My childhood best friend's father was a plumber. He had one simple rule about plumbing that he taught us on the days he took us with him as helpers. "Crap runs downhill," he said, leaving us standing near an open pipe. It was advice well-heeded from that point on. The life of a plumber is not usually associated with glamour, especially when you consider what goes through those pipes that are the mainstay of that business. Nope, typically a plumber is just a hardworking guy such as Danny O'Neil of West Roxbury, Massachusetts. A guy who does his best to stay out of the way of the downhill flow and works hard to do a good job.
Like most custom bike owners, Danny had a vision of the bike he wanted but just couldn't describe it to anyone. So, he packed up his girlfriend Karen and hit all the big shows during 2000, hoping to see a real-life version of his dream bike. He struck out, but on his search, he stumbled on a very well-known builder, Jim Nasi. They hit it off, and O'Neil began spending more time with Jim at the events.
Nasi knew O'Neil was itching to reward himself with a bike that was the polar opposite of his work conditions -- an elegant, sleek machine that would turn heads everywhere it went. So Jim asked a lot of questions and tried to decipher what Danny wanted, in a way only an experienced builder could. After Biketoberfest 2000, Nasi went back to his Phoenix, Arizona, shop with a plan to build the motorcycle -- he thought Danny had been dreaming of -- and show up at Bike Week '01 with it.
When Jim returned to Phoenix, he took a Daytec frame off the shelf and stared at it for a while. He tried to picture all the things Danny had told him he liked in a bike; working with the 38-degree neck and the 5-inch backbone stretch. To get a better perspective, Jim slid a set of Sullivan's Wide-Glide chrome triple trees and 2-inch-under 41mm fork legs in place. He connected the Daytec swing arm to the frame with a Legend Air Suspension system.
From there, a pair of Performance Machine wheels was pulled out of stock. The 21-inch front was fit with a 90/90x21 Avon and a P.M. rotor that would be squeezed by a matching four-piston caliper. Out back, a 190x17 Avon covers the P.M. wheel that is equipped with a drive-side pulley-rotor, also from Performance Machine. Now Jim could start visualizing the motorcycle better.
But before he moved onto the metalwork, he was able to get the motor department started on a dream powerplant combination. Beginning with brilliantly polished cases, the shop installed flywheels, rods, and pistons -- all from Merch. More polishing was completed to the Merch cylinders and heads before they were topped with H-D rocker boxes filled with JIMS rockers. A Crane cam, a 42mm Mikuni carb, and Dyna ignition all work in conjunction with Samson pipes to ensure you can't mistake the sound of this big motor. Most Nasi bikes are automatically equipped with a Baker six-speed and a hydraulic Nasi clutch -- this was no exception. The change-up on this bike was an enclosed primary, since Danny lives in a rough climate and it rains frequently.
Nasi began with the metalwork by placing a Fat Katz tank on the frame and marking up the necessary changes to it. Then, a front fender that barely rides above the ground was built to match the tire profile. For the rear fender, the internal struts allow the carrying of a passenger, but when you look at it, it appears to float on top of the swing arm. The oil tank was fabricated to fill in all the space around the transmission, and, finally, everything was ready to go to Deano's for the paint and graphic design.
Another Nasi specialty is the use of its internal throttle bars with 6-inch pull-back risers. The combination helps you get around a 5-inch stretched tank in traffic. P.M. hand and U.M.I. foot controls help manage the course of direction, and a Headwinds headlight helps you get there. An LED taillight -- another Nasi specialty -- incorporated into the fender graphics, lets people see you leave. Last March, when Danny and Karen went to the Nasi booth after a long flight from Massachusetts, the first thing they saw was the bike. Danny didn't say a word, instead, he just pointed at it. Finally, he broke the silence and said, "I'll take it! It's exactly what I wanted." Jim smiled and said, "I know."