Nothing Like A Bit Of Bedlam

Written by  Story By Johnny Pants Photos By Jack “Hit Me Again” Cofano Monday, 19 March 2018 12:00
Published in Modified Stockers
Maybe it’s just me, but I would never ever have guessed this was a theme bike. Or, would I have guessed it was a Cross Bones either. That’s two major things I never would have guessed, but guess what? I really, really love this bike built by the folks at Tobacco Road Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, North Carolina, for so many reasons from its overall one-off look to its ability to still aim for the horizon at a moment’s notice.


   Theme bikes are usually none of my business. Sometimes they just get too commercially blatant in a TV chopper and, while a company’s message may have been sent, no one wants to watch that commercial again. In the case of this bike, I have to admit I had no idea what “Bedlam” was other than a word that I figured had something to do with the painter using words for graphics. Nope on that one as it’s a vodka company that happens to be called Bedlam Vodka. Can’t say I’ve seen it or tried it, but I would after seeing this bike. I mean, take a look at this bike and you know they’re a cool adult beverage company and not a bottom-shelf variety. And now I’ve told you so I’d have to say this Bedlam Vodka bike did its job.

   Like I said earlier, if you had asked me which model Softail I thought this was, I wouldn’t have guessed a 2008 Cross Bones. As everybody knows, on a Cross Bones, it’s all about the springer and that’s the big piece of the puzzle missing here. Harley’s banging springer has found shelf life to be its new future as the boys at Tobacco Road replaced it with the other extreme of a fork, a Ceriani via Italy, that’s inverted with beefy tubes and about as modern as you can get. Kind of a little juxtaposition of forks going on here, but I like it.

    After replacing the stock laced wheels with a pair of Contrast-Cut billet wheels from Roland Sands Design, they also dug a little deeper into RSD with a wheel-matching set of rotors. Keeping things in the family can be a smart thing to do building a custom and if you let your eyes mosey around, they’ll pick out other RSD stuff too. Hey, I’m a big fan of Mr. Sand, so anything he does gets my approval as he’s never let me down. Stock H-D calipers get the job done and done right too.

    The stock Twin Cam 96-inch engine has also found some shelf space to itself as there’s a thundering S&S 124 taking its place. There’s not a lot to say about this engine other than it’s powerful as all get-out in its so-called stock form. Let’s just say you were on this bike and racing your buddy’s stock Cross Bones. Would that even be a race or would that be the sports’ equivalent of piling on the points? It’s be piling on the points. This bike should just scream through its Bassani pipes as is and be usable on the street even as a daily rider. 

   Bodywork mods entailed keeping the stock fuel and oil tanks as is while chucking the stock headlight and both OEM fenders. Drag Specialties provided that big round headlight that looks the biz as is. Meanwhile the ducktail-flip rear fender and the raised springer front fender were replaced with some smooth and tight rounded fenders that look like they should have been factory. The sprung saddle had to go as this had taken a turn to a musclebike from retro-style. In its place is a lovely diamond-stitch leather saddle not only looks pretty comfy, but also provides a nice little setting to keep your butt in place when the throttle’s twisted and the gears are a banging. 

  Topping it all off, though, is the fine paintwork by Crazy Beavers Customs in Selma, North Carolina. At first I just thought this was a cool paintjob, but it’s actually the kind of graphics that Bedlam Vodka uses in its advertising. The word jumble thing works beautifully here and the black and silver paint blends in beautifully with the black and silver mechanical highlights. The end result is one of the very few theme bikes that I would consider to be a wonderful custom motorcycle that has no self-imposed custom boundaries keeping it from being a lovely road ride. If I had this bike right now, I’d drop what I’m doing and go to the nearest liquor store and try my first taste of Bedlam Vodka. If it’s half as good as this bike, it’s a winner in my book.

More in this category: « Unnaturally Aspirated Softail

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