If you don’t know the name, you’ve probably never tried a kickflip.
As a gold medalist at the X Games and champion of not one but two Dew Tours, Greg Lutzka is skateboarding royalty, and since retiring from professional competition a decade or so ago, he has been an ambassador of the sport, skating at events and demos all over the world and designing and building his own line of boards for his sponsor, Darkstar.
But Lutzka is more than a skater; he’s an entrepreneur at heart. He knew early on competitive skateboarding wouldn’t last forever, and used his contacts and connections to forge partnerships and build a professional portfolio out of his success. He’s also an “influencer,” boasting more than 200,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter combined. And if you think social media is a waste of time and energy, consider this: It was his viral renown that led Lutzka to motorcycling.
Like everyone else back in 2013, Harley-Davidson was just dipping its toes into this thing we call social media. Yep, even five years ago, before “attract young riders” became the frantic mantra of an industry, the Motor Company knew it was going to have to skew younger or face dire consequences when the baby-boom generation put the kickstand down for good. So H-D started its reasonably successful (and mildly annoying) habit of jingoistic social media campaigns, including one called Taste the Freedom, for which they enlisted five nonmotorcycling social media influencers to learn how to ride Harleys and then go on a motorcycle tour. The five participants—UFC fighter Mike Chiesa, photographer Cole Rise, hip-hop artist Astronautalis, artist Ray Frenden, and Lutzka—learned to ride, gained traction on social media, made a video series of the whole experience, had a ton of fun, and they all received a Dyna at the end of it all.
Lutzka’s take-away? Skateboarding is cool—but now he was officially hooked on motorcycling.
“The second I got on that bike I pretty much fell in love,” Lutzka admits. “Riding is kind of like skating; it’s all about friends and who you hang out with.”
After Lutzka rode the Dyna for a while near his home in Southern California, getting his skating buddies into motorcycles and discovering biker faves like Cook’s Corner and Ortega Highway, the motorcycle bug had its teeth buried deep into Lutzka’s psyche—and his work ethic. It wasn’t long before he reached out to Harley-Davidson to gauge the company’s interest in partnering on a line of skateboard decks (the actual board part of the skateboard). To his surprise, the Motor Company loved the idea. A few custom decks were created, then a few more editions were released, and the boards took off. You can still buy a Harley-themed, Lutzka-designed Darkstar deck.
“A lot of really cool opportunities came from working with H-D,” he says. “Next thing you know, I’m traveling by bike and skating and designing products, and doing a lot of really cool s—t.”
But the entrepreneurial spirit wasn’t fully quenched; nor was Lutzka’s passion for riding. He soon made the same fateful decision that eventually hooks us all: He wanted to customize the bike to better fit his style.
Related: Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider FXDL
“I wanted some frickin’ pipes that made my bike look, feel, and sound aggressive,” he says. “Aaron over at Suicide Machine in Long Beach told me, ‘You want Bassanis.’” After riding with the company’s killer Road Rage II system, Lutzka loved the pipes, and the service, so when he got a new Dyna Low Rider, he rode it straight to Bassani. “I started talking to them and they asked my opinion of the previous ones, and I just kind of told them a bunch of minor stuff about the design and s—t. Next thing I know, I’m doing a signature pipe for them.
“Soon Saddlemen came through with a custom seat for me, so I started designing a “GL” seat for them, and one thing kind of turned into the next. It’s pretty rad how it all came together,” he says.
Rad, indeed. Yes, friends, opportunity came pounding at Lutzka’s door, and damn if he didn’t pull an ollie right over the threshold. Probably threw in a tasty “McTwist” too (whatever that means). Greg recently launched an online parts house he calls 85Industries, where the fans who follow him on social media can purchase the very products that make up the sexy beast you see spread out on the pages before you.
“It’s a never-ending project,” he admits. “Every time I do something to my Dyna, that leads to something else. But that’s what makes it rad, you know? It’s like skateboarding; everyone rides a different style, so they want different wheels, trucks, different-size boards so they can skate the style they want.
“Same with motorcycles,” he continues. “There’s no right or wrong; everyone just has their own style. Motorcycles are like skate culture in that it’s very welcoming. People aren’t judgmental. Riders respect other people that ride, and that’s the way skating is too.
“Besides,” Lutzka says, “if everyone had the same s—t, it wouldn’t be rad at all!”
|Year/Make/Model||2015/Harley-Davidson/Dyna Low Rider|
|Fabrication||Thomas Ulrich put everything together; Brandon over at Quaid Harley-Davidson hooked up the tins|
|Build Time||Three to four months|
|Air Cleaner||Screamin' Eagle|
|Exhaust||Bassani Xhaust Signature Greg Lutzka pipes|
|Special Features||Gold Fork tubes from Cycle Engineering|
|Primary Drive||Stock w/ a San Diego Customs Durby cover|
|Front end||Legend 49mm AXEO|
|Rear Shocks||Legend Revo 13-in.|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Wheel height/width||19 x 2.5-in.|
|Wheel Height/Width||17 x 4.5-in.|
|Painter||Ricki Hickenbottom Jr.|
|Fairing/Windscreen||Memphis Shades Road Warrior|
|Handlebars||Big Al’s Cycles bars (Buddy’s bend)|
|Risers||8-in. pull-back Biltwell risers|
|Hand controls/Grips||Performance Machine grips|
|Foot Controls/Pegs||San Diego Customs Mini floorboards|
|Turn Signals||Moon’s MC|
|Seat||Greg Lutzka-signature GL Saddlemen seat|
|License Mount||No idea|