Yup, there’s not a lick of paint to be seen anywhere, but that’s not a detriment as far as I can see. Instead of covering up a lot of custom fiberglass bits and pieces, this all-metal bagger built by the metal master Dan Rollins of Dan Rollins Kustoms in Poquoson, Virginia, turns its insides out for a finished look I can’t get enough of. All that silver stuff is metal, aluminum to be exact, and each bit was hand-formed and finished by Mr. Rollins.
Speaking of that finish, no matter what TV shows you in minutes, there’s a ton of hard work, skill and patience involved to work flat sheets of aluminum to a shape and finish that’s good enough to replace paint. Every little mark made along the way to creating a shape has to be exorcised without creating its own new set of problems. And, with the complex lines of this build it’s not easy making a mirror-image duplicate for the other side. Whatever you do once had to be done twice is the way I see it.
Dan Rollins is not new to this game and has pretty much perfected this raw aluminum bodywork over a series of builds, each one just as different and interesting as the other. Plus they’re not all baggers too. He’s turned out some stunning aluminum bodied rides that are more traditional hot rod Haley than would-be transcontinental tourer. Dan’s also been born with extremely good taste and an artistic eye that shows in every single one of his builds.
Where this build takes it to a higher level is with the imaginative approach Dan took to “graphics” on this build with the subtle, yet extremely gorgeous engraving. It would’ve been too easy to get carried away with this form of metal enhancement, but Dan edited himself very well and you have to look for it. I really like this artistic metal surfacing on the aluminum sheet where he’s used it to great affect. It’s the perfect amount of what-it- is that does not look overdone or trying too hard for attention. It’s there and you can slowly soak in the additional metal filigree at your discretion.
I’ve probably gotten ahead of myself describing the finish on this 2007 Harley-Davidson Road King without getting into some of the shapes and ideas formed into hard bodywork that evolved into the metal on wheels custom FLHR. Take the fairing, for instance, that owes nothing much to the stock one except it’s a fairing too. My favorite bit is the instrument nodule and the use of what appears to be a sport bike windshield. A nice area to look down on while riding I’d say. Or the way the speakers are mounted behind the fairing, that’s plain cool and unlike anything else you see. Or, the flow of the bags and rear fender which is simple and sweet and not overdone in any way. I do like the speed holes in the cockpit, the front fender, exhaust heat shields and the side panels drawing the design into one harmonious mass. Okay, okay, I love admit I’ve love speed holes ever since I saw my first photos of a 1963 Swiss Cheese Pontiac Catalina frame.
Like every radical big wheel bagger out there, this also involved lots of hard and tedious work morphing the stock touring frame to accommodate the big ass front wheel. And, wait ─ there’s more as this has also be modified into a lay frame design that has its own set of rules that must be followed to make this a reality. Sometimes we just get spoiled looking at these rad baggers and forget what goes into them to make them conform to our lofty expectations of what makes a custom bagger custom.
One thing I’ve let go until the end is Dan’s inspired and tasteful use of red powdercoating on the front wheel and engine that lends its own juxtaposition of color to a somewhat colorless design. It looks right as is and is the perfect compliment to what otherwise might have been a dull composition. There’s just enough and in all the right places to pull this off. Well done sir.
So yeah, I like and appreciate the thought, imagination and skill that went into building this Road King into something it never knew it could be. Dan Rollins Kustoms has never disappointed me with any build and I don’t doubt that Mr. Rollins will continue to surprise and amaze me with any future builds. All I have to do is wait for them and since these are not plastic composite customs, I might have to wait a little longer than the average radical custom bagger, but I don’t have the slightest doubt the wait will be worth it.