A Visit To Bling Cycles. Birthing Wicked Mean Bikes. From Choppers To Bobbers To Baggers.

Dodge113Dodge111Dodge12My first Daytona pit stop at the beginning of Bike Week was at, 726 North Beach Street. Don’t look for a bold typo sign around this 6000 sq. ft warehouse. There is none, by choice… But those in the know will find the door leading to Bill Dodge very large and quite cool working space. Although he has made the choice to work alone (occasionally with a little help from friends) because it’s the way he feels good and is the most creative, no less than a dozen projects on lifts are in progress and receive daily attention from the master. Blings Cycles is probably today’s most creative and most productive one-man custom building shop.

BD-NilsAuman0005Bill Dodge opened in New Jersey in 2005 after 8 years spent at West Coast Choppers where he was the shop foreman. Then, after a relocation in Kentucky, one year ago Dodge decided to settle in Daytona Beach, a city where he told me he can mix the pleasures of the beach with those of long work days doing what he loves the most, fabricating and wrenching some of the wickest mean bikes of the current custom scene.

dodge16When we met, Bill Dodge was very excited for having completed on time “Pan American” (the project featured above) for German client and now friend Nils Auman who just arrived in town to participate to the 73rd Daytona Bike Week. One year ago, Auman and Dodge had a chance encounter in Daytona. Auman’s wish list was very simple but in a few words was describing exactly the type of custom bike Dodge dreamed of building.

A couple of months later a deposit check arrived from Germany and as the project progressed Dodge fell more and more in love with his own project, maybe his best ever custom motorcycle and for sure the one being the best representation of where he stands today as a custom builder. Auman had received regular email updates during “Pan American”’s building process, but Dodge kept most of the surprises for the unveiling that just happened as I arrived…

Seeing a client having tears of joy when discovering his completed project is the most beautiful and rewarding thing a custom builder can expect. And when I met Dodge, he was still overwhelmed by emotion. Builder and client, now brothers forever…In a few words “Pan American” is a fully handmade bike featuring a 1953 Panhead engine, a 4-speed Baker tranny, 1971 Maico legs, Bare Knuckle gears, lots of english wheel aluminum forming, too long to list one-off fabricated parts and a simple and sophisticated paint job inspired by the iconic Pan Am airline logo and colors.

Dodge1bisDodge11terDodge4Dodge5Another completed project sitting in a corner of the shop was this 2004 custom Road King proudly owned by Jim Root. Bill Dodge building Baggers? Yes, but the way he builds all his bikes. Tailored specifically for a customer who wants to ride hard, who is not afraid for him and his machine to go from asphalt to gravel or even dirt. The same rules used by Dodge to his dirt-track-inspired Bobbers are applied to this Road King capturing the essence of long distance riding: packing only the essentials for very reliable cross country riding without worrying about anything else that the destination. Certainly not a bagger built only for the purpose of boosting your ego with a gold plastic trophy in a bike show…

Dodge6Dodge7Dodge8Dodge9Dodge chose a bullet proof 106” Harley-Davidson engine prepared and muscled by Kendall Johnson and a 5-speed Baker transmission. This bagger rolls on gorgeous Bling Cycles signature wheels cut by Revolution Manufacturing (23″ x 31/4″ front, 18″ x 5.5″ rear.) From bars and risers to pegs, all hand-made parts are typical of Dodge style, keeping riding functionality as the 1st criteria for designing each accessory.

cyril huzeNo decorative pieces here. No chrome. Just the bare essentials to make a 2-wheeler perform as it is supposed to, and dressed in polished aluminum and stainless steel with a paint job by Chad Chambers looking like a motorcycle paint job, of course not of the type found on jet skis…

As expected, Bill Dodge went to smoke the tires (and even popped a bagger wheelie on a Daytona bridge) to show me how his new custom bagger can and should be ridden…

(photography copyright Horst Roesler for JeremySumpter)



28 Responses to “A Visit To Bling Cycles. Birthing Wicked Mean Bikes. From Choppers To Bobbers To Baggers.”

  1. 1 Ross Mar 17th, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Very cool bikes.

