Last issue we confiscated a '99 Fat Boy from one of our readers, Sgt. Adam of the US Army National Guard. Adam contacted us for a shop recommendation that could give his Softail a sinister look and make it into a more comfortable bike for solo or two-up rides.
Of course there are plenty of custom builders located all over the country, but as we started thinking about it, we came up with the idea of procuring Adam's bike while he was stationed in the Middle East and transform it, then have it ready for him to roam the country when he returned home. Therefore we began searching for a one-stop shop that could handle tear down, fabrication, paint, and final installation. We found exactly what we were looking for with Bad Dad Customs in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
With Bad Dad sorted out as base camp for the project, we had to figure out the other key components of this mission; logistics and supplies. Lucky for us, we had an arsenal of supportive companies that were eager to make a soldier's dream come true and help accomplish our mission. On the logistic front there was about 500 miles of terrain and one great Lake Michigan between the pickup and the drop off. We made a call to Keyboard Motorcycle Shipping and they graciously agreed to run the bike to and from Adam's house and Bad Dad.
Once the bike was at the Bad Dad, shop owner Derk Hinsey informed us of all that he was capable of, which included everything plus some of his own parts such as stretched headlight nacelle, tank shrouds, and his new saddlebags. Since we really wanted the bike to look different from its stock form, stand out amongst other Harleys, and be the comfortable long hauler Adam was hoping for, we made a few more calls. Knowing that wheels can really set a bike off and get people looking, we contacted RC Components and told them about the objective of giving this bike a darker look. RC's response was to offer up a set of its latest wheels, the Czar, in its new Eclipse finish, (a mix of black and machined metal). The aggressive design of the Czar would fit the bill perfectly. In order for Adam to run from state to state handling all terrain and weather in his path, he needed a good set of tires. Avon stepped up and sent out a pair of its Venom tires, an AM41 front and AM42 rear, both of which would provide good traction and long mileage. Finally, to help the miles click by with ease, Mustang Seats provided a Sport Touring Vintage Solo Seat with Driver backrest and a Sport Touring Vintage Recessed Rear Seat. And to help make the passenger more comfortable, Derk fabricated a custom detachable sissybar with backrest pad. With the Mustang Seats and sissybar combo, Adam's cockpit could go from solo to riding with a co-pilot in a matter of seconds.
Once all the parts were in-house, mocked up, and ready to rock, Derk and his crew stripped the bike down, and the bodywork was hung inside the Bad Dad paint booth where Matt Anderson covered everything in black. Next, Kevin Hare stepped in and hit the sides of the tank, front fender, and saddlebag lids with his airbrush work. Scal Graphix then laid down some pinstripes on the dash for a little extra zing. And lastly, to knock down some of the sheen and add to the evil look of the bike, several layers of H-D matte clear were applied over the top of everything.
With the mission nearly complete, all that was left was to reassemble the bike, load it back in the Keyboard truck, and run this bad dog back to its owner. To say the bike was well-received by Adam would be an understatement, Adam sent the following email:
"They dropped my bike off yesterday, and wow, I was truly amazed and still am! And yes, even in the rain and 40-degree weather, it was still an awesome ride. Again thank you, thank you, thank you. I just wanted to tell all of you how much I am at a loss of words. You have truly made a friend in Iraq and Wisconsin (when I am home at least). I hope after I am settled back home I can have the opportunity to personally thank you all face to face and show my appreciation. And having a custom bike that has been transformed by all of you, I see no better way to do it and break in my "new" bike than traveling to all of your locations. Thank you again, Adam."
We would also like thank Avon Tires (avonmoto.com), Bad Dad (baddad.com), Keyboard Motorcycle Shipping (keyboardmotorcycleshipping.com), Mustang Seats (mustangseats.com), and RC Components (rccomponents.com). They shared our desire to give back and make a dream come true for a young man who risks his life serving our country. Without their help this mission would have never been accomplished.