WINFIELD TOWNSHIP — Every guy relaxes in his own way. Some garden, some jog, bike or fish.
Winfield Lake resident Bob Kade shrugs off the stress of his workday with a wrench in his hand. For the past few years, that wrench has been applied to a 2000 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide motorcycle.
On Tuesday, the fruits of Kade’s labor will be on display at newsstands across America, when Motorcycle Bagger magazine features his customized ride on the cover of its May issue.
Though Kade put in as many as 1,000 hours working on the bike, and despite the fact that the bike is, in a word, a looker, he never expected the motorcycle to beat out more than half a million other bikes competing for cover honors.
“I looked at myself as a nobody from nowhere,” Kade said. “I bought the bike on New Year’s Day in 2008 and it took me 10 months to build. I got it finished just in time for Bike Week in Daytona and out of 600,000 bikes there they wanted to put mine on the cover of the magazine. I had no clue I would be on the cover.”
Though Kade remains remarkably humble about his achievement and all the work that went into it, his wife, Lori Kade, has a somewhat higher opinion of the shade tree mechanic.
“Bob is a very motivated self-made man that comes from a hard-working blue collar family and this is a huge honor for him and our family,” Lori Kade said.
Throughout the months Kade worked on his bike — mostly on weekends and during a stolen hour here or there after work — he had no specific goal in mind other than building the best motorcycle he could. Using local talent whenever possible — JAG Custom Paint in Shepherd for the paint job, a friend from Ithaca to help assemble the engine — Kade’s dream bike slowly took shape.
Though he did have a little outside help, the bulk of the work Kade handled himself.
“I just wanted to build something to my liking,” Kade says. “But I wanted something that was comfortable to take on a trip. Building the bike is a stress reliever for me. I enjoy taking something and making something special out of it. This is just one of those things I enjoy doing.”
The first step in building the bike was stripping it down, as Kade says, “…every nut and bolt right to the frame.” After that the engine was sent out for a new top end kit, which boosted it from 88 to 95 cubic inches and almost doubled the horsepower. According to Kade, even with the added power the bike isn’t too “skittish,” but definitely boasts some serious pickup.
“You can feel it,” he says.
This is the first motorcycle rebuild Kade has performed, though he has previously restored a couple muscle cars, including the frame-off restoration of a 1977 Chevelle.
“That was one of those deals where you carry it out in boxes,” Kade says.
The heavily customized Harley-Davidson now has almost no stock parts.
“Everything from the hand controls to the blinkers to the gas gauge is after-market custom,” Kade says.
“It even has a new $1,000 Alpine audio stereo system I installed since the (magazine) photo shoot.”
Now that his bike is finally “perfect,” road ready and soon-to-be famous, what are Kade’s plans for it?
“I don’t know,” he says. “Maybe I’ll sell it. There’s a little sentimental value, obviously, and that would factor into the cost. But could I sell it? Yeah, I could sell it. But I’d just go get another bike and build another one.”