoff '30s Trailer
TURN SIGNALS Fuller
LICENSE MOUNT Fuller/Alien Twisted SS
SEAT Jerry Price Upholstery