The taillight on this bagger says it all “Steel Is Real” just in case you thought this was another damn composite-customized bagger and you’re ready to click away to another page. Release your finger and take a good look at this unconventional big wheel bagger built by Misfit Industries in Addison, Texas, and tell me you’re not interested in something with more hand-built steel parts than any custom bagger has a right to have. Steel is absolutely real to Misfit’s head misfit, Chris Eder, and the rest of the crew and plastic composites, even well-built ones, are none of their business. The only gel coat you might find at Misfit Industries would be keeping someone’s snazzy doo in place.
I don’t know about you, but the latest round of big wheel Harley-Davidson Road King-inspired baggers Barnett’s Magazine Online’s been exposed to are just enough out of the norm due to the lack of flamboyant bodywork to be chopper-interesting. More like a beautiful, but tough ass pro-street bagger than a George Barris-inspired custom with acres of voluptuous bodywork everywhere you look. Stripped and ready to rock seem to be the key words for this new category of bagger. Throw in a surplus of power via a built-up Harley engine and you’ve got winner every time.
The Motor Company Twin Cam not only was treated to the 120R treatment by Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, North Carolina, but was visually updated with so many new pieces and parts that it takes on its own look. Arlen Ness was responsible for all those lovely finned engine covers that hark back to old timey Harley pieces, but with a modern twist. The restrained satin finish really adds a bit of understated class to this engine’s act while the simply wicked 2-into-1 exhaust is anything but understated in looks or sound. If somebody doesn’t know Chris is in the area by sound, they need to get to the nearest Beltone center immediately. If they had Chris’120R engine in their bike, they’d get there even sooner.
Misfit has taken a page out of Porches’ book and has heavily de-contented this Misfit Road King. You pay more to get a special Porsche model without A/C, audio or any of the modern navigational systems that have become a necessity to most people who are often stuck in freakin’ traffic. I don’t know for sure if that’s how it works at Misfit, but this bagger is devoid of any audio system (thank you Jesus), front brake, and there’s not a gauge in sight. Stripped just the way I like them, well, maybe not the brake part, but stripped clean as the proverbial whistle.
It’s all about the lines on this build and the metal work required to achieve them is flawless in finish and design. The unusually attractive, red-anodized thin-spoke wheel dominates the front end but doesn’t dominate the design. It’s held in check by sexy all-steel bodywork that quietly flows over the frame from the head tube to the tip of the rear fender. In between things like the one-off fuel tank that sits as low as you can go without being totally under the gently curving top tube or what lies aft like the Misfit rear fender and bags that you just expect to be plastic, but aren’t. You can’t help but notice the Misfit revivified version of the famous Road King headlight nacelle that brings new style to an old classic.
Make sure you check out ol’ J. Cofano’s photos to see all the detail work and the combo of one-off and Misfit catalog parts that have gone into making this custom harmoniously complete. Oh you know, things like the CNC’d Misfit Ambush floorboards, foot controls, shifter linkage, Misfit custom clutch, and amazingly cool clip-ons with Misfit-made old Euro-style reverse levers just to name a few. They all feel like they’re an important piece of the design puzzle and not something tacked on because they had to. Each element makes the other part of the whole and the beauty lies within without fighting for your attention. The more you look, the more each part makes sense to the overall design.
One particular thing I am enamored with, though, is the seat by Hix Design in Norman, Oklahoma. The design and the way it’s attached to the bike is unlike anything else I can recall as it flows over the frame and body parts like it’s holding on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so undefined in area, but a completely logical re-interpretation of a custom bagger seat. It’s just way cool in a totally different way and that’s not something you see everyday. I don’t know who was directly responsible for it, but they get my two thumbs up on that piece of kit.
If I had more thumbs, I’d give another two-thumbs up for the elegantly tasteful, yet restrained light matte gray paintjob. The soft finish blends in with the soft finish of the engine and various pieces strewn around the bike. Subdued two-tone graphic panels in a lighter gray and silver with red contrasting panels to bring home the wheel color into the rest of the build are pleasing to the eye without making you blink from eye shock. Looking directly at the rear of the bike makes me feel a bit like I’m staring at a stained glass window in a church. Maybe I am doing a bit of Misfit worshipping here as I find this build satisfying to look at on every count I can think of from conception to final execution. To Chris and the crew at Misfit Industries, it’s just what they do and why they’re so respected in the custom bagger world. Now I just have to sit and wait for the next one, but I’ll be enjoying this one for a long time to come.
For more info on what the Misfit lads are up to, visit www.misfitmademotorcycles.com/ or check out their Facebook page.
Story by Emile Berube courtesy Barnett's Magazine