The Indianapolis Dealer Show - The Annual Indy Report

Between The Lines

We look forward to it every year, but sometimes we're disappointed. The Indianapolis Dealer Show may be the industry's annual showcase for all the latest trick hardware, but this time around the offerings felt underwhelming. Luckily a couple of bikes saved the day for us.

Denny Berg's latest Cobra custom, for instance-the lightweight Genesis machine-found the California master builder once again tweaking conventions. First, it's not much larger than an old 125cc motocrosser. Second, the whole project's built around an '06 Harley-Davidson Dyna crate engine and an '05 five-speed H-D transmission.

"We wanted to use an H-D crate motor to show that you could do a lot more than make a gigantic, fat-tired chopper with it," Berg says. "What we really had in mind was to revisit those cool West Coast Bay Area streamliner bikes of the mid to late '70s that Arlen Ness and Billy Budde were building. We wanted to update that look with modern thinking. For example, we've centralized the mass of the bike around that great chunk of motor for improved functionality and a classic look."

Berg's custom-built frame may use just a single downtube, but the upper portion is perimeter-style (wrapping around the top of the cylinder heads), which adds the lateral stiffness needed for such a beefy powerplant.

Berg incorporated the fuel tank beneath the seat's one-piece bodywork because the oil tank on the Dyna is under the transmission. That move also allowed Berg to lower the bike's height considerably. A 17-inch front wheel helps tighten the overall size of Genesis, as does the handmade exhaust system, which tucks inside the rear framerails above the rear axle. A classic Brandywine paint and artisan-level gold-leaf scrollwork adorn the tank, taking their cues from an earlier time.

"Anytime you start with that motor, you'll get the correct look," Berg says, "but you can go anywhere with it. We've got a scooter-sized bike with an 88-inch motor, and that alone is pretty cool."
-Andrew Cherney

Fabrication: Denny Berg, CSPD
Engine: '06 Harley-Davidson 1450cc twin cam
Carburetion: Mikuni HSR 45
Transmission: '05 Harley-Davidson 5-speed; Tsubaki chain drive
Frame: Denny Berg, CSPD, 7/8 -in. tubing, rigid, single 1.75-in. downtube, perimeter frame, 40-deg. rake; Paughco neck
Forks: Durfee Girder, modified trees and link bars, 2 in. under stock
Fuel Tank: Denny Berg composite one-piece body, 2.2-gal. tank under seat
Exhaust: Denny Berg, CSPD
Wheels: Front: 17-in. Excel aluminum rim, stainless spokes, Performance Machine hub, Knucklehead hub covers
Rear: 18-in. Excel aluminum rim, stainless spokes, Performance Machine sprocket/rotor hub
Brakes: Performance Machine sprocket/rotor, 4-piston caliper
Paint: House of Kolor Kandy Brandywine, variegated gold-leaf design by Buckwild
Chrome: Precision Plating and GQI Polishing