The sexy Road Glide custom by XBS Customs in Chesterfield, Virginia, is its own rolling rave on the road but with a lot more class than a bunch of crazed ravers could ever muster. XBS prides itself on not only creating tasteful, yet extreme baggers like this one, but specialize in sound systems that are so far beyond my comprehension I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. Okay, I admit it. I’m a complete luddite when it comes to sound systems, but I can appreciate the work that goes into making a bagger its own sound studio on wheels. Yeah, I know I’m in the minority as baggers with concert hall audio can bring a crowd in about five or six seconds at best.
What XBS has accomplished with this rather elegant FLTRXS is show bagger worthy, yet there’s more than a hint of intended road use too. Hey, It may not be a wonderful cross-country tourer as it was stock, but it’s become its own bagger experience and a great showcase for what XBS can do. As you can easily see, this is a well-thought out and beautifully designed custom bagger with XBS’ own twist on what’s expected of a big wheel bagger today. This was not a slap and dash mishmash of parts thrown together in hopes of getting something done, but a tastefully stylized conglomeration of parts a lot of which are XBS offerings.
Like any big wheel bagger, XBS had to modify the stock frame to accept the bigger hoop up front. The route of stretching the neck of the frame has become fairly common these days, but you still have to have the chops to pull it off well. XBS is not afraid to let you see the process with a complete photo gallery of the build on their excellent website. Another bit of frame modding involved the MRI electric center stand replacing the side stand and allowing the whole bike to be dropped straight up and down courtesy of Dirty Air shocks out back and the application of air suspension to the newly bedazzled with billet bits front forks. Custom bagger freaks love the low as you can go look and XBS obliged them completely while still maintaining its gentlemanly civility at rest.
The front wheel is a trip. It took me a bit to try and figure out what’s going on with that one-off five-spoke wheel. Someone at XBS loves their Water Jet machine as the billet wheel inserts with acrylic screens on the wheels. By now you’ve probably noticed the billet and acrylic screens that are strewn throughout the bike for a bit of speaker screen theme. Normally I’m not crazy about theme stuff, but this use of screening is tastefully and imaginatively done. Kudos to whoever had that original idea as it really ties the whole build together without looking the least bit hokey. Back to the front wheel where a single Performance Machine six-piston works on a wheel matching rotor that for once really matches the wheel design. The rotor ring just looks like its floating in space and that’s wicked cool to me. Apparently there is a wheel in back, but nobody’s seen it since the build was completed so we’ll just assume it’s there.
The Twin Cam engine is a big part of the show in this build. The Screamin’ Eagle cylinders and heads are Diamond Cut for a bit of bling and extra cooling although I think the bling aspect is the most important here. Set against a black background of the cylinders and heads, it really stands out. Also you can’t help but notice the orange powdercoated Roland Sands Design Clarity rocker box, cam, derby, clutch and transmission covers as well as the RSD Clarity air cleaner. Roland’s stuff, any of his stuff, is always cool beyond all belief and strangely striking in orange. Throw in the orange pushrod tubes and the original style Fat Boy orange striping on the rockers and the block itself and you have a Harley-fest of black and orange corporate colors with a flash of raw aluminum for some zing.
One little detail I couldn’t help but notice was XBS screen in the air cleaner. Nobody would’ve noticed that but obviously XBS would. Speaking of screening, that nasty bastard of a Nasty Bastard exhaust from Misfit Industries not only makes a statement on its bellowing self with that big mouth outlet, but with the heat shielding that also has screened cutouts for aesthetic as well practical reasons. Those screen openings let out heat so the shields stay just a bit cooler and look cooler too. A win-win all around here.
The flowing lines of this York-built Road Glide have taken a whole new twist like the stock parts had been taking some psychedelic steroids that changed the lines to the way the wind was blowing. The chopped and channeled Road Glide fairing came straight out of XBS’ parts bin. The reshaped XBS Road Glide fairing still carries Road Glide DNA, but with a stretched twist of its own. I find it quite attractive especially in its lay-down-on-the-fender position. The dash is heavily armed with giant XBS speaker covers and some sort of ultra-high tech stuff underneath blatting out the tunes. Check with XBS for the actual spec on these as that is their forte and definitely not mine. The tank is XBS’ Big Daddy tank kit with a nice bit of sculpturing and a beautifully smooth dash with three rocker switches doing something important. It’s a serene scene looking down at the tank. Underneath it and slightly ahead is the chin spoiler with more acoustic looking mesh tying the front end to the rest of the bodywork.
Out back, XBS’ Mack Daddy rear end kit composed of sculpted bags and a long, flowing rear fender add a bit of excessively nice flow to what otherwise can be a stodgy, but purposeful stock rear end. They topped it off with some big speaker lids with more of their billet speaker grills that have the screening that is an important aspect of this build. You probably noticed the sleek Tour Pak that’s crammed with electronics like the interior walls of a nuclear submarine. It all gives me a wiring headache just to look at, but it is tidily done and a bit of as showpiece all by itself for those who love their electronic stuff. I couldn’t begin to know or guess what any of it is so you’re on your own again. Contact XBS if you really need to know and I’m sure they’ll tell you in crazed electronic detail.
No shortcuts were taken on this build with some beautiful billet floorboards, foot and hand controls that keep the high-end vibe going. All nice stuff and worthy of this build. I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that the astoundingly sharp two-up seat with Tour Pak back rest is the work of Butch Watson of HighRollers Cycle Seats in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Butch has been doing a new style of seat that brings up super-expensive European luxury cars that somehow couldn’t look more correct for this build. There’s beautiful luxury and exquisite styling along with the stitching of the gods all combined to bring a seat that looks elegant without resorting to extreme leather working. Clean and different is what I think of it.
When it came time for paint, XBS let the orange do the talking over a heavy metallic gray and gloss black pairing accented with silver stripes and orange pinstriping. Up close the graphics take another twist with the mesh screening showing up in between the orange pinstriping. A really nice and subtle touch I can’t help but like. The screening is everywhere on this bike, but it’s never ever in your face. Well, maybe the front wheel a bit, but that’s the kind of in-your-face style points I can’t help but like. If I was to ever go the full-on custom bagger route, I’d have to put XBS on the short list. The way they handled themselves on this rather quietly stunning Road Glide is a class act from front to back and everywhere in between. They’d probably hate me, though, as I’d leave out all the rave equipment. It’s too late for me to start raving now anyway.
For more info on XBS Customs, check out their excellent website with great photos of this build from day one to finish at https://xbscustoms.com/ or find ‘em on Facebook.