Looks Can Be Deceiving
You never take anything for granted in the world of Harley-Davidsons especially when it comes to mildly modified Motor Company customs. With two basic platforms for the big twins, if the specific model you started out with isn’t quite cutting the mustard you have two choices. One is easy and just involves money and one is harder and involves time and money. The former involves trading it in and getting what you think you want and the latter is taking the somewhat universal H-D platforms and making it into what you want.
Yes, there is a common denominator there and it’s money, but what angle you choose to solve your apparent dilemma could affect how much money you have to spend in the first place. There’s also something involved that is completely emotional like actually being attached to your bike. People do bond with their bikes and trading it in is not on their radar. Their bike is their Harley and they both know it. That’s pretty much the story here with our feature bike of the day belonging to Lisa «Skippy» Nauditt of Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
So it’s two paragraphs in and I haven’t mentioned what model this Harley is, something must be up with that Heritage you’re thinking. Well you’d be correct on that one as it’s not officially a Heritage Softail Classic like you might expect. Lisa started out with a 2012 Harley Softail Slim FLS which was Harley’s stripped down, blacked-out, punch-in-the-face to wannabe contenders from other manufacturers. Personally I find it a very appealing machine in its somewhat harsh, solo-seat simplicity, but then I am a Softail freak for reasons I would never be able to explain.
Getting back to Lisa, that’s what she got to ride the pants off and she did ─ plain and simple. I should also mention that Lisa likes to ride far, very far with her husband Jeff alongside her, not in front of her. I think it’s safe to surmise then that’s when the plan came up to customize it to her needs and to bridge the emotional gap to her other passion ─ horses (notice the graphics). By the way, no Harleys or horses were hurt during the makeover.
With a plan to not only make it more personal, but more touring oriented, Lisa’s changes make a lot of sense. A full coverage, Heritage-style front fender replaced the slim one on the Slim and that was augmented by the quick-release windshield, saddle bags with a look of old OEM Indian, and a luggage rack mounted behind the custom saddle and rider backrest. Oh, and don’t forget the crash bar as things are going to be loaded down and it also gives Lisa a place to move her feet around on long days on the road. Plus there’s now an audio system onboard for those long days on the straightaways and a switch to Harley’s Daymaker Projector LED headlamp sure makes night riding safer and more fun. All good things to make hitting the road and staying on it for weeks on end just that much easier for Lisa including a three-week cross country ride just for fun.
Making it personal involved a 180-degre turn in aesthetics from factory delivered. The black rims were replaced with shiny chrome rims wearing wide whites and that alone was a major Softail Slim styling change. Same goes the black handlebar that’s been replaced by a chrome piece also. All of that stuff is well and good, but you have to admit the heavy metal flake red paint that could shame a bass boat for being not metal-flaky enough grabs your eyeballs and holds them. That’s what metal flake does even to people who begrudgingly say they don’t like metal flake finishes. They still look at it. They can’t help themselves.
There are lots of little personal Lisa touches that probably mimic a lot of what you’ve done to your Harley like floorboard inserts, chromed-out controls, and a little exhaust and intake work on the already capable TC 103. What’s important is that Lisa got what she wanted and her attachment to her Harley was just as strong, okay maybe almost as strong, as her attraction to her beloved horses.
Harley model interchangeability made this possible and Lisa was smart enough to take advantage of it. Besides, you don’t just get rid of an old friend because you’re tired of them. Horse lovers are never quick to put anything out to pasture and the horse/Harley lover inside Lisa would have none of it. Remember, this was Lisa’s Harley and it always will be.
Written by Story By Peter LaFrance Photos By Jack «What You See Is What You Get» Cofano