Home > The Blog > Carbon King: Curtis Hofmann's Kuryakyn x Buffalo Chip Bagger

Carbon King: Curtis Hofmann's Kuryakyn x Buffalo Chip Bagger

Aug 28 2019

“If I’m going to put my time into it and my name on it, it’s going to be what I want.”

That’s the response that sealed the deal when we asked Curtis Hofmann to spearhead the 2019 Kuryakyn x Sturgis Buffalo Chip “Rock, Rumble & Rebellion” bike build.

For those unfamiliar, Rock, Rumble & Rebellion (RRR) was born from our partnership with the Legendary Sturgis Buffalo Chip, the epicenter of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Each year the Chip opens its gates to hundreds of thousands of revelers for nine epic days of music, motorcycles and mayhem, a.k.a. Rock, Rumble & Rebellion.

The Chip also does a masterful job highlighting kustom kulture by integrating a loaded lineup of bike shows and builder exhibits like Michael Lichter’s “Motorcycles As Art.” At Kuryakyn, we don’t typically build bikes. But we built our brand on supporting those who do, not to mention the countless DIY-ers who aspire to create their idea of the perfect ride for them. So after building the past three RRR bikes in-house, we shifted gears for 2019 and kept the spotlight on the talent that inspires the vast majority of two-wheel enthusiasts. And Curtis Hofmann of Hofmann Designs has been busy inspiring go-fast freaks within the up-and-coming performance bagger scene.

Buffalo, Minnesota-based Hofmann Designs is a full-service shop in the northern Twin Cities suburbs specializing in full custom builds and aftermarket components. If you haven’t heard of Curtis, hop on Instagram and search for “#performancebagger.” You’re guaranteed to see his carbon (fiber) footprint all over social media.

Curtis and the RRR Road King made the rounds during the Sturgis Rally, including a main stage appearance at the Buffalo Chip before Godsmack rocked the house.

Curtis got started over a decade ago doing Pro Street and bobber builds on his own before eventually stepping into the big-wheel bagger game. Today, his growing line of carbon fiber parts for H-D and Indian are part of a “changing of the guard” taking place in the custom bagger scene. More and more, we’re seeing a shift away from big wheels and bling to function-focused performance machines where less is more.

“We got a lot of recognition from the big-wheel bagger builds,” said Hofmann. “At the time, no one was really doing it in the Midwest. My fabricator and I started bouncing ideas off each other and before we knew it, we were selling our parts to other builders, which was awesome. The builds became seamless, but riding them wasn’t always fun. Then the market started getting flooded so we decided to do change it up.”

In spring 2016, Curtis brought his first “performance bagger” build to Daytona Bike Week — the heart of big-wheel bagger country. Lined up next to his layframes was a Street Glide with an otherwise stock body and noticeably smaller 21” front wheel. It was the odd bike out, yet it attracted the most attention and was the only bike Curtis sold during Bike Week. So he went back to Minnesota and built another one for the Donnie Smith Show three weeks later.

“Riding is what’s important,” said Hofmann. “The focus is on function. I think that’s being proven in today’s market. If I’m going to hop on a bike, I want to turn the key and go. All my builds need to be functional in every aspect so you’re in complete control of the bike instead of the bike handling you. With that first build I realized performance baggers were an insane amount of fun. I could go out and thrash 200-300 miles in a day and not be worn out or tired. That’s what I wanted to bring to the custom bagger scene.”

The Hofmann Designs Carbon Fiber Rear End Kit fits '09-later H-D baggers and sheds more than 20 pounds versus stock.

Now, three years later, Curtis’ progressive style and ADD-like attention to detail has established Hofmann Designs among the leaders of performance bagger visionaries. He took inspiration from NASCAR and supercars like McLarens that integrate carbon fiber components and only run the best of the best. And now his growing line of carbon fiber fenders, saddlebags and more for H-D and Indian are some of the hottest parts in the game.

“I don’t chase trends or try to keep up with the Joneses,” said Hofmann. “I build bikes and parts for people who are the Joneses. No one was doing carbon fiber for Harleys so we decided to do it. It was extremely stressful at first and took years to develop and get up to my standards. Now I’m shipping parts out to a lot of people I’ve looked up to for years, and that’s incredibly humbling to me.”

We handed Curtis the keys to a new Road King, a Kury catalog and agreed on an extremely tight deadline in order to make it to Sturgis. The Hofmann Designs team had the bike torn down to the frame before we were back at Kury HQ that afternoon. A little over a month later the transformation was complete, and you’d never believe the bike we got back was the same one we dropped off.

"Art Alley" in downtown Rapid City played the perfect backdrop for some Rock, Rumble & Rebellion.

The RRR Road King features around 30 of the latest Kuryakyn products and all the aforementioned Hofmann Designs carbon fiber goodness, including the rear fender, saddlebags, side covers and shorty front fender. The fit, finish, durability and overall quality of the carbon fiber is top drawer, and according to Curtis, the rear end kit alone sheds over 20 pounds compared to stock. Might not sound like much, but you can certainly feel the difference in every aspect at both high and low speeds. The tank features Curtis’ trademark knee cutouts for an additional go-fast aesthetic, along with the Hofmann Designs Road King Dash console in place of the outdated stock panel.

Curtis is no stranger to Kuryakyn and using our parts into his builds. But giving him “carte blanche” on this project without any predetermined demands for using specific parts gave our team a unique perspective on which of our products can penetrate and appeal to the growing “performance bagger” segment. In the end, Curtis selected over two-dozen Kuryakyn parts highlighted by the Riot Floorboards and Grips, Ridgeback foot controls, full L.E.D. lighting including the new Orbit Prism+ headlight and Prism+ accent lighting system, and of course the incredibly small but powerful Kuryakyn by Kellermann Atto indicators. (See the full parts list below.)

