Readers Ride: Danny D’s Custom Harley Dyna
By Eric Ellis • Photos by Mark Velazquez
With nearly 20 million people in the state of New York, it’s pretty hard to stay ahead of the curve on trends and stand apart from the masses. However, for the past 30 years, Danny D has been doing just that. While the Internet is flooded with Harley fans snapping and posting pics with smartphones to their Instagram accounts of their SoCal-style FXRs and Dynas, Danny has been scanning pics from the late-90s/early-2000s and posting pictures to his account of similar style bikes he was building 20 years ago.
Just because that style of bike has crept out of the shadows and moved more into the mainstream doesn’t mean Danny has lost his appreciation. What’s not to like about a blacked-out Dyna or FXR with tall bars, a roaring 2-into-1 pipe, and a built motor? The problem Danny ran into was he already had a bike like that in his garage, his FXR. So, in 2014, when he was looking to give his ’04 Dyna a major makeover, Danny decided to do something a little different, and even though he’s a life-long, hardcore East Coast guy, he looked to the West for inspiration.
The West Coast-style Dyna, with its flashy paint, quarter fairing, one-piece, tall moto bars, and raised stance, hadn’t quite penetrated the New York scene yet, so it gave Danny the opportunity to be one of the first to build a bike like that. It just so happened that Harley reintroduced the Dyna Low Rider at this time, and, being a fan of the original Low Rider, Danny went to New York Harley-Davidson to check it out. When he arrived at the dealership, Danny was informed he was looking at the first Low Rider to arrive in New York. As soon as Danny saw it, he knew he wanted it. “The bike didn’t even make it in the building once it came off the truck,” Danny says. “I made a deal with the salesman, gave them a deposit, and took it home a day later.”
With this Dyna, Danny wanted to build a fun and reliable bike that could handle some thrashing around the city with the boys and still draw looks wherever it went. To achieve this goal he called up his friends over at Halo Cycles, and they started
One of the things Danny liked most about the Low Rider was the dual-disc setup up front. Not satisfied with the stock calipers, he upgraded with a pair of Brembo calipers from a V-Rod. The front fork legs were retained, however, to stiffen up the front and help it react better with the improved braking, and he installed stiffer springs from Works Performance. At the rear of the bike, the stock swingarm was tossed out, and in its place Halo Cycles installed a billet aluminum unit from Roaring Toyz. A beautifully machined piece, the bulletproof swingarm was used to reduce twisting in the rear and help improve overall handling. Danny was one of the first to get one of these brand-new swingarms.
While the Dyna was on the lift at Halo, the guys pulled the final belt drive and outfitted the bike with a more robust chain-driven system with a 24-tooth main sprocket and 55-tooth rear. This setup, in conjunction with the S&S Cycle 551 cams they installed, helps give the bike more of a bite and makes it much more fun to ride without going overboard with extensive engine work.
Once the bike was back in his hands, Danny bolted up a set of 13-1/2″ Works shocks between the aluminum swingarm and frame mounts. A little bit taller than stock, the new shocks raised the back of the bike for more ground clearance, improved rebound/compression, and delivered that raised look of the West Coast-style bikes.
No respectable SoCal-style bike would be seen roaming the streets without a proper 2-into-1 exhaust. So for this project, Danny went with the OG system, a chrome Thunderheader. To help the engine draw in more air for better performance he installed an S&S/Ness high-flow filter and cover. He left the transmission alone but did beef up the clutch with a Barnett Scorpion kit.
When it came to bars for his ride, Danny chose to go with a set of Lucky Dave’s Lucky 13s. It’s a one-piece design that incorporates tall risers with a slight pullback and a moto-style handlebar. To help reduce feedback from the front end at high speeds, Danny mounted a GPR stabilizer to the top triple tree and then installed an H-D quarter fairing to solidify the look.
Once he had the bike mocked up and to his liking, Danny stripped off the tins and sent them out to Fast Eddie’s Custom Paint in Springfield, Illinois, for multiple coats of Candy Red followed by some scalloped fades, gold leaf pinstriping, flames, and a massive 718 on the right side of the gas tank to represent his stomping grounds of NYC. As soon as he got the paint back, Danny finished up with a Moto Illuminations headlight, Moons MC integrated taillight, Thrashin Supply pegs, shortened hand levers, and a H-D seat.
The project only took three months, and with his West Coast-style build Danny was able to get a leg up on the East Coast. Plus, he was able to do it with the first Low Rider to hit the New York streets, and he even utilized some parts that no one even had yet. So, yeah, you could say he was ahead of the curve on this one. Danny would like to give a shout out to Milton, Josh, Woo, Jimmy Todd, and Arcane Moto Powdercoating for the help. AIG