How about some feedback?

It seems I seldom come over here to check this blog or add anything to it since finishing the first Pro-Tour ‘S’. It amazes me how many people have viewed it but haven’t left any comments – Isn’t that the reason for having a blog? To invite comments from others on the subject matter being covered? Virtually EVERY person who has sat on the Pro-Tour ‘S’ is amazed at the attributes of this converted bike, yet no one has ‘pulled the trigger’ on having one of these conversions done. There has to be a reason(s) why people aren’t latching onto this. In MY mind it makes total sense to take a hard look at this conversion.

1) Trikes are becoming quite popular with the ‘Empty Nest’ crowd. Is that purely because they’re looking for a machine that has storage capabilities, but they fear they won’t be able to hold up the nearly 900 pound machines available, so the trike seems like the ONLY alternative? This conversion weighs in UNDER 600 pounds and has almost exactly the same amount of storage space as a pair of standard FL hardbags. It has a LOW center-of-gravity.

2) The STARTING price of an FL type bagger is the END price of this converted machine – what else needs to be said?

Here’s the point of this post: I’m hoping to get some HONEST feedback from those of you who are reading this blog. I’m a big boy with very thick skin and I view comments about any of my products/work as ‘constructive criticism’ (as long as you keep it clean and don’t take ignorant personal shots at me).

So lay it on me! Is the price point still too expensive? Are you just not willing to spend that kind of money on a Sportster? Is it too futuristic? Am I focusing on the wrong market / am I not marketing it enough / what marketing tips can you give to get this in front of more people? Hit me up with comments here or email me at DOUG@DOUGZ.COM with any comments/ideas you’d be willing to share. I PROMISE all comments will be kept confidential (if you email me directly – I can’t hide comments here on the blog). I’m inviting you to hit me with everything you’ve got because I need brutal honesty to understand the likes and dislikes of this bike. You never know, you may suggest something I hadn’t thought of that I can incorporate into the ‘Generation 2 – Pro-Tour ‘S’!


Pro-Tour ‘S’ seat vs. stock FL seat comparison

Its amazing how time flys when you’re buried neck deep in projects! It been 5 months since my last post and if you’ve been keeping up with me through my website or my Dougz Custom Paint & Fabrication fan page on FaceBook you’ve got a pretty good idea why its been a while since I’ve posted anything here. Besides the fact that its cold and snowing here in Wisconsin which leaves me very little to report on the performance/ride quality/etc. with the Pro-Tour ‘S’, I’ve been extremely focused on creating some new components for other H-D models.
I’m now producing Chin fairings for the XL and Dyna models in an extremely durable ABS Composite material and I’m in the final stages of creating a ¼ fairing for the dual-headlight Dyna FatBob. As soon as that’s done I’m going to work on a mold for the FL Bagger chin fairing so I can produce that in the ABS Composite as well.
If my sales numbers are any indication of the growing popularity of the XL models, I have to believe it is one of the strongest platforms the Motor Company has right now. The XL fairings are out-selling the Dyna chins 2 to 1.
OK, lets get back to the focus of this blog – the Pro-Tour ‘S’! As I find time I’m going to post images and text that focus on separate attributes of the Pro-Tour ‘S’ – many of them will remain intact on the Generation 2 .
Being it is a topic I posted on today on Facebook the first image is an overhead shot of the Pro-Tour being compared to an overhead shot of a Road Glide. A few people have mentioned the fact that they think the clamshell looks somewhat wide, when in reality the clamshell (saddlebag) area is at least 6 inches narrower than an FL – 27 inches wide for the Pro-Tour in comparison to 33 inches on the FL. I think the reason people get that impression is because of how I shaped the seat on the Pro-Tour. It is every bit as wide as a bagger seat where your butt cheeks will rest, however I purposely tapered it down to a very narrow width at the front which makes it even easier for people with a short inseam to sit flat-footed at a stop, and in reality, none of the riders weight is supported forward of their crotch so why even have the seat shaped wide there? It only gets in the way no matter what your inseam measurement is. I think it is this narrow area that accentuates the clamshell shape and gives the impression that its wider than stock FL bags.


