H-D Florida Bike Build Off | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog

H-D Florida Bike Build Off

Published on March 2, 2017 under Blog
H-D Florida Bike Build Off


It began as a simple idea from business partners Gary Bang and Preston Farrior with very modest parameters: Build a bagger and mid-sized cruiser, using 90 percent Harley Davidson parts that would be cool enough for the VP and Prez of The Florida Harley Group to enjoy riding.

Wow how a fun, little notion turned into a bold, huge event just five years later.

The Florida Harley Group invites you to its Annual Bike Build Off March 2 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Brandon Harley Davidson, located at 9841 E. Adamo Dr., where it will unveil the latest quests for art, heart, power and design during a search for the Baddest Bagger. The competition is between the five Florida Harley Group stores – Tampa, Brandon, New Port Richey, Panama City Beach, and Tallahassee Harley-Davidson.


Each store was given approximately $13,000 to customize a bagger that six judges, including Bang, Farrior and some H-D execs, will evaluate using a point system. Bang said if the audience in attendance and online at Facebook Live are loud enough, they might be able to sway the judges with some points for their favorites as well.

This year, a new twist was added to the competition – teams also had to build a cool mid-sized cruiser within a $4,000 budget.

“Times have changed,” Bang said. “Now the gloves are off. The theme is ‘Stuck in the 90s’ – custom made our way. A lot of people don’t want to do that anymore. We’re back doing custom work and it’s a great morale booster for teamwork and fun.”

Popular stunt rider Cole Freeman, a.k.a. “Lil Krazy”, of Ill Conduct stunt team, shook down a few of the bikes in with some pre-event rides to get them street ready. Since these bikes have either been pre-sold or will be for sale after the event – at prices that have topped more than $40,000 in the past – Born To Ride looks at all 10 bikes, with a primary focus on the Bad Baggers, and what went into the custom fabrications and after-market add-ons:


If you believe that rust is a way of life in the south, then the Tampa Harley-Davidson patina entry with aged paint flair is for you. The one-of-a-kind paint job from Eric Warren Artistry has been custom powder coated with a satin clear coat by Pro Coat Performance Coating.

Service manager, Ryan Logrien, said the 2017 Road King retro hot rod build was inspired by an old, lowered truck they spotted on Instagram.

“It’s a sick lil bike,” Logrien said. It turned out real nice.”

Other features include custom fenders and saddlebags, an old-school 21-inch front twisted spoke wheel and 16-inch rear twisted spoke wheel, Samson fish tail true dual exhaust system, front and rear lowering kits, touring seat, in-house custom clutch and brake levers, flamethrower kit from exhaust system and of course the obvious 16-inch fat ape hanger handlebars with chocolate brown Bitwell grips.

For its cruiser entry, team Tampa went with a Dyna S 110 with green accents in effort to make their bike look cool, fast and hot roddy.

“Our goal number one is to put out a premium product, do it in house and do it in the time frame,” Logrien said. “We took each bike down to their frames and rebuilt them in 31 days. I think it turned out great.”

TAMPA’S SMACK TALK: Logrien proudly points out that Tampa was the only shop to have both bikes done in time to meet the original soft deadline for completion (January 31) – and they didn’t start until right after the new year.


Marketing Director Josh Maloney called Harley’s decision to build a contest around a bagger build a “no brainer” because Harley-Davidson baggers are some of the most popular bikes in the world. That said, the Brandon team wanted to bring a new-look to baggers in Florida, so it erected Big Red, a sleek bike with a Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine.

The 2017 Velocity Red Street Glide is a solid effort to bring a big, tough and mean looking bagger to the local streets that isn’t seen around town every day. The 180mm front fat tire and the stretch bag offer signature sightlines for your eyes to travel, while your mind wanders elsewhere.

“I am very impressed with the due diligence some of the builders did,” Maloney said. “They are bad ass bikes and they are the star of the show.”

Team Brandon also built a sleek, black Dyna Street Bob as its cruiser entry. They made the performance more ridable while tweaking the suspension and handle bars a bit.

BRANDON’S SMACK TALK: Brandon GM Brett O’Connor and his build team have affectionately nicknamed their 2017 Velocity Red Street Glide “One Phat Bitch!”


Service Manager Don McCadden knows you will immediately either love or hate the gray color. Either way, this bagger was inspired from social media images and built using all Harley-Davidson parts to mirror the strength and power of a Naval destroyer with a nod to the new Milwaukee-Eight 114 Stage III engine kit.

“The bagger market is going toward the big front wheel, air ride, super charger oriented,” McCadden said. “We wanted to get back to the roots of performance-oriented, purpose build.”

The bike features 3-way front and rear suspension so you can dial in to how you ride and your riding style along with front forks tied to performance.

Team New Port Richey, which has a victory and a second-place finish to its credit in this event, went with all after-market parts for its 2017 Soft Tail Heritage cruiser build. They wanted a West Coast, California dreaming, Chula style, theme so they stripped the heritage off (no bags, no windshield, etc.) and added 21-inch spoke wheels, fishtail exhaust and ape hangers.

“The key to winning is getting people excited about what you’re doing,” McCadden said. “This helps showcase what we can do as a service department.”

NEW PORT RICHEY’S SMACK TALK: McCadden wants you to know their bike is a Naval destroyer for a reason (and it’s not just because that’s the name of the paint color). “It destroys the competition!” he said.


When service manager Scott Korol and his build crew started mockups in December, he wanted to bring his dream Harley bagger to life.

This is his third entry into the competition and he helped lead his team to victory last year with a Road King, so he knows the secret to success.

“Time and attention to detail,” Korol said. “It’s all about the bagger. The baddest of the bad.”

Team PCB is bringing a Milwaukee-Eight FXRT which is popular on the West Coast.

“I myself am a fan,” Korol said. “With the new motor, it runs smoother and is more powerful. It’s what I would want (Harley) to make.”

The crew started with a Road Glide base and threw away a lot. Korol likes the boom audio system and the wide rear tire that lets the rubber grab the road.

For the cruiser build, most entries in this competition are either Dyna low hot rods or low rider deluxe Heritage bikes – which is what they are doing. So look for the ape hangers, fish tail pipes and big spoke wheels.

PANAMA CITY BEACH’S SMACK TALK: Being the proud, defending champions of this competition speaks for itself.


A touch of patriotism is something anybody can roll with, so don’t be afraid of this old Road King built around military pride. In fact, you can invite a friend to ride along because this bike is complete with gun and side car.

GM Tate McNutt said his Tally team worked three weeks straight of regular work followed by overtime to balance the regular days’ workloads with this extracurricular challenge. The result is a bagger that mimic’s an old-school flavor without using any bolt on parts – it’s all custom fabrication.

“It’s something you can’t see in magazines or online,” McNutt said.

For the cruiser, the crew from the state capital went with an old Dyna orange and checkered flat track racer flavor.

TALLAHASSEE’S SMACK TALK: “We are going to win hands down,” said GM Tate McNutt. Period. Exclamation point!

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