Article by George the Painter, Photos by Missi Shoemaker
Originally published June 2019, Cycle Source Magazine
It feels good to be appreciated. As a craftsman of any type, it’s a good feeling to be able to earn your keep from your trade. Waking up in the morning to the day’s labor it’s just nice to have people chose you to do the work over all the others that they have to choose from. Being trusted to perform your duties based on a reputation is an accomplishment on its own, but when someone wants something from you because they love the craft, YOU create it’s a home run. But when a friend asks you the bases are loaded for that home run!
When Wendy Solano asked Bill Dodge of Blings Cycle fame, to craft this bike it was under those perfect circumstances. She and her old man have plenty of bikes and didn’t really ‘need’ another one, but when Wendy decided to have a custom bike built just for her, she turned to her friend Bill.
She had come to like Bill’s bikes built around his Randy Jr. frame and Blings R-9 wheels. Having been friends with Bill for a while, she decided to give the all clear and move forward with the project.
Naturally, Bill started with the requested frame with a rake of 32 degrees with only a 1” stretch in the down tubes. This is his priority frame and was the first step in achieving the stance Wendy had come to love.
A two-under 39mm front end was shaved and attached to the frame via a set of Blings Cycle narrow triple trees. An LC Fab set of risers keep the Bings bars attached. A 21 x 3.25-inch Blings R-9 wheel up front and a matching 18 x 5.5 wheel out back both shod with Avon rubber.
The bike was built for performance but above all reliability. Taking that into account Bill chose an S&S 80 cubic inch Evolution motor built by Zach Johnson. The heads were opened up a little by Zach and breaths well with the S&S Super “E” carburetor. The whole motor was then treated to a full polish, and it all gets lit with a Dyna Tech 2000i single fire ignition.
A Rivera Primo belt drive is incorporating a diaphragm style clutch and electric start. The power is fed to a Rivera Primo six-speed transmission and into a chain final drive.
The gas tank was made in house at Blings as was the fully polished hand-built aluminum oil bag.
With big ‘ol beefy Brembo brakes, front and rear actuated by the Brembo hand control and Bill made stainless foot controls mid-mounted.
The sheet metal, frame, and related components were sent to 53 Graphix for the red flake and paneled paintwork. The other brightwork is actually hand polished aluminum and stainless steel. A Stainless Exhaust was fabricated and polished a well as the air cleaner.
See those notches on the exhaust and foot pegs? They actually designate birthdays of key people in both Wendy and Bills life. An added bonus to an already sentimental build.
Wendy and her ol’ man would fly down from Boston to have the bike fitted and to see the progress. The last time they went down they brought her ol’ mans chopper and planned on riding to The BC Invitational in Tennessee. This was an event Bill put together and was the ideal destination for a ride out of Daytona. It was two days and 800 miles of flawless riding. At 70-80 all day the bike didn’t work so much as cough. The trip was a hard ride and a great way for Wendy to get used to her new pride and joy.