Life’s little curves and bumps in the road…

Being it’s been at least a year since my last post, I’m guessing those of you who’ve been checking in are wondering what’s been going on with the Pro-Tour ‘S’. Let me start with what’s been going on with me – Last September I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer and in November I had my prostate removed. After the surgery we found that there were remaining cancer cells, so I had 39 hits of radiation therapy to ‘clean up’ those remaining cells. My latest PSA test is indicating that the radiation did the trick – Thank God! I’ve always been a faithful person, and never lost faith that He would get me through this! Guys, if you’re 50 years old be sure to start having annual physicals and if your PSA results are anywhere near 4.0 don’t convince yourself “It’s nothing” – look into it further and make sure! Prostate cancer is very curable IF CAUGHT EARLY, because it’s usually a very slow moving cancer.


OK, now about the Pro-Tour ‘S’ – The powerplant in this one is 100% S&S and we had an issue with the tappets making noise once the bike was warmed up. After having my buds at S&S dig into it to figure out what was happening with it we found that the bearings at both ends of the cams were part of the culprit and were replaced with bushings. Harley uses bushings in stock XL engines as I understand it. The second thing that we found while running the bike on the dyno was that the return oil was being ‘shotgunned’ to the rear of my oil tank and although I had a single baffle in the tank the oil wasn’t aerating enough and was causing unaerated oil to return to the engine and that was getting under the tappets – making the pushrods “loose” and causing the top end noise after warm up. So to fix that I cut open the oil tank and created a baffle that forces the oil to move over quite a bit of surface area to aid in the aeration process. These two upgrades so far seem to have fixed the issue.


The whole cancer thing got me backed up about 4 months deep so I went for the first (relatively) ‘long’ ride on the bike last weekend for the annual Fall Flood Run. I put 140 miles on and I have to admit I wasn’t confident that the seat pads I created were going to be very comfortable as thin as they are, being only ½ inch thick. But to my surprise, I felt that they were quite comfy, especially for a 230 lb. hunka hunka burnin’ love that I am! I think the combination of the 3/8 inch of Impact Gel coupled with the deep seating position AND the longer wheelbase are the keys to the comfort of this bike. That being said, I believe another ½ inch of foam under the Impact Gel could improve the seat comfort even more for much longer rides – 500+ miles in one day. Also, this particular bike having a gnarly 100+Horsepower engine RIGIDLY mounted certainly isn’t what one would choose for a touring set up and even at that I couldn’t believe how comfy the bike felt at 65-75 mph – I’m really looking forward to the first time I ride a rubbermount version! Keep in mind I’m pretty spoiled in that the bike I’ve ridden since 2004 WAS a rubbermount FXR based custom bagger, so it’s not like I haven’t ridden comfortable bikes, and have nothing to compare this to.


Now, speaking of the NEXT bike… The reactions I’ve seen from the people who’ve sat on the Pro-Tour ‘S’ is 100% positive regarding the deep seat position and the low center-of-gravity. When I tell people to bring the bike up off of the kickstand, they expect it to have a heavy feel and are astounded at how easily the bike is to pull up and how light the bike feels. The thing I’ve noticed that people cringe on a bit is the price of this version of the Pro-Tour ‘S’ – so I’ve got a “Generation 2” in the works! Without going into a lot of detail Generation 2 will keep the chassis modifications but I’ll eliminate the clamshell and have a more traditional fender/separate saddlebag scheme in mind that will allow the bags to be detachable, which means for those on a tight budget OR those who would like the chassis mod WITHOUT saddlebags will have that option available to them. In other words, we can do this in ‘stages’ for people on a tight budget – and my preliminary guess is that the entire package with saddlebags and all will be about half the cost of this original Pro-Tour ‘S’ I’ve chronicled here.


