Here are some highlights from my visit to the Progressive International Motorcycle Show Feb. 7-9 in Rosemont.
2009 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, Dave Dupor, DD Custom Cycle, Lake Villa
Dave Dupor sought inspiration from an unlikely source for his all-American 2009 Harley-Davidson Road Glide. He fused themes and elements from German automaker Porsche.
The craftsman has owned several of the lithe and potent automobiles. "They're race-ready sportcars you can drive every day, rain or shine. They look great and have tremendous power and handling."
Dupor purchased a bone stock Harley in 2009 and set about grafting some of those sparkling qualities into the now radical two-wheeled machine. In the looks department, Dupor used actual Porsche pieces: Boxster side vents, a 993 headlight and 911 GT3 Mexico Blue paint.
Other automotive hints include deep scallops and vents on the heavily massaged bodywork, the chin-spoiler and floorboards designed after billet-aluminum foot pedals. The powertrain was heavily worked over for maximum performance.
The stock 96-cubic-centimeter engine was stroked to 106 c.c. and all 168 pieces, down to the bolts and washers, were coated in a wrinkle black finish. "Chrome has been done for years and I wanted something different."
The bike uses a "GT-style" exhaust system that incorporates dual exhaust headers. The pipes lead directly out of the center of the rear of the bike, similar to those found on, you guessed it, Porsche race cars.
A six-piston disc brake clamps down on the 26-inch front wheel. An air suspension drops the bike three inches and a 14-speaker audio system makes sure Dupor can blast his favorite tunes.
An attraction to Porsches is their usability and this transformed Harley doesn't disappoint. "It's my regular rider. I've taken it to Sturgis, S.D., (for the massive motorcycle rally) for the past three years. One year, I rode 900 miles in one day."
Learn more about Dupor's shop at ddcustomcycle.com.
Dennis Crabtree, 1941 Harley-Davidson WL, Terre Haute, Ind.
Dennis Crabtree first encountered his 1941 Harley-Davidson WL, or rather all the pieces for it, more than 35 years ago.
"I worked in a motorcycle shop and the owner kept buying different components and parts," he said.
In 2010, Crabtree gave him a call and purchased the whole lot. "All of it was in milk crates -- enough pieces to build a dozen bikes."
After spending the next two years picking through the jumble, he had his completed bike. "I had a plan from the beginning and this is exactly how I envisioned it."
The tank and fender paint colors were sourced from the colors Ford used for their interiors on 1948 and 1953 models. The brown paint on the wheels was chosen specifically to reference motorcycle heritage. "Back in the day there were no paint shops," Crabtree said. "When wheels got rusty, owners would grab a wire brush and scrape them down. Any paint they had lying around was what was painted on."
The engine is a 52 c.c. stroker and Crabtree does race the vintage bobber.
"The short wheelbase gives it a choppy and sport feel. It's super light weight and a blast to ride."
Zero S Police Motorcycle, Zero Motorcycles, Temecula, Calif.
Zero Motorcycles displayed its latest crime-fighting two-wheeler and it packs enough high-tech gadgetry to make RoboCop and the Terminator envious.
The cycle is based on the Temecula, Calif., company's consumer S model, a fully electric motorcycle. Power comes from four compact lithium-ion battery modules. A full charge requires 7.5 hours on a 110-volt plug (220 volts is optional) and delivers a 135-mile range in city riding and 70 miles at a sustained 70 mph on the highway.
Three riding modes (Eco, Sport, Custom) allow the user to select how the bike performs for specific applications. With that foundation, the police model is up-fitted with tactical gear. Such items include drop bars, LED lighting, sirens and a PA system.
A stealth mode allows a rider to operate with no lights on, allowing police to sneak up on the bad guys unnoticed. A smartphone app even lets users monitor bike vitals from hundreds of miles away.
With no fossil fuel onboard, the center tank becomes a storage unit for additional equipment. We were informed that these service bikes were already in use around the globe in places such as Bogota, Columbia, and the Hong Kong airport.
Will we be seeing these electric cruisers in use around our Windy City? Nothing is confirmed but we were told Zero had the chance to show off its product at the National Law Enforcement Academy at the College of DuPage.
Several local police agencies have already put in bids so criminals and felons, beware. For more details, visit www.zeromotorcycles.com.