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"Baggers", September 1, 2012



WORDS: Mark Masker

PHOTO: Shooters Images

Chuck Conrick named his 2006 Street Glide “My Life.” Take a good look at the paint and you’ll see why. The images in the paint read like a movie serial of key points in his life. The course of which was charted by a motor and two wheels.

Chuck’s love for motorcycles started when he was a very young kid. Not on a dirt bike or something small. His uncle would throw a bucket on Conrick’s noggin and take him for hour-long rides near the border of Wisconsin on the back of his Ultra.

His teenage years brought rebellion but not in the way you’d think. He didn’t turn into an accountant rebelling against his biker roots. No, it was more taboo than that. He got into sport bikes.

Chuck eventually sold his crotch rockets and got back to riding hogs, though. Year after year he bought Harley iron but it wasn’t until 2008 that he got his first bagger — a brand-new Street Glide.

“Way back” in the ancient days of 2008, when the bagger craze was still a toddler, there wasn’t nearly the aftermarket support for Harley’s new touring frame that it enjoys now. Thankfully, he didn’t have to ride uphill both ways in the snow. His solution was far more practical.

See, while there wasn’t a whole lot of off-the-shelf custom parts for his new ride, there was plenty for baggers made prior. Chuck ended up replacing the 2008 with a 2006 for just that reason.

This bike was a Black Cherry Street Glide with a King Tour Pak that Chuck purchased from a friend’s father. It was in pristine condition and Chuck tells us it was actually the first Street Glide purchased from Oak Lawn Harley-Davidson.

Right after the purchase, Conrick ran into his first problem — the previous owner’s tastes. “My buddy’s father seemed to have ordered the whole entire Harley-Davidson catalog and put it on the bike,” he recalled. Luckily, or not so luckily, Chicago’s winter cold gives one plenty of down time for reflection, shaking one’s head about all the stuff one has to remove to get started, and getting down to business. Chuck Conrick spent long hours in his garage that winter stripping down his Glide, but he’s also a tad meticulous. You’d have to be to rebuild a bike three times, like he did.

Throughout the whole process, Pete Schraeger lent Chuck a helping hand. Everything on this bike, except for the paint, was completed by the two of them, down to the last bolt. Chuck said, “My main concern during this build is making sure that the bike is reliable and functional, so I can enjoy riding it as much as I enjoyed dreaming it up. I’ve learned so much over the past few years and I just continue to learn more all the time.”

Three years of Chuck’s life passed before he was done. The other years ended up in this bike too, but not in the sense of time spent on the Street Glide. The inspiration for the paint? Snap shots of different significant events in his life. It took three different shops to make that paint work happen: JP Customs out of New Lenox, Illinois, Alsip Auto in Alsip, Illinois, and Gator Customs out of Crestwood, Illinois.

Gator Customs also customized the Loud Lids with an acrylic peek-a-boo glass to show off the amplifier.

Three years of Chuck’s wife’s life flowed by while his Harley was under constant construction in their garage too. She put her two cents into My Life too. When the Conricks originally got the new 23-inch front wheel, Chuck really wanted a white wall tire but no one made a white wall for that size rim. Painting the lips of the rims white gold to match the paint was her brilliant idea.

Deciding on the wheel was pretty easy but the stereo, on the other hand, was a real time-eater. Chuck spent a whole lot of hours trying to perfect the sound and quality. In the end, if such a thing truly exists, he used an Alpine TV Radio, 600-watt Alpine amp, JL Audio 600-watt amp, Memphis Audio 6.5-inch speakers and tweeters in the front fairing, Hertz speakers in the lids, 6x9-inch Infinity speakers in the bags, and JL Audio ZR tweeters in the side panels. If that doesn’t give you enough sound, check your foot for a toe tag because you’re probably dead.

In the time since “My Life” was born (the past three years), Chuck tells us he and it have captured numerous awards, one of his greatest being the 2011 Willie G Award at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Chuck told us, “Knowing that one day when my son is older, he will be able to go see his father’s name in the Harley Davidson Museum has made all the blood, sweat, and tears worthwhile.” Having a personalized white gold Street Glide with a sound-cranking monster sound system to show for the work doesn’t suck either.

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