"Custom Chrome Turns 40!"

WORDS: Toph Bocchiaro
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Custom Chrome and Jerry Southworth

Custom Chrome (CCI) is the worldwide distribution leader for v-twin motorcycle parts and accessories. CCI was Started in 1970 by a group of friends in San Jose, California. The initial idea was to supply (hard-to-find parts to the growing San Francisco-region biking community. By 1973 business was going well and saw the release of the first CCI catalog. Throughout the decades CCI has fueled the need for Harley aftermarket parts working with some of the most illustrious builders along the way. For 40 years Arlen Ness has supplied his parts to CCI. During the booming '90s, John Reed, Rick Doss, and Dave Perewitz were involved in designing parts for CCI, many of which are still available in the current catalog.

For CCI's 40th anniversary, CEO Holger Mohr wanted to do something special to commemorate the milestone. In a nod to CCI's past, Cole Foster was called upon to build a rigid, retro-styled chopper with a shovelhead motor. To celebrate the later half of CCI and its future, Kirk Taylor was brought in to add his flair to an '06 Street Glide. Kirk, who owns Custom Design Studios, has been around bike building (mostly sick choppers and bobbers) and CCI for many years, having pitched in on several CCI projects in the past. Kirk teamed with CCI's inhouse builder/product line manager, Rich Fulk, and started throwing around ideas for the build. They decided on a stripped-down, aggressive-looking bagger.

Once Kirk had the FLHX up on the lift at his Novato, California, shop, Mike Miller immediately tore the bike down to the frame. Once completed, one of the first things Kirk did was mock up the Custom Chrome/PYO Bagger Nation stretched gas tank and dash. The stock H-D rear fender was sent over to Kirk's fab shop where Anders ''the Boy Wonder'' went to work on molding the sheetmetal and getting it smoothed out for paint. The saddlebags were prepped for the new Radiantz LED signals and taillights. Aside from Kirk's accomplished bike building skills, the extremely humble Kirk would probably call himself a painter before anything else. Kirk shot all of the sheetmetal at his shop using DuPont Hot Hues products. He laid down the Hot Rod Black and Gloss Black basecoats before shooting the muscle-car-inspired Molten Orange Candy graphics before handing the parts off to Courtney for pinstriping. Prominently displayed on the fairing is CCI's 40th Anniversary logo. Flanking each side of the rear fender, Kirk painted 1970'' and 2010'' in a nod to the past 40 years of CCI's existence.

While the painte was drying, Mike Miller was busy giving the motor some go-fast goodies. While the top end of theTC-88 was untouched, the cams were changed out for a set of Andrews 50, and a Zippers ThunderMax autotune ECM was added in place of the stock brain. A 2-into-l Supertrapp exhaust was added to get the air out of the motor and one of Kirk's velocity stacks bolted up to the throttle body lets lots of cool air in. On the primary side of the bike, Kirk went with an open belt drive unit from BDL that features a skinny 2-inch belt.

On the front Kirk went with a clinch hot-rod-inspired RevTech Speedstar wheel. Kirk wanted to show off the wheel as much as possible so he fabricated a fork brace to take the place of the fender. Kirk also machine-turned the right fork leg to remove the caliper mount. This would allow him to run only one caliper up front and keep the right side clean. While Mike was installing the red readout Dakota Digital gauges in the fairing, Kirk was busy bending his Flat Tracker handlebars. The Boy Wonder was busy at work dechroming and depolishing the parts that weren't painted.

As the finishing touches were put on, Kirk felt a custom seat was in order. Rich called Christine and Bob Jr. at LePera to talk about a custom seat. Sketches were sent back and forth, and within two weeks the one-off seat arrived at Kirk's. It was a perfect fit for the project as Bob Jr. used a combination of black leather and suede with white stitching that complemented the pin striping. As soon as Kirk put the seat on the bike, he lowered the lift and took the bike out for its maiden voyage.

It was a hectic six weeks in which Kirk and his CDS crew tore down, rebuilt, and repainted a slick hot rod bagger. Each of the parts used in the build can be found in CCI's catalog, many of them brand-new and hot off the mill. Kirk, along with wife Lisa, stood back when it was all over and realized they accomplished their goals and had built one badass bagger that even the minimalist Kirk would be proud to ride. We agree and the great thing is that unlike 4o years ago, you are just one click or phone call away from getting all the parts you need. Happy 40th Custom Chrome!