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Monday, May 2, 2011

Nightster Pt I, Project Beginnings

Eight or nine months ago, I started toying with the idea of getting another bike. I got bit bad by the "Bobber Bug" while at MountainFest in July, 2010, but also was thinking that an UltraGlide would be cool and more comfortable for those long distance rides. I went back and forth, from one idea to the other for a long time. And of course, the practical side of me asked why the hell I needed two motorcycles! But I've never really listened to my practical side, and I'm getting older, so I figured it was far too late to start that sort of thinking! I had to get another bike!

After wobbling back and forth about the Ultra, I kinda got away from that idea. Just too much bike for me, and I wanted a toy. The Softail Custom did a terrific job on the Southern Comfort ride last year, and it'll do it again when I decide to take off for a long one. I settled on the idea of a smaller, fun bike that I could modify/chop to make it even more fun.

So I began looking at older Ironheads and Shovelheads....even old Panheads to base a bobber on. There are lots and lots of Sportsters out there and more than a few Shovels. Panheads are less plentiful, and it's a shame to take a survivor apart. I kept coming back to a, lighter, lots of available goodies, and less expensive.

Sportys, from what I've seen, have gone from general dismissal as a girl's bike to becoming the ride of choice for some, and are the basis for a lot of kick-ass bobbers. In fact, at last year's East Coast Sturgis, Damien's 77 Ironhead, hastily thrown together in a week after being rescued from under a porch, got more attention wherever we stopped than all the damn new bikes. Peeps LOVED that green monster, though it might have been Charlie's lightning bolt paint job that caught their eye!

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my friend Angel's Panster! How's this for a kick-ass scoot! Yep, it's a Sporty with a Panhead top end. Featured in EasyRiders magazine!

Angel's Bike!

And finally, after bidding on countless eBay bikes located on another planet, calculating in costs of pickup, I started thinking about a newer bike for a starting point, maybe not going back to a rigid frame setup, but definitely shooting for Old School. I zeroed in on Harley's Nightster, looked at a couple, and found one I liked. It already had the Vance & Hines pipes I liked, the FuelPak, and was just the right color. My buds at Patriot Harley Davidson made me a deal I couldn't refuse, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The day I brought it home....

This scoot is now in my garage, and will be the starting point. I had it pin-striped and a cool "Joker" added to the tank down at OBX Bike Week. Dan Kite Pinstriping did the artwork, and it you take a look at my OBX "Home" post, you'll see more in-process pix of Dan's work on the Nightster. 

Tank artwork, by the way, was approved by my now-ex, who promised to vandalize the bike and cut me off if I got some skanky pinup babe painted on it.....Just sayin. 
Please, no howlers about that gas cap. It was OK by itself, 
but with the artwork, it's gotta go. Black one is on order from Joker Machine.

Stay tuned for more on the Nightster.....I can't wait to get started. Parts are arriving and the lift is waiting!!


PS: 4/7/2012 There are now 6 articles, Pt I-VI, here on Southern Comfort that show how the Nightster has changed. Changes are subtle, and consist mostly of bolt-ons/take offs, but the bike has come a long way and it's usually one of the eye-catchers in a parking lot full of bikes.