Right now the bike has about 300 miles on it and I plan on adding another 1000 or so before we run out of season here UNLESS someone buys it first. I need to sell it before I can get neck deep in the Generation 2, OR if someone out there wants to be the first with a Generation 2 on the rubbermount XL platform and already has a bike to convert they’ll get a smokin’ deal for letting me use their bike during the creating process. I’m thinking around $20,000.00 for this first Pro-Tour ‘S’ is a pretty fair price when you consider the engine alone was $7000.00. Call me if you’re interested!  That’s it for now – more to come soon! Thanks all for stickin’ with me!!


post Sturgis post

The Pro-Tour ‘S’ had a great showing in Sturgis! I ran out of my tri-fold brochures late Friday afternoon despite my efforts to hand them out only to people who genuinely seemed interested in this transformation. I want to thank everyone who came by to view and sit on the bike – in the short time I was there with it, from Wednesday afternoon until Friday evening, I counted at least 240 people that experienced the feel of being ‘in the pocket’ of the Pro-Tour ‘S’.

After catching their breath from the surprise of the light weight and low center-of-gravity the two main questions were How much for the kit? and How long will you have my bike? If you look at an earlier post, I’ve priced out the individual components and their associated labor costs. With every component you see on the first Pro-Tour ‘S’ included, the grand total in parts and labor comes out to just under $14,500.00. This does not include the cost of the donor bike or paint. What you’ll get back is a complete turn-key rideable bike with all components installed with a protective coat of black epoxy primer – ready to be sanded and painted. (I’ll be happy to paint your bike as well, but I don’t include the pricing for paint in the package because of the obvious variables). Some people may choose to omit the front fender and/or the fairing, depending on their taste and budget which would reduce the price – you’ll need to look at that pricing schedule to compute what your total cost would be. Regarding the second question – “How long will I have your bike?” – currently we are looking at a 12-14 week turn-around, but I am going into my busy season with winter paint jobs and other customizing projects so if you think you want to have this transformation done in time for Spring 2012 the window of opportunity is closing rapidly as I can only fit  a certain amount of work into my schedule and when its full – its full. I’m just beginning a Pro-Tour project on a non-XL chassis which will make its debut at the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati in Feb. 2012 and only have room for a few more Pro-Tour ‘S’ conversions before I close the schedule book for winter 2011-2012. With the exposure the bike received in Sturgis I expect the winter schedule will be filled within the next few weeks. All it takes to get on my schedule for a Pro-Tour ‘S’ conversion is a phone call or email and a deposit of $500.00 – even if we can’t work out ALL the details of your project immediately (paint color-handlebar selection-footrest location-etc.) the 500 bucks locks in a spot on my schedule, and obviously goes toward the project when completed. So don’t procrastinate people!!!! Lets get you on the schedule soon or you’ll be waiting for it when everyone else is riding early next summer, and we all know how bad THAT sucks!!


The Pro-Tour ‘S’ is going to Sturgis

I’ve worked with Randy Winchel, owner of FrameLock, on a number of his bikes and I use and sell the FrameLock Motorcycle transporting device. As their advertising states, its “The safest way to transport your bike”. My belief level is so strong in this product that whenever I’m doing a frame-up build, or in the case of the Pro-Tour ‘S’ a complete transformation, I’ll automatically weld threaded bungs into the bottom frame rails for a clean attachment point for the pin bracket.

I’m excited to announce that the Pro-Tour ‘S’ will be on display in the FrameLock vendor location at 6th and Lazelle St. in Downtown Sturgis during the Blackhills Motor Classic. Randy will be set up on Friday the 5th and as much as I’d like to be there to work with him from start to finish, other commitments will keep me out of Sturgis until Wednesday the 10th. I’m leaving La Crosse early in the morning so I’ll be there by mid-afternoon on the 10th.

If you’re going to be in Sturgis be sure to stop by the FrameLock vendor location to see the Best and Only way to transport your valuable machinery, and if you want to see what it feels like to sit “in the pocket” of the Pro-Tour ‘S’ by all means SIT ON IT!!! Thats what it’ll be there for.
Hope to see many of you who’ve been following this transformation out there, and answer any questions you have!

Peace and RIDE SAFE!!


Wait, it weighs what?

