Lightning Rod In Gold









Steve Carr & partner Rick Bonin at Lightning Rod Motorcycles out of Tampa only use Buell or Harley-Davidson motors for reliability. They build simple custom bikes but fancy enough to look like factory concept motorcycles with a reasonable sticker price. The ones you really want in your garage just after buying one from the Harley-Davidson dealer show floor. A fine example of their work is “Oro Fundido” (Molten Gold in good English), a bike started out as a stock 2001 Buell X-1 lightning  rebuilt using a rigid Paughco frame with 35-degree rake. Stock engine was retained except for the use of 42 mm Mikuni carburetor and of a Dyna 2KI ignition. The boys did all their grinding, welding & fitting in house using fenders from Detroit Brothers, a gas tank from  Salinas Boys, a Paughco Springer front end with Young Choppers bar controls. This Buell Bobber rolls on a 40-spoke 23” front & 18” rear wheel and was painted in Pagan Gold with Pearl White by Attitude Custom Paint. Lightning Rod Motorcycles.


27 Responses to “Lightning Rod In Gold”

  1. 1 J Dec 17th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Sweet! Very clean- nice work!

  2. 2 jeff Dec 17th, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    What an amazing looking bike. Talk about taking home the trophies from Bike Nights ( not to mention the ladies). What a great classic looking head turner. I LOVE IT.

  3. 3 Flash Dec 17th, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Clean, Clean, Clean. A rideable work of art……Finally someone is getting the real meaning of these customs….We ride them………

  4. 4 Dave B. Dec 17th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Very nice.

  5. 5 harry Dec 18th, 2008 at 5:05 am

    I like seeing custom built bikes w/ sporster/buell engines myself and this one is pretty clean. Good job Lightning Rod!!!

  6. 6 Alan Dec 18th, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Very pretty design, but they filled the space between the frame downtubes with sheetmetal, completely blocking airflow. That engine is gonna fry itself.

  7. 7 Steve Dec 18th, 2008 at 2:01 pm


    Did you look at the front of the frame close? If you did, you would have seen a really trick cut out with stainless screen installed for “air flow”. This is not a race motor that runs wide open all the time, its a street bike that will never be used to its fullest. Do you think that air can flow only through the front down tubes? Does air flow not get to your back because its blocked from your belly? Maybe your passenger needs an oxygen mask because you block the air flow to that person as well. Come on man Use your head!

  8. 8 rick Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:29 am

    nice, but what did they build? it looks to me like they just bought parts from companys that BUILD bikes and the PARTs they used and assambled theres. ANYBODY WHO HAS ASSEMBLED A BIKE CAN DO THAT. also looked at ther web site much of the same every part we all can buy from the company that builds the parts we like and assemble it are THEY building or assembleing ???????

  9. 9 Dick Dec 22nd, 2008 at 5:28 pm


    Very good! I would like to see something you have built published on the worlds largest online magazine. NOBODY Builds the complete motorcycle, Who Mkaes the tires we all use? Who makes the oil we all use? Do you build your own frames? Do you make your own bearings? Do you produce your own paint? Can you build you own engine with out buying any parts that are from a past bike or that are availible in a catalog? Its people like you that are just simply not capable of seeing a bike in your head, and “Puting it together”. Your seem to know alot about bike building, Where is your list of past builds, and where is your website? Have you been on American Thunder like those guys have? Rick, I bet you dont even own a grinder do you? NO custom bikes are “assembled”, if you have ever built one you would know this, Nothing fits as a bolt on, if it does, I wouldnt ride it, Check your own back yard before you piss in some one elses……

  10. 10 rick Dec 23rd, 2008 at 10:29 am


  11. 11 rick Dec 23rd, 2008 at 10:31 am


  12. 12 Bob Jones Dec 23rd, 2008 at 3:26 pm


    Maybe you didnt read….

    “The boys did all their grinding, welding & fitting in house”, Just like any other shop does. What is your problem

    Is that not what building a bike is all about? Doing it yourself?

    I think they do a fine job, and should be commended on the bikes they build. I think you should try and build your own bike at least once and see what kind of response you get.

    Also, I saw on their webpage that the have been in several national and International magazines, How many magazines have you been featured in? Please let us all know so we can admire your work.

