Hey, that’s all well and good I say and let them feel inadequate with their 30-inch wheel when the 34-incher finally lands as it supposedly is. For someone looking for a nice and completely rideable custom, the Softail is still the way to go. Bikes just like this one found parked in Pat Patterson’s Led Sled Customs space at Smoke Out 18 are not only way cool, but they attract as much attention as any big wheel mastodon. It’s all about the look and this Softail has it in spades.
One nice thing about building a Softail custom today is that the used-bike buy-in is quite cheap and that leaves more money on the table to complete the bike exactly as you want. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend a wad of cash on what might appear to be a relatively mildly customized Softail, oh you can. But, it’s all up to you and can be done a bit piecemeal as the cash or your time permits.
The cutie-patootie Heritage-style Softail you’re looking at has taken an LA low rider approach that’s definitely a style of its own. Just like a low rider auto, it’s not about radically changing the factory look, it’s adding some wheels and a lot of pizzazz to separate it from a somewhat similar style custom. It’s all about the details and the paint. Spending money on high performance is not part of the game and besides, who would want to overwhelm the relatively skinny rear tire with a turbo or whatever? These bikes are made for fun and the reliability that a factory machine comes with. Breaking down on the coolest bike ever built is still no fun.
Obviously somewhere on board this machine is an air compressor to “Pump you up” and down too. This bike almost sits straight up and down on its side stand when dropped. The rest of it is not only a pretty build, but a well-thought out one too. There is a distinct lack of shiny bits and I find that interestingly unusual. Somehow you think bling when you think low rider. Here, the builder knew exactly how to accomplish that without doing it. He just took the opposite tack on the Drivetrain but upped the ante on the paint.
By that I mean the paint and select bits of bright work. Take those crazy-cool wheels that look like the work of Ridewright Wheels with those fat jewel-style spokes in gold with big stainless nipples against the black powdercoated rim. Oh, and I can’t forget the custom rotors with their matching gold centers too. Even the black and chrome engine package was toned down a bit with black engine covers where once was chrome. All of this was done for one thing and one thing only ─ to make the paint pop!
As you can tell, the tank looks pretty damn stock as is and the rest of the bodywork has been massaged to fit the new look especially those tail dragger fenders. The Heritage-style front fender looks just right and even better with stock but black Heritage Softail metal script and fender bumper. I love fender bumpers just for their absurdity. Same goes for the rear fender too ─ another bumper protects the ass end. Quite a bit of handwork there, but it looks the biz as is.
What was once chrome like the fender stays, dash, handlebars (now apes), horseshoe oil tank and fork legs are now a lovely gloss black. Same goes for the exhaust too, but this is a now a set of l-o-o-o-n-g custom fishtails in black thumping out the V-twin beat. This is all an unexpected lack of metal bling that you might expect on a LA-style low rider where bling seems to rule the build. I’m okay with that, but I like this builder’s take just as much.
Other than the wheels, rotors and a couple of engine bits, it’s all about the lack of bling or so it seems. The bling comes on strong against the black in the heavy metal flake green and gold paintwork with black shadowing and pinstriping. It’s a striking bit of art work that makes you think Old School without shoving it down your throat with every ‘70s paint technique that was available. I find it quite beautiful and very tasteful too. I think it will age well too as it’s no retro theme bike, but more of a nod to the low ride heritage and Old School at the same time. I can’t say the same for those ‘90s customs with their bright neon colors, sorry kids.
Want a distinctive looking custom Harley without dropping unbelievable money? Garb your Softail sitting in your garage or find one on craigslist of something and start building your own. Farm out what you can’t do like paint and get a couple of friends to help you with the rest. You could have a kick ass custom Softail that didn’t lok like it got hit with the random-bolt-on gun. Plan it out and stick to the plan. You’ll be riding custom in no time.