The Red Phone’s Ringing

Written by  Story By Tyler Durden Photos By Jack “Movie Editor” Cofano Thursday, 02 November 2017 15:09
Published in Modified Stockers
  Sitting in my office innocently staring out the window at nothing in particular I’m lost in motorcycle thought. The soundtrack of a rumbling Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight 117 engine running through my head from a recent ride to nowhere in particular keeps me entertained until the red phone ringing brought me back to earth in an instant. It’s a direct line to the 32nd floor office of Barnett Harley-Davidson’s General Manager Mark Barnett. Nervously picking up the phone, I immediately hear, “I want more mildly-modified Harleys!” followed by a click and a dial tone. The boss has spoken.

    So, that’s exactly what we’ve got here with this lightly, yet tastefully modified 2015 Harley Breakout that looks great and still has all its basic Breakout DNA intact. No matter what, this bike built by Hank Thibodeau is also a great showcase for his custom exhausts and intake systems he sells through his company, Widowmaker Custom Design & Repair in Rougemont, North Carolina. The only parts harmed in the build of this bike could easily be replaced like nothing ever happened. That’s exactly what makes it a cool ride and why Mr. Barnett was so short and sweet. Other than getting the required amount of dough needed to customize a fairly new bike someone’s probably still making monthly payments to Harley Credit, it was a pretty quick build as far as hours go.

    One of the big reasons, no make that the biggest reason, this bike wouldn’t take too long to duplicate (in your own way, of course) is that it’s still wearing the stock paint. As in a stock paint set, completely stock, with no pinstriping or graphics added, nothing. Fortunately it’s not a bad paintjob as is and even the tank badging’s okay so that saves a lot of work, money and heartache right there. There does appear to be a bit of black powder coating on the rear fender stays that actually looks better than the original chrome to me anyway. The stock chrome stay looked kinda lonely in all the dark going’s on.

    Unless my eyes are fooling me (and they often do), the stock 2015 black ten-spoke mags have been swapped out for a much cooler set of 22-spoke contrast-cut wheels off a 2017 Breakout. Here’s a version of all-in-the-family that’s still fresh and probably a pair of relatively inexpensive take-offs that looks great. Maybe I feel that way as I really like the current Breakout wheels and am not embarrasses to admit I do.

   Stock brakes still rule, but they are surprisingly one of the first things you notice. It’s their bright red caliper finish jumping out like a caliper peeking from behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Other red bits like the heads, spark plug wires, rear sprocket pulley and detailing on the custom foot controls join in the fun adding pops of bright color to an otherwise dark finish. Oh, and I can’t forget the red stitching on what I suspect to be the always spectacular work of Butch Watson of HighRollers Seats in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Maybe you remember me casually mentioning this bike being a model of sorts. No, not a runway type, but a spokes-model for Widowmaker CD&R’s custom exhausts and intake systems. And, yes, I did say spokes-model as both brutal, yet efficient systems do their damndest to amp up the sound and performance to even more fun levels on the stock 103 engine. For what type of bike the Breakout is even though is it pushed as Harley’s drag-style bike, the end result of that loud mouth exhaust seemingly modeled after early hot rods is as Roll-Royce used to say about its horsepower rating, “More than adequate.”

   So, if this is what mildly modern Harley-Davidsons are all about, I say bring ‘em on and we’ll feature them. It’s important to keep calls from the 32nd floor about only going to lunch.

   For more info on Widowmaker Custom Design & Research, visit

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