Clyde. An All Steel Custom Bagger With Athletic Aesthetics.

TD2TD3TD4Fortunately, not all custom builders working on Baggers are obsessed with creating the one with the tallest front wheel, the loudest and most show off sound system and the craziest cartoonish paint job, sadly often screaming tacky 1 mile away.

These customization rules don’t belong and will never belong to T.D. Ward’s code of design at Rods & Rides. All the creations rolling out of his small west St Louis, MO shop, either Bobbers, Board Trackers, Choppers and now Baggers share the same finesse for lines and superb attention in the tiniest details.

The most celebrated custom motorcycles are rarely improvised as you build them and I am pretty certain that T.D. spends a lot of time thinking about what he wants to achieve before opening the first tools drawer. Simply because good design works wonders well before fab work.

This lean and elegant Bagger was built for Charlie, a commercial painter, T.D’s best friend for these last 25 years. Long friendship is probably the best foundation for a clear client to builder briefing. Not much talking during the build because they understand each other so well, except about naming the project. Charlie asked if it would look like somewhat like a Glide, to which question T.D. answered that it will be far apart from a Harley tourer the way everybody imagine it. Charlie laughed and replied, so it will be a “Clyde”…

TD6 TD55TD7bisTD7terThe crew of Rods And Rides started with a good clean platform. Their own chassis straight bent and welded from mild steel tubing. In it they craddled a rubber mounted 120″ El Bruto motor and a Delkron 6 speed FXR style transmission. Once the chassis was complete and liking to mix new and old school styles in all his builds, T.D. Ward asked Mark Evans at American Suspension to machine for him a custom air adjustable Springer type front end.

TD8TD9TD10TD11With a background in restoring classic cars, logically T.D. reveres steel and is abhorring fiberglass. After designing all sheet metal with very precise specs, he placed a special order to his good friend Don Baumunk at Fat Katz to build him a very cool gas tank and front fender. As far as the rest of the bodywork, including the wonderfully designed bags (check the custom locks), rear fender, side panels, it was all built in-house at the shop.

TD7As refined as the bodywork is, it would not be enough to create a superb machine without giving it the correct stance. Clyde rolls on a moderate – by today’s standards – 26” front wheel and a solid disc 18 x 5.5” rear Wheel. With a rear air ride, a setup making it cruising the highways like a plush tourer. Rich Phillips made sure that the seat he created on a Rods & Rides fabricated seat pan would be not only sleek but also comfortable enough for the bike purpose. Then T.D. incorporated to his project some of the best custom parts you can source in the US. Among others, an Ultima 2” narrow open belt system, Exile Cycles hand controls & grips fitted on Flanders bars on V-Twin risers, a Beehive headlight from Headwinds. For a touch of retro and originality, a military taillight and a discreet red pinstriping on a solid black ebony paint job. An 8-month job for a truly one-off made-to-ride machine grabbing attention wherever it rolls. At this game, Clyde is beating most of the other custom baggers described in my introduction… Rods & Rides. (photography @ Don Kates – Shooters Images – for Cyril Huze)

TD1Clyde By Rods & Rides by TD LLC. Specs.

26″ Front Wheel Chrome Fat Spoke
American Suspension Front Air Adjustable Springer
Fat Katz Front Smooth Fender
American Suspension Front Brake
Flanders Handlebars
Exile Hand Controls
Exile Grips
V-Twin Risers
WirePlus Speedo/Tach
Headwinds BeeHive Headlight
Midwest Ultima 120″ EVO Engine
Delkron Transmission Case
Ultima 6 Speed Gear Set
Ultima 2″ Open Belt Drive Primary
Rods & Rides Chassis
BDL Rear Brake
Solid Disc Rear Wheel 18X5.5
200/55/18 Rear Tire
Rods & Rides Steel Bags & Side Covers
Fat Katz Fuel Tank
Rich Phillips Seat On Rods & Rides Seat Pan
Military Taillight
Rods & Rides Rear Fender
Rods & Rides Rear Air Ride

32 Responses to “Clyde. An All Steel Custom Bagger With Athletic Aesthetics.”

  1. 1 Jeff Nicklus Aug 29th, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I don’t think it is any secret that I do not care much for Baggers, especially Baggers with the big front wheel, however after looking at this motorcycle all I can say is WOW! This may well be the most beautiful “Bagger” I have ever laid my eyes on, and trust me, that is saying a lot from me.

    T.D. my hat is off to you brother, great job!

    Over & Out,


  2. 2 malibu motorcycle works Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I have worked with TD for many years now , he is always improving and evolving .I am not a fan of crazy baggers, but i do appreciate good workmanship and unique detail. both of which he has here . I agree with Jeff NIcklus, it might be the best bagger i have seen to date. Keep up the good work TD, i am always excited to see your next bike !!

  3. 3 C. Brenze Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Great custom Bagger.

  4. 4 Donnie Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:36 am

    It’s elegant, it’s beautiful without excesses.

