If you visit quite a few bike shows like I do, you noticed that the number of participants competing in the Bagger Class is getting bigger and bigger. To the point that in some of them the number of ultra customized baggers is larger than the number of Bobbers… After more than 20 years where custom motorcycle builders have exhausted themselves doing almost all possible modifications to embellish and improve a stock Softail Harley-davidson, the subject of all attentions is now the Harley Touring bike. Of course, it helps that Baggers are so popular with the growing motorcyclist segment of Baby Boomers, that they are bought at the dealership by those having a little bit or much more money to spend than the average biker.
Logically, these TINMK’s (Two Income No More Kids) want to personalize their long distance rides. It’s what they did before on their solo bikes and the customization fever doesn’t not necessarily disappear because you get older…Logically, they are very receptive to what a good custom builder can bring to their plush rides… Any talented young and more mature custom builder has what it takes to customize any motorcycle. And they prove it with releasing gorgeous full blown custom touring bikes made to ride…and at the same time winning the most important bike shows.
Perfect example is this 2010 Harley Road Glide rebuilt and customized by Tom Keller, owner of Florida shop Thug Cycles, and winner of all bike shows where it was ridden, the latest being 1st Place Bagger Class and Best Of Show at the Daytona Biketoberfest Rat’s Hole Show. Not a small accomplishment when facing high end radical bikes and ultra creative custom Choppers and Bobbers.
Tom Keller started tinkering with custom bikes in 1992 and after working for some well known builders around the State Of Florida started his shop in 2003. Since then he has worked on a vast range of motorcycles of very different styles, both American & Metric, a good diversified apprentice to handle the art of customizing a Bagger.
Named “Thug Glide” the brand new heavily modified Harley has kept it’s stock rubber frame but massaged to add some back bone stretch and extra neck rake. Extra power comes from the Harley/Thug 106″ Special Thug Formula where HD cases are kept but fitted with S&S Cylinders and S&S pistons for a compression ratio declared at more than 10.5:1. Air cleaner is Thug Cycles Crown Logo.
Transmission is untouched stock Harley-Davidson. Plush ride comes from a front air ride suspension with 4″ of travel. Much of the cool stance comes from a 23″ front associated to a 18″ rear wheel dressed in Avon and sourced at Performance Machine with brakes and rotors from the same manufacturer. Stretched gas tank is one-off, rear fat fender and extended bags are from Bad Dad modified by Thug Cycles. Other accessories include: Big Fatty 15 1/2″ bars, Klock Werks windshield, Ness grips, Custom Dynamics lights, HHI triple tree, Banana floorboards, Jen Solomon “Chapel Custom Seat” and a J&M 300 watts sound system. Rick Corgan sprayed the Candy Apple Red and did the graphics inspired by Thug Glide owner Ariel Dearmas’ tattoo. Thug Cycles. (photography copyright and courtesy American Bagger Magazine)