In a world where mass-production mail-order products are the norm and the number of individuals who rely heavily on said bolt-on parts to build their bike is always increasing, it is refreshing to see those who still do things the old-school way. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bolt-on products—but when you’re trying your absolute hardest to stray from the pack and create a machine with its own unique voice and soul, nothing trumps hand-built, custom-formed components. There’s just no other way around it. To build a bike that makes people look and keeps them looking, you’ve got to give them something different to stare at.
For those who need any further convincing, Dave Dupor of DD Custom Cycle is the man to talk to on this matter. Since 1999, he has been crafting award-winning motorcycles that have been praised for their details and free-flowing design work. But that all comes with paying close attention to the builds that sucked you into the world of custom bikes in the first place. “I specialize in stuff that a lot of people just aren’t doing anymore, especially with baggers,” Dave says about his approach to building his personal style of motorcycles. “I make tanks, side covers, steel front and rear fenders, steel tanks—a lot of one-off parts to give my customers something that is truly custom and something they can’t pick up just anywhere. I’m starting to see the same trend in touring bikes that we saw with choppers 10 years ago. There are too many assemblers popping up on every corner pricing parts at a dollar above cost just to make a sale. I’ve been doing this for 18 years now, and my customers are all guys who don’t want to ride bikes that look like everyone else’s.”
Now, Dave’s customer base is pretty wide as far as geography goes. He gets guys shipping brand-new bikes from all over the country for him to work on, and he even gets worldwide orders for his DD Custom Cycle line of parts that he’s made available on his website. But some of Dave’s most loyal clients, like Andre Bell, live in and around the Chicago vicinity. Andre’s 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide had seen its fair share of road time, as well as custom modifications for that matter. But there comes a time when far out just isn’t far enough, and Dave often sees this kind of scenario with guys looking to put a completely new spin on their ride. “Andre’s bike has the clean, elegant appearance of a hot rod,” he says. “It’s a timeless look, and it will be in style for a long time to come. The bike actually came to me from Nerradical Ridez in Hazel Crest, Illinois. The guys there had done a really nice job, but Andre came to me to get even more stuff done, by way of having the bike raked. He wanted to run a bigger wheel, an air ride front and rear, a steel rear fender, and a bunch of other modifications that I was more than happy to help him with.”