Alloy Art’s wild Harley-Davidson Road King takes home sixth place
2020 Harley-Davidson Road King
Rider: #99 Eric Stahl
Words by Mitch Boehm, as told by Alloy Art’s Robbie Lane
Photos by Brian J. Nelson
Thunder Press: Your initial thoughts on KOTB, and why did you participate?
Robbie Lane: Rob Buydos cornered myself and Justin Mcginnis late one night wanting to know what we thought about the KOTB idea, and from that moment we were in. Ours is an industry of trends, and fortunately for us we never went down that big-wheel, parade-float-looking-bike avenue. We were building and developing performance-oriented, race-inspired bikes. All motorcycles are cool, but racing-flavored bikes are especially so, and we’ve always tried to blend those things into our designs. This idea was right in our wheelhouse, a no-brainer for us and our products.
TP: Which Harley or Indian model did you start with, and why?
RL: We went with a 2020 Harley-Davidson Road King Special. The Born Free Show and the Harley factory chose us to customize a production bike that would debut at Born Free 2020, and later be displayed at the H-D museum in Milwaukee. We figured we’d dual-purpose the build for both events.
TP: Your team’s angle going in?
RL: We design and produce parts for baggers. A main goal is to make them lighter and stronger than stock, as race-inspired designs improve the performance of a stock bike. Swingarms, frame stabilizers, motor mounts, fork legs, triple trees, subframes, etc. What better way to prove what you’ve been preaching and the parts you sell?
TP: The thinking behind your choice of rider?
RL: We originally tried a few big-name guys, either legends or current rippers, but nothing was panning out. I’d been sending Eric Stahl parts for years, as he and Tony Sollima had pioneered this whole Harleys-on-track thing, so I made a call and the rest is history. Huge bonus for us, too.
TP: What chassis modifications did you guys make, and why?
RL: Our main goal was to cut weight, but not sacrifice strength. Adding our swingarm, CNC-machined subframe, and whatever other steel parts we could replace with aluminum (motor mounts, controls, etc.), helped, as did plenty of carbon fiber.
TP: What engine modifications did you make, and why?
RL: We used a Leading Edge 129 kit for its power and innovatively cooled cylinders, along with a load of internal Feuling parts.
TP: Who was on your crew?
RL: Justin Mcginnis, Jeremy Dye, Phil Cabong, Dennis Sanchez, Brian Reeland and myself.
TP: How much (if any) pre-race testing did you do, and what did you discover?
RL: We did get some testing in, which was absolutely crucial, but not nearly as much as we needed or wanted. We were way behind on everything, truth be told, but our crew was amazing. They pulled off amazing feats to get the bike on track.
TP: Biggest surprise (or surprises) for you and your team?
RL: That the race itself was only a third of the deal! The teamwork and the effort it took in the pits was just as gnarly as the race itself. Every team had drama and issues, but rose to the occasion.
TP: How’d the weekend go? Results, problems, realizations, etc.
RL: Four gas tank changes. Three exhaust changes. Finally just settled on an off-the-shelf Bassani. We qualified 10th, and finished 6th. The bike had zero leaks, no failures, nothing fell off, and we finished all eight laps strong. We had the slowest mph on the straights, but were completely on pace in the corners. The Mullet was slow and underpowered, but we made it up in the corners the best we could.
TP: What would you have done differently if you had the chance?
RL: More track testing, and more time to properly fit the rider to the bike.
TP: Will you be part of the KOTB next year?
RL: 100% for sure! We’ve already started!
TP: Anything else you’d like to add?
RL: Rob Buydos deserves all the credit in the world for pulling this off and tapping into something with such huge potential. This was an insane team effort, and we can’t thank everyone enough who helped our grassroots team compete with some of the legends of our industry.