The bike was also upgraded with keyless ignition, H-D security system, and loaded with additional components from the industry’s top brands: RSD Del Mar 21” front and 18” rear, Lyndall Brakes ceramic rotors, Progressive Suspension 970 Series shocks and Fork Monotube Kit with FST, Trask Assault 2-into-1 Stainless exhaust, and a beautiful custom “Squareback” saddle from Mustang Seats.

From an aesthetic standpoint, carbon fiber is sexy right out of the gate. You can leave it raw and still have that sleek, race-inspired performance styling, which is how the first handful of performance baggers rolled out of Hofmann Designs. But Curtis wanted to take it to the next level, so they started experimenting with paint and different patterns like honeycomb woven into the fiber to offer up a totally different look.

Jason Sprengel from SIK Paint out of St. Louis laid down the killer paint over Curtis' carbon fiber fenders and bags, leaving just enough visible to create a perfect balance.

For the RRR Road King, we decided against the pattern but still wanted the bike to stand out with a killer paint scheme. Once again we left the design up to Curtis, with the only direction being to incorporate the Kuryakyn and Sturgis Buffalo Chip logos. He got a hold of longtime friend and talented painter Jason Sprengel of Sprengel’s Innovative Kustoms (SIK Paint) in St. Louis, Missouri. After a bit of back-and-forth, they absolutely knocked it out of the park. Rob Broker at Adrenaline Customs worked his powder coating magic on the swingarm, outer primary as well as other various Kuryakyn and OEM components. The closer you look, the more there is to see.

We were fortunate enough to put some miles down on the RRR Road King in Sturgis and it carved through the Black Hills like a hot knife through butter. Needless to say, we picked the right man for the job.

“Sturgis is the mecca, especially for those of us in the Midwest,” said Curtis. “This was my chance to do something a little different but still put my stamp on it. For me, it’s not about the money. If it were, I’d be building what everybody wants. If I’m not proud of it, I won’t ride it. And if I won’t ride it, I won’t build it. I’ll be the first to admit there have been a good amount of bikes I’ve lost my ass on. But the bikes I’ve lost my ass on are what’s paying me today.”

Did we mention the 2019 RRR Road King is for sale? If you’re in the market for a true one-of-a-kind performance bagger that’s an absolute beast (and blast) to ride, contact Greg Smith of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip at (605)-210-1024.

FEATURED PARTS




FULL PARTS LIST

Covers, Trims & Accents
Kuryakyn Quick-Draw Saddlebag Latch Handles, P/N 5193
Kuryakyn Precision Heel Shift Eliminator, P/N 6433
Kuryakyn Precision Throttle Servo Motor Cover, P/N 9341
Kuryakyn Finned Derby Cover, P/N 9769
Kuryakyn Finned Timing Cover, P/N 9839
Kuryakyn Precision Upper Frame Cover, P/N 6420
Kuryakyn Precision Regulator Cover, P/N 6428
Kuryakyn Maverick Horn Cover, P/N 7478
Kuryakyn Passenger Board Block-off Plates, P/N 9397
Kuryakyn Front Axle Nut Caps, P/N 1229

Hand/Foot Controls
Kuryakyn ISO-Levers, P/N 5735
Kuryakyn Ridgeback Brake Pedal, P/N 9699
Kuryakyn Ridgeback Shift Lever, P/N 9647
Kuryakyn Ridgeback Front Shift Arm, P/N 5803
Kuryakyn Ridgeback Transmission Shift Arm. P/N 5801
Kuryakyn Riot Grips, P/N 3583
Kuryakyn Riot Floorboards, P/N 3595
Kuryakyn Teardrop Mirrors, P/N 1708
Kuryakyn Grooved Shift Linkage, P/N 9675
Fly Racing MX Handlebars
Forbidden Motorcycles 9" Risers

Lighting
Kuryakyn by Kellermann Atto Amber L.E.D. Turn Signals, P/N 2570
Kuryakyn by Kellermann Atto DF L.E.D. Turn Signals, P/N 2858
Kuryakyn L.E.D. Saddlebag Hinge Accents, P/N 5477
Kuryakyn Headlamp Adapter Harness for Road King, P/N 5478
Kuryakyn Orbit Prism+ 7" L.E.D. Headlight, P/N 2478
Kuryakyn Prism+ Bluetooth L.E.D. Accent Lighting, P/N 2803

Performance
Kuryakyn Crusher Maverick Pro Air Cleaner, P/N 9936
Trask Assault 2-into-1 Stainless Exhaust

Bodywork
Hofmann Designs '09-Later Carbon Fiber Rear End Kit
Hofmann Designs '09-Later Carbon Fiber Side Covers
Hofmann Designs '14-later Shorty Carbon Fiber Front Fender
Hofmann Designs '08-Later Custom Road King Dash w/ L.E.D.s
Hofmann Designs Custom Tank w/ Cutouts

Wheels + Tires + Brakes
Roland Sands Design Del Mar 21" Front
Roland Sands Del Mar 18" Rear
Pirelli Night Dragon Tires
Lyndall Brakes Ceramic Rotors

Seat
Mustang Seats Squareback w/ Orange Thread

Suspension
Progressive Suspension 970 Series Remote Reservoir Shocks
Progressive Suspension Fork Monotube Kit w/ FST

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Motorsport Aftermarket Group®