Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money or at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe. Somewhere there’s a line we always cross investing gobs of time and money into those loveable Harley-Davidson V-twins, but that’s because we’re seeing red whenever we want to change something to make it, you know, a little more personal. That’s fine for us, but I remember some of the dealership trade-ins I wouldn’t have personally touched with a ten-foot pole. A dealer’s gotta do what a dealer’s gotta do to make a buck and try and keep the customers happy.
That’s exactly what happened with our feature bike, a 2001 XL1200C in pretty tough shape, was a trade-in at Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was time to invest some time and money and make something out of not too much. The Sporty got a ticket to ride to the custom division of Ray Price H-D ─ The Garage. The four talented inhabitants of the garage, Bruce Downs, Brad Whitfield, Jason Clement, and Brice “Bacon” Terry got to work stripping it down for a complete XR-750-style street tracker makeover and a whole new life on the show circuit. Man, that’s just like one of those stories you her about rescue dogs that get trained into movie dogs.
First thing up was straightening about the stock wheel problem as no respectable street tracker’s gonna ride around on the stock 21-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels. One of the lads came up with a real nice solution in the form of a set of rare 18-inch flanged aluminum rims from the ‘60s or ‘70s. When you’ve got a mix and match wheel, there’s only one place to turn to. Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim supplied correct stainless spokes to lace the old rim to the 2001 XL hubs and everything was looking good.
The stock belt drive stayed put, but current Harley-Davidson floating rotors were bolted on, front and rear, and the braking and looks took a turn for the better. The wheels are topped off with flat track-style aggressive tread tires that could either be the real thing or just some new adventure bike tread. I’m going with the real thing even if I’m not sure I’m looking at it. One thing that did have to change in a big way was the OEM shocks that were replaced by longer Progressive Suspension 412-series shocks to get the athletic street tracker stance.
Obviously none of the 1200C bodywork was going to cut it so off it all went to parts unknown. The Garage replaced it with an aftermarket Sportster peanut tank that begins to give off the XR-750 vibe they were going for in a coolly, custom way with a lot more air space around it now than before. Kinda sporty looking, don’t you think?. For a street tracker tail section for a Sportster, it’s a no-brainer as anyone who knows street trackers turns to Storz Performance in Azusa, California, who’s been making this stuff since time began it seems. I’ve got a good feeling that’s a Storz steering damper on the forks too. Saddlemen supplied the unusually generous seat for a street tracker, it looks like it might be comfortable. Yeah, I’ve got one of those asses that is a stickler for comfort and why not? This seat looks pretty damn acceptable to me. Same goes for the cross-braced flat track bars and mid-controls that put everything relative, ergo-wise, to one another.
The XL1200cc motor succumbed to the old cleanup and intake and exhaust mods which not only added a bit of the old power enhancement and sound, but looks as well. The Custom’s black and chrome motor package was topped off with a Screamin’ Eagle air filter in stealth black while the extrovert-only-need-apply, set of 2-into-2 pipes from SuperTrapp running up along the right side gives off XR-750 overtones loud and clear. Even if it’s on a different side than the original XR-750 flat tracker it’s based on. Hey, most people would probably guess “right side” if they were unnecessarily quizzed.
The old Evo mill puts out enough fun power combined with the weight loss to make for a sporty ride.
Originally, this bike was painted a nice bright white with only the legendary Harley #1 Stars and Stripes logo on the tank ─ shades of Evel Knievel and AMF days, but not for long. Seems this bike had found a suitor in the form of GEICO so it needed a bit more razzmatazz now that it was going to represent the gecko brand on show duty. The Garage turned to one of my favorite all time beavers, Jason Beavers of Crazy Beavers Customs in Selma, North Carolina, and let him at it. Jason doesn’t disappoint and the layers and layers of lightly ghosted designs exhudes some sort of nice faux patina set in a flat clear. Not typical show bike gloss, but I’m sure it’s a winner for The Garage and especially GEICO.
For today, the old saw that you’ve gotta spend money to make money has been demonstrated by The Garage’s Bruce, Brad, Jason and Bacon to be true. Somehow I have to think (and hope) that GEICO paid a handsome sum for this Street Tracking Sporty and everybody back at the dealership was giving each other high fives for taking the bike in trade in the first place. Meanwhile, back at the garage, the four lads are off on another project that’s sure to be as successful as this one.
For more info on The Garage at Ray Price, visit http://www.thegarageatrayprice.com/ or check ‘em out on Facebook.
For more than 30 years, Ray Price Harley-Davidson has served as the center of motorcycle culture in Raleigh, N.C., and among the Southeast’s top motorcycle dealerships. Home to Hall-of-Fame racing legend Ray Price, dealership staff have centuries of combined Harley riding experience to provide award-winning customer service and education programs for beginners-to-expert riders. Ray Price was again named a 2014 Dealernews Top 100 business, as well as a Powersports Business Power 50 Dealer. The team actively supports area charities through a wide range of philanthropy projects. Ray Price Racing won the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Top Fuel Harley Championship in 2014 and 2015.