  5. 5 P. Hamilton Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:51 am

    The best part is the rear. Great fab job.

  6. 6 Dan Martinez Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Like everything about this Bagger. Only critic, would go with a 21″ or 23″ front wheel.

  7. 7 Terence Bohler Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Headlight should be painted. Except this, excellent.

  8. 8 DevilMadeMeDoIt Aug 29th, 2016 at 11:26 am

    The craftsmanship is undeniable but the aesthetics are verging on the vulgar and absurd .

  9. 9 highrpm Aug 29th, 2016 at 11:27 am

    why the i-beam downtube? why distract from the smoothness focal point of the entire bike. gorgeous handiwork. gorgeous metal craft. be nice to compare a pic with a 23″ front.

  10. 10 Brian D Aug 29th, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I think it is great.

  11. 11 BOSS HAWG Aug 29th, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Good looking machine. My two favorite colors, unique and very nice work indeed!


  12. 12 Jim Doss Aug 29th, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Not a fan baggers either usually, but this is an exceptionally well done bike. It’s one I’d like to see up close to appreciate all the workmanship.

  13. 13 Doc Robinson Aug 29th, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Jim Doss, I crawled all over this bike at Sturgis and I can reassure you that the workmanship is superb. TD of Rods & Rides also had a red bagger there which I shot for Heavy Duty magazine. The red one features a blower and has a similar aesthetic which is refreshing after all the cookie-cutter, glue on plastic parts baggers out there that are now a dime a dozen. Despite being wild in their own way the quality that TD builds into his bikes is very impressive. I note that quite a few of the regular hard-to-please guys of the comments section said good things about it.

  14. 14 dan mittag Aug 29th, 2016 at 4:17 pm


  15. 15 Dave Aug 29th, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    There’s absolutely no way this will ever be in my garage !

    …..But only because I don’t have the money !

  16. 16 Boots Aug 29th, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Not a big custom fan but this motorcycle is sharp!!

  17. 17 burnout Aug 29th, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    This is a well done long bike bagger that I imagine is rideable. No I dont know the builder. I just know cool when I see it. peace

  18. 18 Charlie Aug 29th, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    All the bikes built by TD at Rods & Rides are truly rolling works of art.
    His vision and imagination are limitless and the quality of his builds
    are unparalleled
    Thank you for building the bike of my dreams.
    I’m honored to be your friend and it’s a privilege to ride one of your

  19. 19 James just another crazy kiwi Aug 30th, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Very Nicely Built !!

    But What is it when we become so old that we customise Garbadge Wagons ?


  20. 20 Dale Aug 30th, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Great craftsmanship.

  21. 21 Cyclereckr Aug 30th, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Cartoon ugly !

  22. 22 Vince costa Aug 30th, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Very clean and very original. A stunning bike in all ways.

  23. 23 Charlie Aug 30th, 2016 at 10:02 am

    The bike is a rolling work of art.
    As cool as it looks, it rides even better.
    TD’S vision and imagination are limitless and the quality of the build is unparalleled.
    It’s an honor to call you my friend and a privilege to own one of your creations.
    Thanks for making the dream come true.

  24. 24 Matt Olsen Aug 30th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Refreshing and well thought out

  25. 25 Deckerron Aug 30th, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Not a bad looking bike in my eyes, in general, though I’ve never been a fan of the “Black Mambo” front end or “beach bars” and I’m not sure I understand the tail light? Kinda takes a way from the whole “smoothness” thing.
    The grips and controls are Excel, not Exile, though I’m sure Russell is enjoying the reference!

  26. 26 Heavy Metal Aug 30th, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Beautiful workmanship and creativity. Going to look good rolling from the trailer into the bike shows.

  27. 27 Blackmax Aug 30th, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Seen a lot of good work from T.D.Ward & his shop Rods & Rides in the magazines.
    This, however, is a cut above anything I’ve seen or read about lately !!!
    A real ridable, functional work of art
    If I could afford it, I think I’d be making a call on T.D.
    & have him take a whack at something for me !!!
    Fantastic workmanship !!!
    Great bike !!!

  28. 28 Davis Aug 30th, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Almost like 5 guys took a section and did what they wanted, not much cohesion or flow. But the best a bagger will ever look.

  29. 29 REV. JIM Aug 31st, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Beautifull bike . I guess the definition of bagger has become as convoluted as chopper and bobber these days ! when the term first appeared it referred to a bike built for touring. Fairing side bags luggage trunk . Now days all you have to do is add a pair of semi bags to the side and wa lah you got a “bagger”. . Love the bike ! But that IS NOT a bagger !

  30. 30 smithncustom Aug 31st, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    i cant wait until this trend dies

  31. 31 Mdsphoto Sep 4th, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Hmmmmmm, this bike in direct contradiction to you first paragraph. Cause this sure looks like a giant front wheel bagger to me.

  32. 32 JohnJohn Sep 4th, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Mdsphoto. By today’s standard a 26″ is a moderate size. 32″ is “giant”

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Cyril Huze