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Readers Ride: A Car Mechanic Builds a Bagger

Custom Motorcycle Feature Readers Ride

Readers Ride: A Car Mechanic Builds a Bagger


There’s no way Gordon Overturf would ever do to a car what he later did to this 2010 Road Glide Custom (customize it in his 32’ x 32’ garage). But not because he can’t (i.e. he’s been a car mechanic for 27 years). It’s because he’s been a car mechanic for 27 years.

“I have a rule of thumb,” Gordon says. “I won’t work on cars at home
because I work on them all day.” Luckily, motorcycles are nothing like cars; they’re easier to customize, especially since this bagger was in rough shape when he found it. “The bags looked like somebody cut big circles into the top of the lids and put a car speaker inside,” Gordon remembers. “When it rained, water would get into the bags.” (Gordon later installed a Kenwood head unit, Garcia amp, and Hogtunes speakers.)

He continues, “The owner must’ve also ridden wheelies and bottomed-up. The front looks like it came down real hard.” But the frame, engine, and drivetrain were functionable, so Gordon just had to figure out how to get the bike home because he’d found it online in New York and the bike was in Florida. He ended up calling the owner to get it shipped up north. “I have a friend who lives about 10 minutes from the seller, so my buddy looked at it, and I bought it over the phone,” he says.

Luckily, Gordon found a kit with replacements for every part that fell victim to wheelies, lid cutting, and rain. But he’s really lucky to have gotten anything. The manufacturer was notorious for charging for parts but never shipping them (which is probably why they’re out of business). Unsurprisingly, the components needed fiberglass work. “It was my first time messing with fiberglass, so a local parts store coached me,” Gordon says. It would also be his first time painting, so the store printed him the required temperature and humidity levels. “I had to be a chemist for a couple weeks,” Gordon adds.

Gordon also became an “architect.” He “built” a paint booth by hanging tarps from his garage’s overhead doors to contain the dust when applying the tri-coat, a process that claimed the lives of two Harbor Freight gravity spray guns. Luckily, each gun was just $14.95. 

Gordon also installed a Chubby handlebar, D&D exhaust, Screamin’ Eagle brake, and Vance & Hines tuner, but had a friend fabricate a longer stud to screw the rear seat to his fiberglass fender.

Some engineer friends might also convert the air ride into a hydraulic coil-over shock. See, the bike is ridable (which is why Gordon only installed a 21-incher) just not for long distances. We caught Gordon the day before he rode out to California with some buddies. Gordon is riding his 2013 Road Glide Ultra, not the Custom. “It’s just not a bike you can take cross-country and say, ‘That was fine. I’m good,’” he says.

At least she’s no trailer queen! GB 419

*Want the spotlight shining on your home-built bike in our upcoming issue of American Iron Garage? Well, now is your chance! Send photos of your custom build to Letters@AmericanIronMag.com , preferably before-and-after photos, be it complete or under construction. It might just land in the Letters section of American Iron Garage and be featured here online as a Readers Ride.

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