On the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), family and friends pray for those who have crossed paths with the reaper (voiced, of course, by Adam Carolla), but one whose demise you will never have to mourn is that of the black V-twin motorcycle. Don’t take that as a knock; negro motocicleta es muy Rico Suave (and that, friends, is the unfortunate extent of my “Spanish” speaking ability). Something you don’t need Google Translate for is the international language of cool. And who could resist a perfectly murdered-out flat-black ride with all sorts of badass oozing from its fairing to its footboards, including Dia de los Muertos graphics?
Well, Derik Skogen of Minnesota’s Twin Cities would tend to agree with us and decided to compose his own V-twin-powered ballad to “death metal.” By day, Derik slings bikes at Wild Prairie Harley-Davidson in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; by night, he builds custom headers for baggers under his company moniker, Hell Bent Manufacturing. Along with Deadline Customs resident painter Jeff Urman, Derik set out to make his dark fantasies a reality.
After bouncing some design ideas off each other, they finally ended up with the Dia de los Muertos theme. As Derik recalls, “Jeff really felt that he could take the Day of the Dead theme and roll with it, and he killed it with that airbrushing.” “Killed it” would refer to the Day of the Dead face-paint, skulls, jawbone (lifted from Derik’s favorite tattoo), Patron bottle (Derik’s tequila of choice), black widow spider, reaper, and “Live or Die” inscription that decorate his tins.
Once you get past the death, what of the metal? Deadline Customs was key in helping put this dark iron steed together. Derik tells us Deadline has extensive experience cutting the necks of frames like his—complete with a secret rake and stretch recipe. Paul Tracy of Black Label Baggers is responsible for the sweeping dash, tank, rear fender, and bags, while Derik decided to spin RC Components wheels beneath because they’re the only kind he ever buys and, as he put it, RC is absolutely great to work with. But assembling all the parts wasn’t nearly as tough as the biggest killer of them all: patience. “The wait was the greatest obstacle to getting this build done,” Derik recounts. “Waiting on the parts and waiting on the paint…but in the end, it really went together pretty darn good.”
Once Derik started taking her to all the local shows, such as the Donnie Smith Bike Show, his black beauty began filling up the old trophy cabinet with shiny hardware. That drew the attention of another bagger publication that wanted to feature it, but Derik and Deadline Customs’ Dana Hallberg agreed that they should hold out for the bagger magazine they liked and respected the most.
If you’re looking to grab yourself a piece murdered-out moto-mayhem, as of press, this bike is for sale. But in the likelihood that it’s been scooped up already, don’t worry; Derik is already working on his next project, based on a 2014 limited. Here’s to hoping that “Buda” (as Derik is also known) concocts something as Rico Suave as his death metal creation.