Mike Dougan is old enough to be retired, but instead he works full time at Percival Scientific in Perry. And perhaps even more relevant is the work he still does customizing motorcycles in his “second garage” behind his house in Perry.
The wide-open building houses plenty of room to turn older motorcycles into tricked-out custom bikes. The latest project he has finished is a 1994 600 V Honda.
“It is a little bike compared to a Harley, but it has the same look,” Dougan says.
He bought the bike in February 2012 and spent the next few months customizing it. He made this one into what he calls an old-school, chopper-style bike, often called a bobber because the fenders are bobbed.
The first thing Dougan thinks about when he looks at a particular bike is what he could make it become.
“A lot of what the bike becomes when I customize it has to do with the original bike,” he says. With the Honda he customized, he liked the Harley Davidson look.
The bike has a mono-shock back end, which makes the tire separate from the rest of the body.
“It makes it look like it doesn’t have any suspension in the back, but it does,” he says.
He bobbed the fender, sanded it down and painted the fenders and the tank flat black. He also had the wheels powder-coated, where a powder-type paint is baked on. The powder-coating makes the paint very resistant to scratches and wear, Dougan says.
He custom-made the handlebars, bending them into the shape he wanted. He also made a new seat, lights and much more to end up with a kind of “bad-boy” looking bike. The flat-black paint is accented by red highlights, white-spoke wheels and chrome touches. The bike was sold to a local business owner before Dougan even had it finished.
His love of motorcycles goes back to the first time he was given a ride on one when he was 10. When he was 15, he started riding motorcycles and hasn’t stopped since.
A highlight for Dougan is when he and a partner went into business for a time making custom motorcycles. They made a motorcycle from scratch and took it to a show in eastern Iowa. It caught the attention of a man who worked for West Coast Cycles, and the bike was featured in a national television show. Dougan and his partner were featured in many interviews, including a documentary.
His partner had to have back surgery, and they eventually sold the business, splitting the proceeds.
Still, he has continued with his favorite hobby. He’s not sure what his next project will be but figures another bike will come along soon that will trip his creative trigger.
“I look at making custom bikes as an art,” Dougan says. “It is a creative outlet.”
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”