You’d never know from all the shine that Jason Pieriotti’s ride was born black. Specifically, a 2003 Night Train that’s also his first motorcycle. Motorcycles always lurked in the back of his mind, though. Putting his personal stamp on one was a matter of “when,” not “if.”
An old bike wasn’t for Jason, however. He wanted reliability over classic cred in this case. Restoring a basket also meant more shop time, less road time. That meant buying a stock Harley. One of his car buddies was a salesman at Bob Dron’s H-D in Oakland. Talking Jason into a dark new Night Train was his doing.
Instead of running around as planned, Jason’s wrenching addiction kicked in: “I can’t leave anything stock. The day I brought it home, I took off the front fender, turn signals, horn and reflectors. Then it was time to figure out the direction I wanted to take this bike. I decided to go with a chopper/café/performance style bike. The first major change was going to a chain drive, side mount tail light, bars, risers, grips, seat, pipes, and bob and relocated rear fender. This required some fabrication and my friend Rene at RM Creation helped me out with this chore. Once that was completed I rode it around like that for awhile.” It was a great intermission until round two.
That kicked off when he started realizing what he did and didn’t like while riding the Train. He’s a skinny guy who likes skinny bikes. The Harley’s fatty tank wasn’t doing it for Jason. He mulled trading out the fat bob gas can for a Sporty one, but everybody does that. He also had a 1970 Triumph Bonneville tank in his garage; a holdover from his pre-riding “someday” phase. The more he thought about adding it to the Night Train, the more he knew it was the right move.
In keeping with the narrow motif, the wide glide front end had to go. Pierotti is also a big fan of stopping and mashing through San Francisco and the Bay Area. Better brakes were a must-have too. Those two factors lead him to a dual disc narrow glide was next on the list. Once Jason got the triple trees and lower legs back from the powdercoater, he called in reinforcements via Tony Spinks and Patrick Bell to help with the frontend swap.
Shortly after this, Jason switched over to a barrel style oil tank. Making it work was not like shooting, well, fish in a barrel. It was more like wrestling monkeys into one. Installing the oil holder posed issues with the coil mount and exhaust pipes. The former mandated remounting the coil, the latter gave him an excuse to change over to new pipes. Not that you need one.
Having paid loving attention to its front end, it was time to hit the back. The motorcycle needed a new tail section and needed it bad. This is where Chris Gross at Pins & Needles entered the scene. “I’ve painted several cars for Chris as favors and this is how we barter,” Jason says. “I didn’t need to tell Chris what I wanted because we were already on the same page. He worked his magic, did some test fittings with me on it. His finished product was even better than what I had envisioned.” Not only can Chris fabricate but he can also do upholstery. Jason wanted the top to be perforated leather with 2-inch pleats and solid leather side panels. Chris also put him on the bonus plan with 2 different types of memory foam to make it comfy. Add in the flair from the metallic blue leather Chris used under the perforated top seat panel, and you get a bitchin’ seat with hidden flair. In certain light, you can see the blue through the perforated holes.
Early on Jason knew the cafe look was for him. He still hadn’t addressed that up to this point but while he set aside spare change for paint, he added Viper quarter fairing like the one he’d painted for a friend’s Thruxton. A little trim, a little notching, and he had his cafe racer looks.
Jason Pierotti still hadn’t painted it at this point. Since the metalwork was going off for colorizing anyway, this was as good a time as any to make a few other tweaks that were kicking around Jason’s mind too. Jason Steed at C-51 Customs made Pierotti a new exhaust, rewired it, made the new foot controls, and ditched the hand controls. He also massaged the clutch.
What started in Jason’s mind as “if,” morphed into “when,” and finally evolved to, “how long?” Try nine years. Time may fly when you’re having fun, but it bleeds out like a stuck pig when you’re alternating between the saddle and the torch.
Editor’s Note: Jason Pierotti says this bike wouldn’t be where it was if it wasn’t for all of his great friend’s help. Thanks go out to Chris Gross, Jason Steed, Tony Spinks, Eladio Mendoza, Carey Buck, Jayme Schmidt, Rene Maranan, Steve Lofgren, Jon Wright, Tyler Pullen, Marcus Melendez, and Frank Bozzini.
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Owner Jason Pierotti
Shop Jason Pierotti
Year/Make/Model 2003/Harley-Davidson/Night Train
Build Time Nine years
Engine Twin Cam
Year/Type/Size 2003/H-D/88 ci
Rocker Boxes H-D
Exhaust C-51 Customs
Year/Type 2003 H-D
Gears H-D five-speed
Primary drive H-D
Year/Type 2003 H-D
Rake/Stretch 33.5 degrees/None
Frontend 39mm Dyna narrow glide
Shock Absorbers H-D
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Builder/Size H-D 21-inch
Tire/Size Avon 110/90-21
Builder/Size H-D 18-inch
Tire/Size Avon 140/70 18
Pulley Flat 49-tooth
Manufacturer House of Kustom
Colors Silver metal flake, Candy Red, Candy Blue, Blue Pearl
Paint/Graphics Blue Moon Kustoms
Plating/Polishing John Wrights Custom Chrome Plating
Powdercoating West Coast Powdercoating
Rear fender Chris Gross at Pin & Needles
Gas tank 1970 Triumph Bonneville
Handlebars H-D Sportster 883 modified by Dave Cantwells
Grips Biltwell Kung Fu
Mirrors Cheap rectangles
Throttle Biltwell whiskey throttle
Foot Controls H-D and C-51 Customs
Pegs Cheap ones out of a catalog
Headlight ’70s Yamaha trail bike with a modified bucket
Tail light ’20s/’30s original stop taillight
License Mount Jason Pierotti
Seat Custom leather by Chris Gross at Pins & Needles