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2007 V-Twin Expo
What I found at the 2007 V-Twin Expo was a bit of a shift in the custom bikes at the show. It seemed at one time that the stretched, raked-out, fat-tired monsters ruled the scene. At this show I observed what appeared to be a subtle shift to more practical -- but nonetheless spectacular -- machinery. There were plenty of bobbers/board racer and custom bobbers being produced by just about everyone. Roland Sands, in particular, had some really nice machinery there that melded that custom style with his racer background.
Stortz Performance was there with their new line of street-tracker parts for the newest Sportster model. Excellent stuff! I also noticed a few metric cruisers that had sneaked into the landscape. I'll bet that wouldn't have happened five years ago, but there is an emerging metric custom market that is starting to pick up steam.
I also noticed how the small-time aftermarket drives the "corporations." An example is the Baker Drivetrain Company. Burt Baker was a GM engineer in 1997, but he had the bright idea of making a six-speed transmission overdrive transmission for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Baker had huge success with his transmissions, and more recently with his other drive-train products. So much so, that I think it drove The Motor Company to come out with a six-speed a bit sooner than they would have on their own. Don Crafts -- who also attended the show with me -- and I had the pleasure of attending a one hour seminar by Baker, where he explained transmission theory, the engineering behind his product, how his products differ from Harley-Davidson, and the future of transmissions. The seminar was informative and entertaining; and I learned much from a guy that basically started in his basement to become the standard in aftermarket transmissions. His company is the embodiment of The American Dream. He saw it, and now he's living it.
It was really nice seeing old time manufacturers like Durfee, a company that has been making girder front ends since the 1960's, still in the mix. I met Mike Corbin of Corbin seats fame. Really nice guy. I have had one of his seats on almost every one of my bikes for the last ten years. Lots of performance manufacturers, such as S&S, Axtell, Zippers, and Andrews, just to name a few were in attendance. Pro Charger was also there with their line of inter-cooled superchargers for Harleys. They claim 100hp at the rear wheel at ten pounds of boost on pump gas with a stock Twin-Cam. Not bad, eh? There was so much to see, and so many ideas came to mind while checking all of it out, that my head started to hurt...especially since I knew it was 10 below zero back in Chicago. That made my head hurt even more.
Take it or leave it, that's my thumbnail sketch of the 2007 V-Twin Expo. Lots of customs for those that can't build their own, and plenty of parts for those that want to build their dream bike. Heck, I even sneaked in shots of a couple Shovel bobbers for Sarnali and Seruzawa. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. There was little at the show that wasn't available for the V-Twin enthusiast. I figure I spent roughly one million bucks in my head already. My '01 Geezer-Glide is sitting in the cold waiting for a face-lift. Let's see, big bore kit, cams, six-speed trans, exhaust, new sound system...
Man, my wife is going to kill me!