Surprisingly for me, it was built by Beach Customs in Little River, South Carolina, which I mistakenly thought of as just a custom bagger and trike shop. Could be that the other feature Barnett’s Magazine Online has done on them involved a very nicely done custom Harley-Davidson Freewheeler in the big wheeler tradition. Click on the link and take a look for yourself, they do nice work.
I like their approach of not being afraid to use modern components for a retro-custom bike that’s sure to spend some fun road time sooner or later. I’m not sure why, but second owners of customs seem to put a hell of a lot more mileage on than the first. I don’t think that’s a problem with this bike as its owner, Natalie Johnson of Sanford, North Carolina, has already blued the header pipes nicely. Unlike shielded pipes, the chrome on a set of custom pipes is always gonna heat up enough to blue sometime-somewhere. It’s a mark of honor to me.
The integration of old and new is pretty seamless and nothing stands out of place to me at least. Modern brakes? Sign me up. Seat shock saddle? The only way to go on a rigid. A new big-inch S&S Super Stock engine? Makes sense to me. An extremely wide open-pit primary? The jury’s out on that one as it looks dangerously cool and might be needed if that’s a really-really big-inch mill. But, man, that unit almost seems to double engine width with a heavy penchant for the left side. Gotta be real cautious turning left on this baby.
To me this bike looks like all the stuff was thought about and/or acquired over the years to start getting serious and getting it together. Beach Customs did a great job picking out the frame as the dimensions are reasonable and appears to be a nice handler. The rake compliments the blacked-out springer and the bike just has a sweet stance to it.
A big part of that ready-to-launch look is the choice of an appropriately big 23-inch front wheel up front to contrast with the just-wide-enough-to-look-good 18-inch rear wheel. Both wear very modern rubber on the Performance Machine Contrast-Cut Torque wheels. It’s a stealthy setup of whirring blades more knife than anything else. PM also provided the four-piston caliper brake setup front and rear which is a sign that somebody intended to ride this build from the git. If you got nothing else going for you, at least have good brakes.
Bodywork is perfect for this application with a hint of old restructured to fit the new way. The stretched tank flows smoothly towards the rear while being set back enough to do a bit of Old School frame molding minus the buckets of Bondo. Steel is real is the theme here and it looks custom and purposeful too. The fat back fender that is also metal-molded in the frame really shields the rider from debris and looks simple and clean, nothing crazy. A chrome cylindrical oil tank/battery box keeps things honest and convenient.
The somewhat provocative hand-tooled leather seat sits on a seat shock that doesn’t appear to have much travel, but then maybe owner Natalie is a feather light lady. I’d gone for a bit more with that not-to-tall rear tire not lending much of a hand dissipating road shock that a rigid loves to transmit. I do like the sissy bar a lot as I kinda miss them now more than I ever used to like them. Oh nostalgia you SOB. Speaking of nostalgia, the apes look the biz topped off by dual PM master cylinders and controls. The foot controls have a bit of a modern edge to them and easily become a part of the total picture.
Paint is quite a surprise here with a flashy modern metal flake look jumping out of the blue with a show bike hue. It pops to say the least. A bit of bright silver scalloping more in a lead sled car-style than anything else I can think of looks flashy modern right. Not too much, but pretty damn close. As far as the murals on the tank, well, each to their own is all I can say. Somehow I don’t think that’s Natalie, but I could be wrong.
All in all, Beach Customs turned out a retro-chopper with a sensitive blend of old and new in both components and design. It’s kind of an homage to the past with a modern flavor all its own. It certainly isn’t a cross-country tourer, but it sure looks like a fun knock-around that will tempt you to push the miles and the speed limits. I don’t know about you, but I like a bike that dares you on every ride. This looks like one of them.
For more info on Beach Customs visit http://beachcustomsinc.com/ or find ‘em on Facebook.