What is your definition of a “custom” motorcycle?

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by diggerwolf, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. diggerwolf

    diggerwolf New Member

    I hear a lot of folks describe their motorcycles as “custom.” A little further into a discussion and I learn they might have performed some simple “upgrade” like adding axle nut covers or some other pretty doo-dad they found online.

    To me, a bike isn’t “custom” unless it has some major craftsmanship, like a one-off frame or custom-fabricated sheet metal.

    My ride is a 1999 FLHP and looks nothing like the bone-white stocker I rolled off the dealership floor twelve years ago but I would never call it “custom.”
  2. 84FXRS

    84FXRS Member

    Thank You for making it clear for the masses.
    You see stock bikes, w some chrome, and
    custom paint ( which alone does not make a custom bike)
    and it is like someone reinvented the world.
  3. gasbag

    gasbag Active Member

    I own a Heritage, and like so many others I have added and changed things to make it mine. It's what we do with our bikes. We make them reflect our tastes.
    Whether that makes it a "custom" or not I could care less.
    I don't have the knowledge, the skills, the time or the money to completely rebuild my bike. I admire those that do but it doesn't lessen my efforts, as small as they may be, to make my bike reflect me.
  4. ProF

    ProF Junior Member

    One definition of a custom bike is one that has had five grand put into it, and will only sell for five hundred extra. If you're lucky.:D

    To me (and just my own opinion) custom means making it more comfortable...more ME. I have a "custom" seat, handlebar configuration, foot control layout. A little bling here and there, better horn, stage 1, tfi, and that's probably it. It's nothing that will fetch a better price if I sell it, but I didn't do it to increase the value to others, I did it to be more valuable to me.:Banane57:
  5. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    My main bike is a softail custom bat as it came out of the factory with the name custom attached to it perhaps it isn't a custom it has over time been adjusted and had parts changed to suit my taste and need for a wee bit more comfort

  6. bluefilhd

    bluefilhd Member

    I agree with both diggerwolf AND gasbag. My bag came off the assembly line looking just like the next guys. I changed up the exhaust and so did the next guy. It is one step to make my bike mine and his bike his and we each might add and swap out parts to get a look we want but I see them both as factory production bikes at that point. Factory bikes that we have made our own. Add paint and, to me, you now have a custom paint job, not a custom bike. I would say that when you start to modify the frame and or the tins and threrefore the look of the whole bike you're on your way to a custom beyond a doubt. But then there is also the CVO "factory customs" that I personally would categorize as true customs because they are generally radically different than the regular bikes. And I would of course say that a ground up build is almost always going to fall into the custom catergory. There's my two cents. :dknow
  7. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    This is my last bike before the RK, is this a custom? :D

    I don't think so, it still has the HD in the vin number...


    Here it is after a few thousand more bucks...

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  8. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators


    WOW!!! Too bad you couldn have kept it and just added the Road King - they would have made a stunning pair!

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2011
  9. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    If I had a bigger garage, I would have kept it.:(
  10. Porter

    Porter Junior Member

    Custom is a spectrum. Of course a "one off" is by definition custom. "Customizable" may be a better term for most.

    I wonder though...If you bought a contract built, Jesse James, West Coast Chopper original and then added a new seat, is it more custom?:p:D

    (I always liked the blue of your RK Avatar, Glider. Is that stock or custom?):D