  2. 2 Mar 17th, 2014 at 9:36 am

    The top chopper is a good design,much like something I’d design in fact.

    The Bagger is something I’d have no hesitation to jump on and ride.(With a twin discs bolted on the front wheel though).Better with a 21″ V- rated Conti on the front I think.

    Clever designs and ideas.This guys shop is all class.

  3. 3 Roger Davenport Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I like both bikes. Well done.

  4. 4 Brad Schaeffer Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I need 2 like that for the street and for the road.

  5. 5 Joe Pardon Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Bill Dodge has been quite discreet. Wondering what he was doing. Now I know. Nice.

  6. 6 C. Galhager Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Good custom builder.

  7. 7 Frank Pence Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:28 am

    The bagger wheels are pretty cool.

  8. 8 Devil's Plaything Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Wow, totally impressed. Nice way to start the week. Thanks Cyril and Mr. Dodge!

  9. 9 Ronnie Mar 17th, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Both mean & cool. What custom building is supposed to be.

  10. 10 domino Mar 17th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    There are those who say they are, and those who are .. I’m thinking this guy is .. Nice .,.

    Someone tell me, is that a Hodaka tank on that last bike down? How cool ..

    Oh, and “Harley-Diamondson” ala AMF … I mean, how can you not love this guy??

    Domino Dave

  11. 11 Jeffrey Mar 17th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Like them all. Especially the last one seen in progress at the bottom of the page.

  12. 12 Paul Kart Mar 17th, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Looking good Cyril on the pic with Bill. Always sneaking in the good places.

  13. 13 Smittydog Mar 17th, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I met the guy 12 yrs. ago at WCC,Hes a cool dude.Glad to see he is doing well.

  14. 14 Mar 17th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    A true artist. Would like to see the owner fire up and ride Pan American with it’s high tech magneto ignition, open primary, no rear suspension and no front brake. ..Z

  15. 15 Dave Blevins Mar 17th, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Good lookin’ stuff.

  16. 16 Joshua Mar 17th, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    More visits like that, Cyril. But I guess you can’t be everywhere.

  17. 17 Rodent Mar 18th, 2014 at 12:20 am

    One of the best bike builders!

  18. 18 Kamikaze Mar 18th, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Bill Dodge was under rated. This feature put him in the builders top class. Great work by a guy with talent and a true passion for bike building.

  19. 19 Frosty Mar 18th, 2014 at 6:01 am

    When I am ready (financially), I will pay him a visit.

  20. 20 Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Always been a huge fan of bills work. Glad he’s getting the recognition he deserves.

  21. 21 Shifter Mar 18th, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Bagger wheelie? Great builder, mad rider…

  22. 22 Mar 18th, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I do my best. Thank you for the kind words. Especially Cyril. Bill D.

  23. 23 Jeff Keizer Mar 18th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    …and you best many.

  24. 24 Mar 18th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I do my best. Thank you for the kind words. Especially Cyril. .bill d

  25. 25 Roadside Marty Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:49 am

    A true class act..I always look forward to seeing what he does next, always pushing the envelope of “how did he think of that” as well as being a helluva nice guy!!

  26. 26 Nils Aumann Mar 23rd, 2014 at 9:27 am

    For for me Bill’s way of customizing is the only way to express the real and authentic love to the two wheels – so I’m very proud to be a little part of the Bling’s-Family and to ride this perfect PAN AMERICAN-Baby. Thanks a lot Bill.

  27. 27 Rider Mar 27th, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Thanks for the pics . Bill has always been a great guy and crazy artist . His work has been followed by many but none compares to a Bling’s build . Keep up the good work bro .

  28. 28 BCinSoCal Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Yup, Hodaka

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