This article was originally published in the Spring 1996 issue of Cycle World's Big Twin magazine.
Over the past 27 years, Ron Simms, owner of Bay Area Customs in Hayward, California, has built a lot of exquisite customs for other people. They pay him large amounts of money to create exactly what they want; but once the bikes are completed, out the door they go, often never to be seen again by their creators.
Not long ago, Simms got a hankering to create something to suit his own personal tastes, something he could look at and say, "This is mine." So, he got out the sketch pad and started noodling. A few months later, he and his employees had created an original new custom just for him.
Simms calls the bike Tribal Flame, so named because its flames are unique—or, at least, they were unique: This custom hadn't been on the street more than two weeks before the exact, jagged-edged flame design started appearing on other customs all around the country. But Simms doesn't mind; like most other innovative custom builders, he's been flattered in that fashion many times.
Tribal Flame also makes good use of Simms' new-design frame, which is stretched two inches over stock and raked seven degrees. The frame is built expressly for Bay Area Customs by Paughco, and it allows enough room for a fat rear tire up to 190mm wide while still keeping the motor and rear wheel in line.
Simms really like the bike's chevron-design wheels from Performance Machine; so much so that he continued that same theme elsewhere, evidenced by the chevron shapes machined on the rear fender rails. And to add a touch of nostalgia, the drive-belt guard covers the entire rear pulley are, reminiscent of the oil-bath chain enclosures on bikes of many decades past.
It's safe to say that a lot of killer customs will be going out into the world from Simms' shop in the future. But this one stays home.
This one belongs to The Boss.