Staci Wilt’s 2015 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider Build

A four-year project, 60,000 miles in the making.

"I'm going to get a bigger bike, that's new, with a warranty, and more comfortable for long hauls!" I remember back in 2015, when I broke the news to my mom that I was going to blow my money on another motorcycle. "It's brand new, so it'll be even more reliable than my Sportster!" Those are my famous last words, cursing the story that would unfold over the next four years as I built, rebuilt, rebuilt again, and rode the heck out of my 2015 Dyna Low Rider.

The day I got my Dyna. I skipped Born-Free that year to buy my bike.
The day I got my Dyna. I skipped Born-Free that year to buy my bike.Staci Wilt

This Dyna and I have been all over the country together. It's taken me to Sturgis five times, to the shores of the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Columbia River Gorge. It's seen the aspens change in the Rockies, and the rolling green hills of the Smokies. It's seen a handful of 1,000-mile days and probably a few thousand miles' worth of dirt roads. Currently the bike has more than 66,000 miles on it.

We got the bags, fairing, and bars on the day before I left for Sturgis in 2015. I left the bike pretty stock in the beginning.
We got the bags, fairing, and bars on the day before I left for Sturgis in 2015. I left the bike pretty stock in the beginning.Photo by Curt Morgan

I had initially added a T-Sport Repop fairing, Leather Pros saddlebags, and some T-bars, like every millennial does when they buy a black Dyna. I wanted to keep this bike as reliable as possible but also keep performance in mind. My goals were to have a mile-munching, comfortable machine for long hauls that could carve through the twisties with certainty. I currently run Legend Suspensions’ Revo-A 13-inch rear suspension and AXEO Cartridge kit in the front, with a True-Track engine stabilizer front and rear that’s eliminated the famed Dyna “death wobble.”

Spring 2016: 20,000 miles later, I finally ditched the stock exhaust and did some powdercoating.
Spring 2016: 20,000 miles later, I finally ditched the stock exhaust and did some powdercoating.Staci Wilt

Over the years, as things began to break, I upgraded them. The goal of reliability began to shift toward performance as things progressed. Let’s simplify this story: The only things from the factory left untouched and/or replaced are the frame, transmission, rotors, and swingarm. Over the four years I’ve owned it, I think it’s sat in a shop more often than it’s been on the streets.

On my way to Sturgis in 2017, after having my rear wheel replaced while traveling cross-country.
On my way to Sturgis in 2017, after having my rear wheel replaced while traveling cross-country.Staci Wilt

There was one time on my way to California when my rear wheel bearings failed and left me stranded on the side of the interstate in southern New Mexico till 3 in the morning. It’s been through three master cylinders, a few ignition brackets, and the horn fell off tens of thousands of miles ago. The fork tubes have been replaced three or four times. I’ve lost count of all the things that have gone wrong, but bikes that always run don’t make adventures like these!

The A and B sides of the final Harley-Davidson Dyna custom build by Staci Wilt.
Right: The A side of the final Dyna build by Staci Wilt. Left: The B side of Staci Wilt's "The Lemon" Dyna build.Staci Wilt

My bike survived with a stock motor for about 55,000 miles before a lifter failed, and at that point it was time to get into the motor and add some more upgrades. I then had that motor replaced, only for it to fail after 8,000 miles of wear this summer. So now, motor number three is hopefully the lucky charm!

Taylor Schultz added some killer pinstriping details to the front fairing to tie it all together. As soon as the bike was ready, I rode 1,200 miles to Baja for some tacos and moto-shenanigans.
Taylor Schultz added some killer pinstriping details to the front fairing to tie it all together. As soon as the bike was ready, I rode 1,200 miles to Baja for some tacos and moto-shenanigans.Staci Wilt

The powerplant is now a 110-inch crate motor with 585 Screamin' Eagle Cams and a Horsepower Inc. Throttle Body, pushing out 106 hp and 117 foot-pounds of torque at mile-high elevation. While the bike was torn apart I had Taylor Schultz paint all the tins up. I added a Red Thunder 2-1 exhaust, upgraded the dual front brakes to Brembos off a touring model, added some Big Al's Nicky bars and Bubba Pullback risers, a Saddlemen seat, some Custom Dynamics goodies…This list could get really long.

From warm sunny Baja to riding through 10-foot snowbanks in the Rockies this summer.
From warm sunny Baja to riding through 10-foot snowbanks in the Rockies this summer.Staci Wilt

Another major factor that I had to consider when rebuilding this bike was how I was going to carry all of my camera and camping gear on cross-country trips without messing up that fancy paint. I added detachable sissy bar hardware to my Leather Pro mounts, so that I can have the best of both worlds—luggage when I need it and a slick, clean tailsection when I don’t.

After four years of trials and tribulations, this Dyna has earned its name. My friends and I call it, “The Lemon.” Every now and then, it might not get me to point B as planned, but The Lemon always leaves me with a great story to tell. Here’s to many more miles and adventures together!

The quick-detach sissy bar and luggage rack allow me to carry all of my gear with me.
The quick-detach sissy bar and luggage rack allow me to carry all of my gear with me.Staci Wilt

If you wish to follow along on more of my adventures, check out ridetofood.com. Hope to see you on the road!

Socials: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook: @ridetofood Instagram, Facebook: @staciwilt.

Four years later, my bike just needs some rotors and it will be complete!
Four years later, my bike just needs some rotors and it will be complete!Staci Wilt