Hot Bike Custom Bagger

Giving Our Custom Bagger Some Guts

1. In the Vol. 38, No. 11 issue, Rolling Thunder walked us through creating one of its rubber-mount FL-esque frames that can hold a 200mm back tire. Beyond that, the rest of the chassis conforms to H-D specs for a smooth parts fit, from shoehorning the motor between the rails to final assembly. Because it's made to stock specs, other aftermarket parts made to fit a stock FL skeleton should fit the Rolling Thunder just as easily.

2. We followed the frame piece with the motor assembly (HOT BIKE, Vol. 39, No. 1). The V-series 107T specifically targets the touring crowd. While big racing motors are made to crank out oodles of horsepower high up in the rpm band, bagger riders generally want power on demand in the midrange without downshifting. This motor also has the S&S; Intelligent Spark Technology module that adjusts ignition timing automatically when detonation takes place, such as when you run low-octane fuel in a high-compression motor, which can damage it.

3. Together at last: Our motor bolted into the frame with no problems. After that, the shop introduced it to the trans, then bolted the shocks to the frame and swingarm.

4. When we started out, we said we were going to use all high-end components to make this bagger super-pimpin'. Transmission-wise, Baker was kind enough to kick us one of its six-speeders (MSRP: $3,250). By combining it with the S&S; 107T, we should have extremely smooth sailing on the highway...

5. ...and when bumps get in the way, Progressive Suspension's Model 440 I.A.S. shocks (MSRP: $507.38) will minimize the jolt. I.A.S. stands for "inertia active system"; they have a special inertia valve that determines whether the soft (wheel) or hard (chassis) circuit is used during sudden rear-wheel movement. All three circuits (soft rebound, hard rebound, and compression) are velocity sensitive.

6. At this point, Cory installed Compu-Fire's 32-amp charging system (MSRP: $266.71). Higher-compression motors take more juice from the battery to get going, and this baby was made specifically to handle the additional drain and keep our battery fully charged.

7. Next, it was over to the primary side. Primo/Rivera donated one of its Pro Clutch units (MSRP: $519.99) to the cause. This bulletproof diaphragm clutch was made to handle big power without requiring an iron grip to shift.

8. After that, Cory slid the stator assembly into place. It's the third and final piece of our Compu-Fire charging setup.

9. Now that we had the clutch on, Cory felt it was time to put on the inner primary cover. He was good enough to get us this far this issue, but being one of the top bike builders in the country takes up a lot of his time; he had to get back to business. But there'll be more on this bike in our next issue...

10. ...like this Russ Wernimont Designs gas tank. One of the latest products to leave the Wernimont facility, this 3-inch stretched 6-1/2-gallon tank is available as a direct bolt-on for Road Glides, Street Glides, and Road Kings. The tank is available for fuel-injected or carbureted bikes; a stretched chrome dash is also available. Tune in next time, same Bat-magazine, same Bat-channel, when the Ness team gives our cool new bagger some wheels and skin.

When last we left our hero, we had the heart of a new custom bagger: an S&S; 107T V-Twin for our Rolling Thunder frame. This go-'round, we're adding to the guts. We figured it'd be nice if this bike had a transmission, primary, and shocks, since we're wild and crazy like that.

Bringing this project to its fullest potential fell to Arlen and Cory Ness at Arlen Ness Motorcycles in Dublin, CA. You may have heard of them; Arlen's made a bit of a name for himself over the last 40-ish years building every style of American V-Twin imaginable. His son Cory was born and raised in the custom bike world; he's no stranger to building two-wheelers, either. Between them, they own and operate a custom motorcycle empire.

That said, it's not surprising we asked them to create this bagger. When we started this little building venture, we decided to use all high-end products from some of the top parts makers in the USA. Who better to bring the bagger to life than one of the top shops in the world?

The Ness boys got their hands on the motor and chassis. Now it's up to them to turn those parts into a badass bagger. In this issue, those two pieces are not only united, but joined by the transmission, clutch, primary, ignition, and shocks. They got us through most of the installation process, but there'll be more to come. We'd also like to extend our thanks to Rolling Thunder, S&S;, Baker Drivetrain, Compu-Fire, Progressive Suspension, Primo/Rivera, and Russ Wernimont Designs for donating their products and expertise to this project.