Tucker’s Johnson diving right into Harley mode
By Dave McMahon
Steve Johnson doesn’t have to wonder what it’s like to ride a Harley-Davidson anymore.
In synch with Tucker Rocky Distributing’s revamping of the Biker’s Choice line for American V-twins, Johnson was glad to show off his newly overhauled 2010 Harley-Davidson Road Glide at the Tucker dealer show in Frisco, Texas.
The fully tricked out bike had Johnson grinning ear-to-ear as he talked to dealers making their way through the show.
“I knew I was going to do something with the bike, but I didn’t know it was going to be this good — no way!” said Johnson, president and COO of Tucker Rocky Distributing.
Prior to his purchase of the bike in July 2010 — he drove it from Florida to his home in Texas — Johnson had spent many a mile on metric bikes, mostly Gold Wings. But he wanted to ratchet up the handling and performance on the Harley.
“We’ve just had a lot of fun with this bike,” he said. “The Harley market is so big, huge. Guys who own Harleys all want to do something with them — make them there own, increase the performance of the motor, add chrome parts and other things. We’re going to be doing some other things, probably putting some other parts on it. It’s close to where I want it to be, and now I’ve got to go ride.”
Johnson has been able to ride his newfound joy a few times, and well, let’s just say the performance is no joke, especially in the Hill Country of Texas. With Biker’s Choice, a Tucker property, serving the American V-twin market in an enhanced fashion, Johnson’s purchase of the bike was a timely fit.
“My background had been metric and the DNA of our company had been metric — dirt, ATV and so forth. That had been our strength,” Johnson said. “Then I looked at he size of the Harley market and I looked at all of the bikes out there and the enthusiasm in the Harley market today. That’s really why I bought the Harley — I want to be a part of it; I want to see how we can be a part of that. Owning a Harley is a journey of continuously improving the bike and working on it. It’s also a club — the camaraderie you get in owning a Harley. It’s all about getting together with your friends and just going riding.”
And after Johnson got to riding it, he knew he might need to part with it for a short time.
“I felt like I needed to wake the engine up a little,” Johnson said.
That led to a trip to S&S Cycle in December. The initial dyno test at the Viola, Wis., V-twin performance shop showed the engine produced 63 hp and 84 foot pounds of torque. The upgrades progressed as such:
Stage 1: S&S SPO mufflers; power tuned duals; tuned runner ram air intake — 72 hp;
Stage 2: 585 Easy Start cams; Quickee pushrod & cover kit — 87 hp;
Stage 3: 106 CI piston and cylinders — 99 hp
Stage 4: S&S machined heads — 109 hp and 180 foot pounds of torque.
“It really woke the thing up and made it a different motorcycle,” Johnson said.
But he wasn’t done there. A Progression Suspension Lowering Kit (940) lowered the bike about an inch “and gave it a much softer ride.” Stainless steel Goodridge brake lines helped provide it with a classic look.
Dakota Digital gauges help Johnson track the performance.
“It gave me more instrumentation,” he said. “It tells me what gear I’m in and tells me a lot of information on 0 to 60 quarter-mile speed and the performance of the bike. Oil temperature, too. So it really does a better job of letting me know how things are performing on the bike.”
A K & M 500 watt amplifier system with 7 ¼-inch speakers lets others know that he’s coming. Rock-n-Ride bagger lids from Biker’s Choice provide a “true four-channel stereo. It kinda makes the bike into a rolling boom box.”
A Mustang seat was added, and Street Fx lights on the bike’s underside allow the chrome its due spotlight. LED lights underneath the front speakers from J&M add to a custom paint job from Color Works.
So if you see — or hear — Johnson on the road anytime soon, ask him about his new Harley. He’ll be glad to oblige.