  13. 13 Same Williams , L.A. , CA Dec 23rd, 2008 at 3:54 pm


    It appears that you know how to use atleast one tool……..the caps lock button, or did you make your own

  14. 14 rick Dec 23rd, 2008 at 4:05 pm



  15. 15 Joe Dec 23rd, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Rick. Point # 1. To write in All Caps is the equivalent of screaming. Unlock your key if you know how to do it. 2- You never built a bike. It’s evident that you know nothing about it I even don’t want to begin an explanation. You would not understand. You fabricate the engine, the wheels the brakes, etc? The world wants to know you. You are a genius. Show us your work,

  16. 16 James Livingston Dec 23rd, 2008 at 5:51 pm


    We have to see this guy Ricks Pure craftsmanship, It appears he is the only one in the world that knows how to build a bike from scratch, such as mining his own metal, making his owns steel, making his own battery’s, I have to see the bikes this guy builds. Please Rick, Show is where to find your one of a kind creations you speak of….PLEASE!!!!!!

  17. 17 rick Dec 23rd, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    well i can see that this is not the place to to give an opinion .
    or the owners keep replying under diffent names

  18. 18 Stan Connoley, NJ Dec 23rd, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Looks like this Rick guy, really knows his stuff. I wonder if he has his own Custom Bike Consulting Business, looks like his opinion really matters here.

  19. 19 Vicki Dec 23rd, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Seriously Rick? Have you heard of Jesse James or maybe the boys over at OCC? Aha! Trumped by a girl…I know enough about engines to know they comes in a pretty package labeled S&S!

  20. 20 rick Dec 24th, 2008 at 10:48 am


  21. 21 rick Dec 24th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    jesse james my point, do you see jesse james buying frames and gas tanks no he build it thats a true builder. s&s is that the only one you know? there are quite afew more motor builders

  22. 22 Tom Boyer , Miami Florida Dec 24th, 2008 at 12:08 pm


    Does Jesse James build his own Brakes? Does he Make his own Braided steel Brake lines? What about the new Jesse James line of Battery’s? Oh theres not one, sorry. Does he make his own headlight bulbs as well?

    Rick, It appears all that he does make is the tank and frames for the most part.

    Now where does this go from here?

    Rick, From what I have seen so far, Sir you are a complete ass!

  23. 23 Duane Santee Dec 24th, 2008 at 12:12 pm


    A true builder is someone that actually builds something, no mater what or how, thats a true builder. How many bikes have you built in the past with any kind of parts at all?

  24. 24 Vicki Dec 24th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Hey Rick,

    Of course that is not the only engine I know…I was just pointing out some of the better known builders that also don’t build everything on their creations. Nor do they paint everything and several of the parts throughout their bikes come from other companies…the final outcome should still be appreciated as art and respected as their vision. Name ONE bike builder that builds/fabricates EVERYTHING on their bike? I see them and appreciate the artistry of a combined effort including those that make the parts that builders like Jesse James, OCC, etc. or in this case Lightning Bolt use to come to the final vision that so many appreciate.

    Again, what builder does put together a bike using everything he has build or fabricated? This might help me better understand.

    Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  25. 25 Steve Carr, Owner Lightning Rod MC Dec 25th, 2008 at 12:49 am

    I Want to just say, that I really like all the feedback that has come via this great oprituity that Cyril has given me and my small and up and coming company. It means the world to me that this debate over what is a custom bike or a kit bike or a bolt together bike, has taken place.

    I love all bikes, I have no opinions on others, nor does it matter what someone builds with or without his own abilities.

    I grew up in the 70s with Honda 50s and 70s, the raced for a few years on Yamaha 80’s and 100’s.
    all though the experiance was priceless, we were only good at it for a short time, maybe a couple of years, then cars came along. well, my point is,

    All people that like motorcycles, of any kind, have a Kenship, and we have to all learn that we all are in it for the same reason,

    to kick ass

    Steve Carr
    Lightning Rod Motorcycles

  26. 26 Mollie, RB, Florida Jan 5th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I just want to say personally veiwing Steve’s creations, he has a unique way of bringing together a motorcycle, truley making them a -one-of-a-kind. I have had a Harley and a Big Dog, but when I saw the completions of his creativity, I myself had to have one. Steve built me one of the most beautiful bikes I have ever owned and it went straight in Hot Bike Magazine! Knowing my background with hotrods, classics and motorcycles, they have to be perfect for me to turn my head, much less own one!

    Keep up the great work Steve, I know how much time, thought and passion you put into your bikes, it shows!

    And as far as the above “Rick”, he would feel the same if he could touch, smell and breathe the bikes you build. We are grateful you are able to put together fine equipment from other companies with owners like yourself to keep everyone sharing their passion as ONE!

    Can’t wait to see the beast completed that you are currently working on!

  27. 27 James Skinner Jan 8th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Rick,you ignorant geek;how many companies can you name that are truly vertically integrated?The very concept of a custom starts in the mind of the creator and the truly confidant talented/builder/assembler/artist will use concepts and parts from similer thinking talented like minded people to create the work of (performing art in this case)that would not have exsited before.lose weight,cool off and go help the dying automobile industry.JAMES SKINNER

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