Big-Wheel Softail meets Proven Performance Bagger
Performance Bagger is currently the hot phrase in the world of Harley-Davidsons. The obvious starting point is a late model Bagger. At the top of the to-do list for most owners and builders is the hop-up of the motor. Next comes the suspension; out goes the fork assembly, replaced with an upside-down assembly from Ohlins. Same applies to the rear shocks. The driveline comes in for improvement as well – it all depends on how much motor the driveline has to handle. The one thing that most of the owner/builders leave alone is the sheet metal and paint.
On the other side of the street there are builders like Kory Souza from Florida. Kory is a well-known builder of big-wheel Softails equipped with air suspension, ape-hanger bars, tail-dragger rear fender, and the essential front wheel measuring 26 inches or more. There’s one more essential feature of every Kory bike – the killer paint job.
Now, only a crazy person would try to blend the two very different machines – to build what you might call a hybrid. But that’s exactly what Brock Davidson from Brock’s Performance and Kory Souza decided to do.
Big-Wheel Softail Carbon Fiber Wheels
“I’ve encouraged Performance Bagger builders to use our BST carbon fiber motorcycle wheels,” explains Brock. “and a number of builders did install the carbon wheels on their project Baggers. The bikes they built are great machines, and fast, but they all look pretty much the same. Partly because they don’t paint them, or if they did they painted them in factory colors. So, I took my idea to Kory Souza, a bike builder best known for elegant and bright big-wheel Softails. I wanted something that would stand out from all the other bikes in a crowded parking lot.”
“Brock and I met on a ride,” says Kory. “We started to talk and Brock said he really liked the way the big-wheel Softails draw a crowd. He wondered if I could build a performance bike, with his wheels and a great paint job. I explained to Brock that I would like to build him a bike. A fast bike, but I wanted to keep my look. And to do that I would have to keep the 26, the big front wheel.”
A 2014 Fat Boy was chosen as the foundation for the new build. For the go-fast part of the equation, Kory bought a 110 inch Screamin Eagle Twin Cam motor. By the time the V-Twin was ready for installation, it was displacing 120 cubic inches and turning the same number of horses on the dyno.
Before assembly, the heads, cylinders and cases were powder coated to match the frame, while covers on both sides were sent out to be coated in a light tan Cerakote treatment. To make sure the drivetrain would stand up to the Twin Cam, Kory and crew installed a set of Baker gears, a Trask Red-Basket with lock-up clutch, and chain drive to the rear wheel.
To get what he calls “the look,” Kory started at the front of the chassis. When all the cutting and fabrication was finished, the neck was two inches out and another two inches up. The neck itself was set at 35 degrees. The triple trees from HHI added another 9 degrees to the total rake of the conventional fork tubes.
For rear suspension, Kory threw out the stock swingarm and shocks. “We drew up a swingarm on the computer, two inches wider than stock,” explains Kory. “The design uses two shocks mounted in the more typical location with one on each side supporting the swingarm. The arm itself was cut on a CNC machine from a solid block of aluminum.”
As promised, Kory used a 26-inch BST front wheel, a pre-preg carbon fiber piece 3.5 inches wide wrapped in a 120/50 tire. In back, Kory took full advantage of the one-off extra-wide swingarm by mounting another of Brock’s BST Torque Tek carbon fiber motorcycle wheels, this one measuring 18X5.5 inches mated to a meaty Pirelli Night Draggon 190/50 tire.
Big-Wheel Softail Exhaust
The newly released Penta-Carbon custom exhaust system by Brock’s Performance is another detail that can not be overlooked in this big-wheel Softail build. The Penta-Carbon Stainless Steel Full Exhaust System features a beautiful five-sided carbon fiber endcap available in gloss or matte finishes to match your BST carbon fiber wheels.
While Kory and crew were fabricating and assembling, painter Ryan Hathaway was busy in his paint booth. First came the frame and chassis components, painted a bright magenta. The sheet metal came next. At first glance it looks like the sheet metal is painted black, decorated with too many crazy graphics to count. Look closer however, and you see the magenta flakes throughout. It is, as Kory promised, a crazy paint job.
Kory Souza has likely built and ridden as many big-wheel Softails as anyone. So, he knew exactly what to expect on those first road tests. “But this bike felt way different,” recalls Kory. “It’s those wheels. With typical wheels, when you lean it turns. With the Carbon Fiber wheels, the reaction is so much faster. All you have to do is look, and it turns.”
“Brock warned me, but I was definitely surprised. He explained that every pound you remove from rotating mass is the equivalent of removing 5-7 pounds from the weight of the bike. So, with a big-wheel bike, you might be taking 40 pounds off the front wheel, or roughly the dynamic equivalent to removing 200 pounds off of the weight of the bike. The other thing I noticed is the effect of the World Wide Bearings ceramic wheel bearings, the bike just rolls so easy, it’s like there’s no friction at all. I started out on sport bikes, and I never thought a big-wheel Softail could possibly feel like a sportbike, but this one does.”
Big-Wheel Softail by Kory Souza Originals
We work closely with our clients to devise a plan that fits their budget and style. Clients generally look to Kory for his keen sense of design, which is incorporated into every project. We are fair with our prices and take pride in our work. Last but certainly not least – we build bikes to RIDE. Kory Souza Originals bikes prefer life outside the trailer. Learn more about Kory Souza Originals and this big-wheel softail at www.korysouzaoriginals.com