Story & Photography by Nate "Natanic" Ullrich
From the moment I bought it, I couldn’t handle riding a “stock turd.” Hell, I’ve been photographing custom motorcycles for years, and wrenching on my own in the garage even longer, so a stock bike has no appeal to me. But, I was kinda in the market for something that I could lock up my cameras in, and wanted to keep it simple, so a full dressed bagger was outta the question, but a stripped down Road King seemed to fit the bill.
It was summer of 2005 and a local Harley dealer had a brand new plain Jane, black Road King sitting on the floor since the snow was still on the ground; so I made them an offer that they accepted. As it was, I was riding a raked and tricked out Heritage Softail, which was still a strong and reliable runner, so I rode that through out the rest of the riding season here in Iowa, while my wife had a brand new Road King at her disposal. Between her miles, loaning the bike to a friend on the way back from Sturgis, and the maybe 400 or so miles I put on it, it racked up around 4000 miles, before I tore it down the following winter to eliminate the stock bike doldrums! It was still under warranty, but I stripped the bike of all cosmetics, leaving only the motor, tranny, primary, and triple trees still attached to the frame. And I’m more concerned with reliability rather than beefing up the motor, so other than carb work and pipes, nothing really needed to be touched there anyway.
Paint was handled by my good friend Patrick; who also shaved the right front caliper to clean up the front end a bit. I picked up a spoke front wheel off a Heritage to clean up the right side of the hub and compliment the shaved fork lower. That meant that the hub I.D. also had to be honed out to accommodate the 1” axle for a bagger. I also found a cheap rear spoke. A long time friend John at Taurus Cycle in Bloomington, Illinois re-laced it with diamond spokes and then the whitewalls were added. Bob Miller of Hobby Machine in Fulton, Illinois handled the powder coating, and Black Magic Customs in Sandwich, Illinois supplied the Sampson pipes and a few other components. Sleepy’s Cycle in Low Moor, Iowa supplied the Hi-Lo air suspension and some electrical advice, while Fortune Cycle in Sterling, Illinois aided with some last minute assembly issues. Basically, after years in the magazine business, I’d made a few friends at shops around eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, and they all graciously offered their assistance!
The bike took a bit longer than anticipated; which is always the case but we ain’t running a lame ass reality TV show, so there was no real deadline anyway! I Just spent the cold winter months wrenching with friends, drinking beers, pissing off the wives while enjoying the whole process and managed to get it back on the road in the summer of 2006. It’s still basically the same to this day, just an added sissy bar and some “war wounds” from 8 years of riding, but that’s to be expected considering that I flipped 80,000 miles on the odometer on my way to work on this very morning that I’m writing this!
The brown haired voluptuous beauty is a dear friend, who’s name is Sara. Sara has modeled for me numerous times in recent years. A pin up photo-shoot that we did together a few years back is credited as being the start of my now annual calendar venture called Natanic’s Pin Ups. Sara was the cover model for the inaugural 2012 edition, and has appeared in every one of my calendars since! The calendars feature all pre-Evo bikes and a couple of traditional hot rods, so you won’t see my Road King on those pages! There’s 12 months of beautiful babes to adorn your garage walls! Calendars can be found on my web site at www.Lyfebehindbars.com and you can still find Sara’s cover calendar on our “Online Store” page of the site.
Thanks to everyone involved, and I hope you enjoy the images of Sara and my Road King as much as I enjoy taking them. See ya down the road!
“Natanic” Nate Ullrich
Owner: Nate "Natanic" Ullrich
Location: Clinton, Iowa
Year, Make & Model: 2005, Harley, Road King
Designer: Owner / Pat Jones
Fabrication: Pat Jones / Owner
Build Time: 2 months + 4 months waiting on paint
Air Cleaner: Round Evo style
Transmission: Stock 5-speed
Clutch, Primary, Final Drive & Pulleys: Stock
Exhaust: Sampson Single Side with Fishtails
Electrical: Stock / Owner
Suspension: Front - stock, Rear - Hi-Lo Air Adjustable
Front End: Right side caliper shaved, powder coated
Hand Controls: Stock
Foot Controls & Pegs: Harley
Wheels: Powder Coated, Front - Heritage spoke, Rear - Road King spoke
Tires: White wall Dunlop
Fuel Tank: Stock
Fenders: Front - Lowered, Rear - Evo Bagger
Painter: Pat Jones
Chroming: Smitty's Chrome
Powder Coating: Hobby Machine - Bobby Miller
Oil Tank & Lines: Stock
Head Light: Stock
Tail Light: Tombstone