Murray Baxter does his own thing his own way, and his motorcycle proves it. When shovelheads with no front brake, a Bates seat and metal flake paint were are all the rage, Murray built a softail S&S Evo with no rear stoppers and a flat Van Halen paintjob. Original thinking like that is why Murray's bike looks so good despite having a parts list that sounds less than desirable. If you go to events in California you've undoubtedly seen this dirty slut (the bike, not Murray!) hanging out as far away from the bike show as possible.
I asked Murray to explain why he chose a softy and what he's done to run that fender and sissy bar combo like that. Here's what he had to say:
My little metal worker wife and I made the sissy and strut combo. The tall bar can be taken on and off super easy without removing the fender strap. The rear fender is welded to the triangle swingarm and moves with the wheel. The whole set-up only gets about a half-inch of travel because I cranked it down and lowered it quite a bit. I have always run a rigid-mounted seat so the bike feels like a rigid. Let's face it: Softails are not something you seek out and build. I'm building another motorcycle right now that has a rigid frame. Lighter, simpler looking and cheap. This is a motorcycle I've had since 2003. It started as a Big Mike's Chopper that I got a screaming deal on new. On the first day I went in the garage and sanded off the glossy flame paint job and rattled it black. The only thing left from that original thing is the front section of the frame. Over the years I've replaced everything: the motor, tranny, wheels, front end, switched to chain drive, belt clutch, suicide shifter, brake, mid controls, seat, fender, gastank, pipes, lights, you name it.
I wanted to see if I could make a Softail look good. I think I achieved it. I don't subscribe to trends with anything. Never have and never will, including my motorcycle dreams. Don't get me wrong—I love old iron and the history and the real worn-in neat stuff. That's why I call her the Slutty Softail. She's hot, but a little rough around the edges, and I admit slightly out of style. But I don't give a fuck. She rides great despite all the claims of bad handling. Of course if my goal was an awesome handling bike I would have a Ducati touring sport motorcycle or something.
Owner: Murray Baxter
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Bike name: VH2: The Slutty Softail
Engine: '03 S&S 113 c.i.
Fork: Narrowglide. I shaved her legs. The bushy hair never grew back. It's amazing!
Tire/wheel size and style: Shinkos: 5.00/16 Classic & 3.00/21 Trials
Favorite thing about this bike: She runs killer
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Original German WWII dress bayonet. AfterHours Titmouse taillight, Benchmark Evo breathers, FMA velo stack, La Briola suicide, Baxter grips, Baxter clamp, custom old seat, custom sissy bar/fender strut combo, custom bars, custom mids
Any building or riding story or info: Cross Country in seven 400-mile days consecutively in the rain