The frosty Midwest still needs to thaw out a bit before regular riding season returns. Yet motorcycle fever was in full swing at the recent 2014 Chicago Cycle Show.
The annual three-day event is now in its 30th season and took place last weekend at the Pheasant Run Resort and Convention Center in St. Charles. One of the main attractions was a swap meet where all manners of modern, custom and vintage chromed parts, accessories, leatherwear and motorcycle lifestyle items could be had. Vendors came from not only the local region, but as far away as Florida, California and Alabama.
Other lures for two-wheeled enthusiasts included live bands and celebrity appearances by Kim Coates and Theo Rossi, stars of FX's hit motorcycle TV show "Sons of Anarchy."
A custom motorcycle show rounded out the activities, with custom bikes scattered throughout the convention halls, displayed in the hallways and parked around the resort's garden atrium and pool. Numerous handcrafted machines were deserving of a closer look but one 2011 Harley-Davidson was simply mesmerizing.
Johnny Dodson, owner of Johnny Legend Customs in Villa Park, built the breathtaking piece of art. The foundation is a police bike he purchased in 2012. After the intense one-year build, the only component left stock was the transmission and 103-cubic-inch engine, which received custom headers to reroute the exhaust toward the front.
The bike rides on an Air Ride suspension and requires no kickstand; at rest it resides comfortably on the frame. Once actuated, it can raise a total of five inches for a more comfortable and practical ride height.
With no mufflers, room was created for the compressor and air tank, which are mounted on either side of the rear wheel on the factory muffler mounts. The custom tourer is loud but that's because of the overwhelming artillery of speakers.
The fairing holds four 6½-inch speakers and two tweeters. More are tucked away in the bags: two 6-by-9 inch speakers and two 8-inch subwoofers.
To help make room for that audio equipment, all but two gauges were removed. The rest of the engine and bike vitals are rerouted and watched via an Apple iPad Mini. Other custom features include a 2013 Honda CB1000 headlight and a genuine stingray hide inlay in the seat.