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Parking Lot Bike of the week
As we all know from checking out Barnett’s Magazine Online, custom Harleys come in all shapes, styles and colors from Sportsters to big wheel baggers and everything in between. It does seem like the Softail Harleys have fallen a little out of favor for custom baggers, but it wasn’t always that way. Not too long ago Softails were the go-to bike for customizing from mild to wild. Yeah, Motor Company Softails prevailed until the big front wheel became the dominant style point of the custom world.
One thing that’s surprised me quite a bit lately are the lack of custom Harley-Davidson Softails or even aftermarket frame Softails. These were once the absolute darling of ground-up builders as well as Motor Company-based builds as well as all the “custom production bike builders” like Big Dog, Titan, what have you. Somewhere along the way they just quietly disappeared from the market including Harley’s models other than the occasional Heritage Classic that I see. Baggers and bobbers have ruled the custom world with no signs of abating soon.
One thing that always blows my mind is the capability of some custom builders to turn out one beautiful custom after another especially when they’re not just formulaic builders, but imaginative artisans as well. Unlike what we all experienced watching chopper TV, custom builds do not go together in an hour. True, there are those ultimate personal moments for builders when some new idea or technique works out as good as or better than they expected. But, behind all that momentary glory there’s just a ton of hard grunt work that can seemingly go on forever including schedules that make sleep seem like the distant past and life takes a backstage to real life of finishing a project.
There are a quite a bunch of people that love looking at custom bikes, but seem to almost hate them as much. Nothing’s ever right from the color to the model of Harley it’s built around and everything in between. That’s especially the case with the trendiest of trendy big wheel custom baggers where the Internet wailing goes on about basically anything that’s been done from the wheels to the paint to how low it sits. “It can’t be ridden” is the comment that always comes up when all else fails. What if you could have your cake and eat it too on a customized Harley that’s an immediate eye catcher yet still has all the basic street goodness of a Harley-Davidson you could ride daily or across country if you felt like it. Would that interest you?
Like we’ve said many times before at Barnett’s Magazine Online, not every bike we feature is an over-the-top custom and there’s a good reason for that. A cool bike is a cool bike no matter how elaborate or not the build is. Some of us here favor the more outlandish bikes while some of us (actually, I’m only speaking for myself, but then I have an unwarranted, but high opinion of myself) favor the more traditional customized showroom models of The Motor Company. This lovely-in-white 2003 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail owned by Billy Sharp of Central City, Kentucky, is a perfect example of this mildly modified bike.
Every time I get a new (at least to me) bike, I always wonder if this one will be the forever bike I’ve dreamed of keeping or is it just another pleasant step along the way. Although I’ve dearly loved just about every bike I’ve owned, it unfortunately became time for some of them to hit the road for practical and/or new bike lust reasons. Just like most of you, I can be tempted with a different (and not necessarily new) model, color, use, whatever excuse I need at the time.
Published in Trikes, Etc.