Here’s your proof of weight my people. Our good friends at Alter Trading, just down the street from my shop here in the Industrial park, were kind enough to let me roll the Pro-Tour ‘S’ across their scale to see what this puppy weighs – full of gas and all lubricants – and it came in at a dead even 560 pounds. That is exactly 250 pounds less than a 2010 StreetGlide and 154 pounds less than a FatBoy. Zoom in on the image – the top left is a cropped image of the digital readout in the scalehouse window, and the top right is a printout from the scalehouse. How much MORE horsepower does a Big Twin need to make up for all that weight in order to keep pace with this bike?

A stock 1992 Sportster (which this chassis is) weighed 498 pounds, so with the changes made to transform this we picked up about 62 pounds. A little more than I expected, but certainly leaving the description “Lightweight” intact. You should expect to add that same 60 sum pounds to whatever the baseline weight is for the model/year XL we start with. One other item – I filled the bike with gas today, it wasn’t on reserve yet so I’m guessing it had about a half gallon in it, and I added 4.47 gallons to fill it ‘not quite’ to the top. So the fuel capacity of this tank is right at about 5 gallons, which is about right for gas stops on the long rides.


The Pro-Tour ‘S’ has gone viral

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I want to start showing video clips about the Pro-Tour ‘S’ and have loaded a couple on YouTube. Here’s a link to the second one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXIBPi2gf9Q

Please be patient with me on this because I’m a COMPLETE rookie at YouTube and the stuff I put up to begin with will undoubtedly be pretty amateur quality. I AM open to any and all suggestions to give everyone a better quality video, so fire suggestions at me and, if I can figure out what you’re telling me, I’ll implement it in future videos. Tell me what items/features on the Pro-Tour ‘S’ interest you and I’ll answer them in video format.

Now for a progress report on the bike itself: It LIVES!!! I did the initial warm-up cycles on the engine a couple of weeks ago, rolled it off the table and immediately realized the rear tire was very low on air. As some of you may have noticed, this bike has a two piece spun aluminum wheel out back and sometime between the mock up and painting the wheel, the silicone that served as a seal between the halves must have been disturbed and it had failed. I aired the tire up, took the bike for a short ride down the block and it felt like the bike had something holding it back – like one of the brakes was hanging up – after rolling back in the shop parking lot I shut it down and pushed it into the shop, with a whole lot of resistance! The tire was down to 5 pounds air pressure, in less than 5 minutes!

The following morning I rolled the bike back up on the table, and put a lift under it to elevate the rear tire. I then found that even with the tire elevated the rear wheel still had a TON of rolling resistance. To make an already long story short, I diagnosed what was making the rear caliper hang up, repaired that, and proceeded to dismount the rear wheel and tore it COMPLETELY apart so I could thoroughly clean and re-silicone the halves together.

Got it all put back together, and have now got about 5 miles on the bike as I took a badly needed vacation with my bride, my daughter and her boyfriend last week. I’m hoping to take it to bike night (at Rudy’s Drive-In) later this week if I get a chance to swing over to the DMV to get the registration crapola taken care of. Right now the engine feels exceptionally strong, but the lifters aren’t pumping up completely (a common issue as I understand it) so mechanically its rather noisy. I’m hoping they pump up soon because all that racket bugs the shit outta me! I’m told it can sometimes take as many as 50 miles before they start pumping up to where they’re supposed to be.

With this being a 100 inch S&S engine rigidly mounted in the 2003-earlier style chassis I’m definitely recognizing the fact that this won’t be the best platform if a client is planning on serious touring, and I expected that from the start. The 2004 and later rubbermount XL’s will be a much better platform for maximum comfort on long hauls – however this one will be absolutely KICK ASS in the performance area! You can really feel this engine and I’m looking forward to seeing how well this hotrod performs at the drag strip. It should really rip through the quarter mile with 115 rear wheel horsepower and (I’m guessing) just under 600 pounds. I’ll try to get the bike over a scale within the next couple of weeks to let everyone know what the final weight is. The other upside to having this first Pro-Tour ‘S’ built on the rigid mounted engine platform is it’ll make for a good test of the fiberglass components I’ve created here. If they hold up well on THIS bike there should NEVER be any problems with the fiberglass components on the 2004 and later rubbermount XL platform.