Fads Come and Go
“No matter what anyone says, chrome and flames are here to stay.”
They say that custom motorcycles are a lot like their owners. That’s not meant to be taken too literally. I doubt our new friend Dusty “Dawg” Pine of Indiana is green and has ape-like arms. Then again, I’ve never met the guy. Dusty’s bike tells us that fads aren’t his thing and that he cares about detail and fine body work. Anyone who comes in contact with this 2006 Sportster can tell one thing immediately about Dusty: he built this bike because it’s what he wanted and had nothing to do with fads or what’s cool or not. For example, when everything Harley seems to be getting blacker and blacker, Dusty went chrome.
“I’ve had guys say chrome is out of style, but to me nothing says Harley more than a lot of chrome.”
Getting back to Dusty’s story, this is his first Harley-Davidson. He’s no newb when it comes to riding and wrenching though. He’s owned a variety of crotch rockets and metric cruisers over the years, and has worked on cars his whole life, being a paint and body guy by trade. This would be his first attempt at owning and customizing a Harley. Considering what he does for a living, the tins and paint would have to be what really sets this Sporty apart from all the others. ”I realized that it takes a lot to make a Sportster stand out in the crowd when it comes to bike shows and events,” Dusty says.
“I didn’t want a finish that someone could take a photo with their smart phone and duplicate it.”
Working out of his one-and-half-car garage affectionately named Dawg’s Chop Shop by his buddies, Dusty Dawg dug deep into his bone-stock 883 Sportster. He originally just started with basic upgrades like a Vance & Hines Straightshot exhaust, Screamin’ Eagle air cleaner, and a rejet of the carb. That’s it for engine mods. Because Dusty’s bike was meant to be a rider dependability was a huge factor.
Being a professional painter at a Ford dealership, the best parts of the bike would have to be the tins, which took 80 hours to complete. The first goal with the tank, side covers, and fenders was to create something that would leave people guessing and hopefully arouse some curiosity.
”The whole idea (behind the paint job) is to make it appear that it’s part of the metal, not just stuck on top,” Dusty says. “A lot of people will come up to it and assume it’s airbrushed ghost flames.”
Mission accomplished there, but it wasn’t an easy task. Right on his living room
floor, Dusty started with a metal-reinforced easy-sanding filler then layered
on a heavy build primer then went back and forth between sanding and
“I didn’t have fingerprints for awhile. It would’ve been a good time to rob a bank!”
The other major work done on the bike was the wheel and tire out back. While keeping the stock swingarm, brake caliper mount, and everything else, Dusty’s friend Charlie mounted a 5.50 V-Rod wheel with a 180 tire underneath the stock fender. And how could you not have noticed the massive 16″ Burly ape-hangers swinging from the front end. To do this, he had to dump the stock riser system in
favor of a 2″ setup from a ’90s Sportster. Along with that upgrade came
stainless braided cables, chrome controls and grips, and Dusty learning the fine art of internal wiring.
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Those most certainly are passenger pegs that get used along with a two-up seat when Dusty and his girlfriend go for rides. The only deceptions on the bike are the 9-1/2″ Perse hardtail struts
that are designed to look like gas shocks.
Getting back to all that chrome, Dusty still gets comments at bike nights. The most recent was “young kid” in his early 20s who walked up to the bike and asked Dusty if anyone had ever told him that chrome is out of style. “How do you respond to that!?” Dusty laughs.
“This young kid, he’s got his fancy, wind tunnel tested, three coats of clear on his hair, (and) a brand new Harley jacket that he paid $350 for. And (he) thinks he’s cool with a temporary tag on his Sportster, and he’s gonna tell me what’s cool and ’what’s not cool?!”
Before You Go!
Keep in mind it is important to ensure that you travel with your motorcycle with safety. Always make sure you always wear genuine carbon fiber helmets.