FXR Fathead – Keith Cole’s Frankenstein FXR

Published In The March 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source

Article By: Milwaukee Mike Photos By: Chris Kohler

Feature 4aKerri

I know what you are all going to say: There is no such model! Well, I am here to tell you there is. It was born in the mind of a good friend of mine out in Scottsdale, AZ. His name is Keith Cole, and for those of us who know him, our lives have been raised to a better place. Keith lives by and spreads the gospel of FXR in the best way possible by building the most capable and ride-able machines I have been on in a long time.

It wasn’t until I met Keith and saw the transformation of this bike that I had him educate me in all the aspects of why the FXR is the best bike Harley-Davidson ever built. After that, I found myself looking at them in a whole new light. As I was told while researching another feature in this issue, Keith takes all that works on an FXR and goes to the next level.

Keith is a big fan of S&S, and over the past couple of years he had been using the S&S 113” Evo in most of his builds. In most parts of the world, these motors would hold up great, but it is stupid hot in Phoenix during the summer. Keith was burning up one top end per year trying to squeeze out the performance he was looking for and wanting to get some configuration that would gain him reliability as well. So, he got this idea to take his favorite chassis, an ‘82 roller he bought from a tweeker down in Tucson, and fill it with the latest and greatest H-D drivetrain which in this instance is a 2007 Twin Cam that came from a crash victim Road King.

After both pieces of the puzzle were in his possession, the mad scientist stuff really began. The starting point was the most crucial. The length of the 96” T.C. drivetrain is the same as an Evo, so it is all the in between stuff that needs to be changed to fit the different mounting between them. (You can check out how Keith accomplished this in his tech article in this issue.) It sounds simple enough, but it has to be done correctly so it still has that “feels like it is on a set of rails “ feeling. This bike is correct, and feels amazing when it goes. I put a pretty good test ride on it over the past year, about 1,500 miles on four separate occasions, and when it goes over 90 M.P.H., that’s when she really starts to shine. Some of the performance mods that were done to this bike evolved with the help of Keith’s friend Jason Emmick. Jason is a very well known drag racer and mechanic in the Chicago area where Keith originally hails from. It was with Jason’s help that Keith was able to de-inject this bike, so with the right ignition he could run an S&S Super G carb. Keith also made alterations to the kickstand so that it would be stronger. He also moved the shifter to be mid controls, pulled forward just enough so that they are in the best spot for him.

Think about it, this is a drivetrain that is made to move a nearly 900 lb. motorcycle, and then it’s packed with gear and 2 people and expected to do amazing things- -not going to happen! But now she is on a diet; even fully dressed she is at least 100 lbs. lighter, so she will move-big time! Of course when she’s stripped all the way down, that’s when she’s at her best. Keith has told me stories about running up in the mountains just north of Scottsdale and having no problems blowing past many sport bikes of all different makes. That was one of the reasons this bike is so special and different, and a shining example of why the FXR, when set up correctly, is such an engineering masterpiece.

Feature 4bKerri

For Keith, the love of all things FXR came in ‘98 when a friend of his named Kenny Lucas (RIP) strongly advised him against buying a Softail. Keith was in the market for his first Big Twin street bike and Kenny knew he would appreciate the handling edge the FXR has over the Softail. He also knew that it would fit his aggressive riding style much more than a Softail ever could.

The name of the game for this bike was to do as much of the work as he could himself, so he knew everything would be correct and that included painting it as well. The powder coating was sent out to his friend Matt over at Performance Manufacturing and he also helped out with any C&C work that needed to be done.

So what we have here is a perfect example of how when everything works, it just works. In fact, the bike was only a couple weeks old when Keith rode it solo up to Washington for a wedding, then to Banff in the Canadian Rockies, and back home. It never missed a beat or leaked a drop. To this date he has 30,000 miles on it and isn’t going to do any upgrades until something wears out. He just intends to ride the wheels off of it! Keith has now inspired me to go looking for an FXR for myself. How about you?

FXR Fathead Tech Sheet
Owner: Keith Cole
City: Scottsdale, AZ
Fabrication By: Keith Cole
Year: 1983
Model: H-D FXR
TIME: 90 Days
Year: 2007
Model: Twin Cam
Builder: H-D
Ignition: Stock
Displacement: 96”
Pistons: Stock
Heads: Stock
Cam(s): Stock
Carb: S&S G
Air Cleaner: Stock
Exhaust: Keith – Header
Primary: Keith – Modified for Mid Shift
Year: 2007
Make: H-D
Shifting: 6 Speed
Year: 1983 – Modified For ‘07-Up Twin Cam
Make: H-D
Rake: Stock
Stretch: Stock
Type: H-D FXDXT Adjustable Dampening
Builder: Medusa Cycles / Keith
Extension: Stock
Triple Trees: H-D 39mm
Front Wheel: H-D FXR
Size: 19”
Brakes: H-D
Rear Wheel: H-D Road King
Size: 16”
Brakes: Stock ‘07 H-D 4 Piston
Painter: Keith Cole
Color: Levi Candy Blue
Type: 3 Stage
Graphics: None
Chroming: None
Molding: None
Bars: Biltwell Chumps
Risers: Drag 8”
Hand Controls: Late Model H-D
Gas Tank(s): 1985 FXR
Front Fender: 1989 FXR
Rear Fender: Drag
Seat: 1992 FXR
Foot Controls: Keith – Modified H-D Dyna
Oil Tank: Yes, Two
Headlight: Works
PHotographer: Chris Kohler

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