When most people pick up a new Harley, they tend to just bolt on some chrome, new pipes, maybe change out the wheels, and call it a day. However, Chris Crowe from northern California is not like most people. His '06 Road Glide has been customized from fender to fender in a makeover that took more than a year to complete.
"Several years back I bought an '02 Road Glide to just cruise around on. I didn't plan on really entering it in any bike shows, but after putting some money into the bike, it ended up looking pretty good, and I it placed in some shows and it won a bunch of trophies," Chris told us. "I was winning a lot of trophies, but they were all for the bagger class, not best in show, which is what I really started aiming for."
With a goal of achieving a best in show trophy, Chris decided his best chances were to retire the '02 and start fresh with a frame up Road Glide rebuild. Chris picked up an '06 RG and rode it for a year while he gathered his thoughts on the design and collected parts. Once he had some basic ideas for the bike, Chris took it over to Killer Eye Kandy (KEK) in Martinez, California. Kirk Kapfenstein, owner of KEK, and his crew of Mike Elliot and Eric Reyes performed most of the work on Chris' '02, so it only made sense to let them handle this new project.
As soon as the RG rolled into the KEK shop it was immediately stripped down to a mere skeleton. While the bike was being torn down, Chris explained his thoughts and ides to Kirk. "I wanted a bagger people hadn't really seen before," Chris said. "I wanted it to be long and sleek with a high-molded frame and all the wires and cables hidden in the frame; I didn't want anything to be seen." There also was a theme of a lot of points and sharp angles, which helped Kirk conjure up his own ideas as well. Once Chris was out of the building, the crew started the daunting task of creating an immaculate show bike.
All the welds on the frame were smoothed out. And any unsightly sections that didn't look finished were molded to create a seamless surface. Even parts of the frame that would rarely, if ever, get seen weren't overlooked such as the bottom of the frame. Aside from extensively cleaning up the chassis, preparations were also made to hide as much of the electrical, cables and whatever else they could inside the frame.
Once the frame was taken care of, the stock lower legs were removed from the frontend and a Platinum Air Suspension system was carefully installed into the H-D uppers and a set of Pro-One lowers. A Platinum Air Suspension system was used in the rear as well as with all the air lines hidden in the frame. The KEK team got the bike to rolling status by installing a set of 18x3.5 Ness wheels and Metzeler tires.
With a rolling chassis established, the skin for the bike was next on the to-do list. Kirk started with an Arlen Ness Legacy front fender then modified it so it would sit lower and a little further back on the tire. Bob Monroe got a hold of the gas tank and stretched it back 9 inches and shaped the tail sections to drop right into the side covers. Bob also made a custom-stretched dash that tapered down to meet the front of the seat. When it came to the rear tire, Chris had a request; "I wanted a true dual exhaust system with the tail sections of the pipes tucked under the center of the rear fender." To meet Chris' demands, the KEK crew fabricated a stretched-out rear fender that not only helped give the bike an even longer, sleeker look, but also allowed room for the idea Kirk had in mind for the rear of the exhaust. To accentuate the lines of the bike even further, a set of Gator Bags were modified to match the rear fender. "KEK cut the back and bottom section of the bags out then stretched them 9 inches back and 4 inches down, and they flowed with the fender perfectly," said Chris. "To really wow people, they installed remote actuators to open and close the lids."
Just like a father with his newborn son, Chris wanted to be there to watch his two-wheeled pride and joy every step of the way, but at one point his persistence was a little too much for Kirk and the guys. "There were a couple weeks there when we had to ban Chris from the shop," Kirk told us. "We put some tape across the front door and wrote 'Chris, do not enter.'"
Most of the fabrication was complete, except there was a slight problem with the fairing. They had decided to remove the engine guard (which also supports the lower portion of the RG fairing and is where the turn signals sit) and replace it with a Lower Fairing Support bar from Drag Specialties. The problem was where to put the turn signals. The idea came up to put the blinkers in the fairing; everyone liked the idea so they did it. "They cut two holes in either side of the fairing and used two pieces of PVC pipe to recess the turn signals into the fairing.
While the frame and sheetmetal were being tended to, the engine was torn down so that RC Cycles in Dublin, California, could install a 95ci kit. For that extra bling effect to catch the judges attention, the heads and cylinders were treated to the diamond process by Diamond Heads in Henderson, Nevada. Chris decided to stick with the stock H-D primary and transmission, but wanted them color matched to the frame for a more complete look. For the exhaust, a set of true duals from Vance and Hines were used, then Kirk had Mike fabricate a custom rear exhaust section that slipped between the bags and the swingarm and met right behind the rear wheel into a diamond-shaped collector that barely peeked out of the end of the rear fender.
Color was a big part of Chris's final plan and Kirk laid down a red Sikkens undercoat followed by a SEM Color Horizons Wine Fire topcoat. Once the topcoat was dry, Eric applied some pinstriping and silver leaf accents to just about every piece of the bike, yes, even under the frame.
Final installation included replacing the stock gauges with an all-new setup from Dakota Digital; the stereo was ditched in favor of a more flashy and visually stimulating Pioneer head unit with a flip-up video screen. And to keep the handlebar area clean, a set of Custom Cycle Control bars with all the cables, lines, and wires stuffed inside them were used.
After 14 months of work, the bike was finally complete and it was ready for show season. "I named the bike, Bagger Dragger 2 and entered it into just about every show in the Bay Area," Chris said. "So far the bike has won 32 trophies and $9,000."
We know what you are wondering, "what about winning best in show?" Yes, Chris finally got his best in show award, in fact, he's won multiple. Most notably he won Grand Champion at the Arlen Ness show, Best in Show at the Santa Maria Motorcycle Madness Show, and won the D'Elegance award-Most Elegant Motorcycle (first time for a bagger) at the San Francisco Rod and Custom Show. The Bagger Dragger isn't just a show piece though, Chris says so far he's put more than 5,000 miles on the bike.
"It has been a great year for me and my wife Denise, with lots of awards and lots of prize money, but being in HOT BIKE magazine is icing on the cake."
|BIKE OWNER||Chris Crowe|
|SHOP NAME||Killer Eye Kandy (KEK)|
|SHOP PHONE||(510) 773-6923|
|BUILD TIME||14 months|
|EXHAUST||Vance and Hines/KEK|
|MANUFACTURER FRONT||H-D/Platinum Air Suspension/Pro-One|
|MANUFACTURER REAR||Platinum Air Suspension|
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
FINISH/PAINT COLOR Sikkens Red/SEM Wine Fire/Silver Leaf PAINTER KEK GRAPHICS KEK
PLATING/POLISHING San Joaquin Chrome
|GAS TANK&CAP;||KEK, Bob Monroe/Precious Metal|
|HANDLEBARS||Custom Cycle Controls|