Hey Mark Barnett – Your all-time Harley dream bike is ready!
Mark likes Harleys, high-performance (power, handling and braking) and custom looks in about that order along with a dash of civility, reliability and an extra serving of comfort thrown into the mix. For as long as I’ve known him, this lovely build by Oscar Peralta of AfterCycles in Queretaro, Mexico, hits every point of what he’s looked for in bike after bike but never found. Some may have had the performance or the handling or comfort, but none have had it all along with the look. The look that stops you dead in your tracks and this one had it and then some.
In case you’re not familiar with AfterCycles even though they’ve been a big part of the serious show circuit in America, it’s a custom sub-division/side job/whatever you call it of Harley-Davidson Queretaro which unsurprisingly is also owned by Oscar Peralta. Oscar and Mark would get along well as both like high-performance custom vehicles that can take to the road in anger. No, no, not at other people on the road, but the tarmac itself which they both enjoy torturing in style. And brutha, style is what this 2016 Road King has in spades.
Yes, it’s a Road King of all things. Wouldn’t have been my first guess, but that’s what makes it even more interesting to me. Oscar slapped the plastic right off this FLHR and replaced it with minimalist, yet comfortable and usable, high performance style. A supercharged café/bobber/sport bike bagger style that fits in no one’s known description of a custom bagger. I’m guessing that Oscar is one of those guys that are always thinking outside of the box and from his successful dealership, race car wins and a complete love of life, he’s doing exactly what he wants and where he needs to be in life. Like his bike called Double Espresso, he’s always two steps ahead of himself and wouldn’t have it any other way.
So that’s what a stripped Road King looks like you’re probably thinking and that’s probably pretty true, but no stripped, partially or fully, Road King I’ve seen gave me the feeling this bike does. Along with believing every bike has a soul, I also believe some sure have a lot more soul than others and Double Espresso is definitely turned up to eleven when it comes to soul. Like I said before, it punched Mark Barnett’s motorcycle soul and then twisted it a bit too just for affect.
But, this just ain’t a stripped dresser, no sir. It’s really been stripped to the bone and parts replaced for super-high performance first and the go-fast style that followed after. Each end of the bike has had its Motor Company-supplied suspension replaced with high-quality Öhlins components, a superbike-style inverted fork with radial mount Beringer brakes in front and a pair of piggyback multi-adjustables in back. Needless to say, there’s another Beringer brake hanging around out back as there’s not a lick of skimping-on-anything going on here.
And then there are those wonderful wheels that only get better the longer and longer you look. It took me a sec to recognize these were not your average old spoked rims, but only a sec. Machined contrast cut alloy rims laced to a machined hub that never had been near a Road King with trick wave-style rotors along for the ride and very decent street rubber is a set of rolling stock to lust for. Cool, quaint, custom and cute all at the same time with a heavy dose of quiet attitude thrown in, my kind of wheel set.
When AfterCycles was doing the stripping down stuff initially, that also applied to the engine too. Maybe you looked close and saw the 120ST markings on the heads and wondered what that was, well I’ll tell you. That’s a Motor Company 120R with a supercharger that Oscar renamed 120ST for Supercharged Tourer. Plus it’s not one of the more popular ones out there, but one that I’ve been aware of called the HD Blower even though it seems to be one of those on-and-off propositions. Hey, I’d be thrilled with just the 120R, but this miniscule huffer basically stuffed up into what appears to be an elongated air cleaner cover interested me from the moment I laid eyes on it.
It’s a great idea, using a small, but very high rpm compressor that supposedly still flows a large volume of air while looking most attractive on the engine’s right side instead of dominating it like some aftermarket forced induction systems do. It’s not meant to be the highest of high performance unnatural aspirators, but more than enough with good looks. It does look pretty good, but this is the first one I’ve seen actually on a bike so I know nothing. I assume Oscar has this working just fine, though, as this bike was ridden to and from the Hot Bike Tour as well as on it, a distance of about 5,000 miles on top of the tour miles. Gotta work a bit then, but the jury’s still out so don’t salivate too much about getting one just yet. It is über cool, though.
Where this bike blows my tiny mind is unfortunate because it’s so superficial. As in the custom bodywork that takes the FLHR right the hell out of the Road King. The hand-built tank was formed over a wooden base much the way boat hulls were designed. The mold is a piece of art in itself. The shape was something I never would have envisioned working, but it does in ways I still don’t quite understand. It just plants the bike squarely on the ground with a hint of suppressed motion.
Same appreciation for the beautifully aggressive tail section that looks like it’s trying to push the tank forward. The outside flair is cut so it looks thinner than it really is stylishly allowing more room underneath the tail for the huge stash of Road King electronics. Oscar’s nobody’s fool riding thousands and thousands of miles on a “show bike” and the elegant pleated and patina’d oxblood leather seat is amply padded and looks great doing it. For once, somebody’s finally made a custom seat that you can ride and not just look at.
Oh you know I’d get to it sooner or later, but the metal slat frame covers are the bee’s knees. It’s a metal orgy that went right. To me it says ‘60s Italian high-end auto designer and I love every single one of those metal strakes. The way the shape builds and flows into an object with its own life is pleasingly harmonious to the build too. To me, it’s not a gimmick, but a beautiful piece of metal sculpture that contributes to this bike’s unique look. Okay, it’s trick as hell and I love it.
Then, there’re those absolutely sensational saddlebags ─ my God those are just beautiful beyond belief. From the shape to the colors to the leatherwork, I want them even if they might not be the best thing in rain or require some upkeep, I just want them.
The different textures bring on the style in a quiet way, but I’ll sing their praises loudly as they’re just so damn gorgeous. That pile of leather along with the wrapped exhaust headers brings a touch of warmth to the metal bits along with a bit of old time good looks.
The paint job is about as simple as you can get with black panels over silver. It’s a classy look punctuated with just a slight, but right touch of graphics. It all looks so damn right and it looks ready for production too. Hey Juneau Avenue crew, take a good look at this Road King and tell me it’s not ready for its close-up. If ever there was a good idea to steal this would be one. Don’t believe me? Hey Double Espresso not only finished that Hot Bike Tour, but it won the thing too. Every day at organized stops along the route, people came out in droves and voted for their favorite bike. And remember one thing, after the tour was over and Oscar held the trophy which looked mighty like a wrestling belt, he hopped on the bike and drove it home.
Like I said much earlier, “Mark Barnett ─ your all-time Harley dream bike is ready!”
For more info on AfterCycles, visit http://www.aftercycles.com/home or check ‘em on Facebook or whatever you got.