When Kyle Morley does his custom work, whether it’s a full bike build or something as simple as a paint job on a helmet, he likes to have artistic freedom in order to create the best possible product.
“I wouldn’t say I do what I want or I do what [a customer] wants. It’s kind of always a marriage of the two,” says Kyle Morley, owner of XecutionStyle Kustom Paint in Elmer, NJ. “Most customers will come to me with an idea and with a few colors in mind and we’ll talk it back and forth until we come up with something that we’re both happy with. If I’m not happy doing it – whether it’s exactly what they want or not – it’s not going to come out right or as best as it could. Sometimes customers do come with an exact thing that they have to have and I just run with it, but they’re the ones I enjoy the least.
“I like to have a little bit of artistic freedom. Over the years, people have seen my work enough to trust the process. Some of them even come to me and say, ‘I want green and red, do it your way,’ and they just let me run with it, which I enjoy the most because it gives me the most freedom to do something new and fresh that people haven’t seen yet. That’s always exciting to finish a project and put it out there and people are excited to see it because it’s new.”
Morley started his professional journey close to 20 years ago in the collision industry as a automotive painter. However, he always dabbled with BMX bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs, and things like that in his spare time. About seven years ago, he left the body shop industry to open his own custom motorcycle shop, XecutionStyle Kustom Paint.
“We do some custom bike builds, but 90% of our work is custom paint work on motorcycles,” Morley says. “For the most part they’re Harley-Davidsons – that just seems to be the crowd that I have here as customers – but we do a little bit of everything. I’ve done a few older Triumphs in the last couple of weeks. I’ve done old Indians. We’ve done some restoration stuff. It’s really whatever people bring me, but most of it is custom graphics and airbrush work.”
While Kyle excels at paint work, his custom bike builds will make your jaw drop too. Just as he enjoys the creative freedom painting allows him, the same mentality goes into his bikes.
“I really enjoy doing the custom builds and actually building a motorcycle from the ground up,” he says. “Normally, when I do builds, they’re not commissioned. They’re builds that I would build my way and then I might even ride them for a little bit and then sell them. It might be like one or two bikes a year that I build at the most, but I’ll use that bike to promote our paint work.
“When I do these builds, I do a very select few, so they’re passion projects. I will get a build list in my head for a while – like a year or two years – and I can picture it. I can see what I want it to look like. That’s actually the fun part about building them is seeing if they come out the way you envisioned.
One of those custom motorcycles Kyle finished recently started life as a 2005 Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train. After seeing a bike Kyle built for himself, a buddy of his wanted to do something similar.
“He wanted my stylings put on it, but we did it a lot different than my bike,” Morley admits. “The Night Train comes with all black accessories and black motor. It’s a darker bike than the standard Harley you normally see with a lot of chrome on it. We went all out on it.”
This 2005 Harley Night Train build actually started six or seven years ago, but didn’t get 100% completed until earlier in 2021.
“An interesting fact about this bike is this is the third time we built the bike,” he says. “When we built it up the first time six or seven years ago, it was a very mild build. We just put a custom gas tank and some wheels on it. When we redid it to have it look like it does now, we were building it the few months before Daytona Bike Week, which is always our big debut event. We never ended up actually getting the paint or anodizing any of the parts, so when it went there, all of the sheet metal – the gas tank, oil tank and the fender – were all raw steel. We just cleaned them with a Scotch-Brite pad and some WD-40 to keep them from rusting. The wheels were freshly cut, raw aluminum, so we just put the tires on them. The bike actually ended up staying like that for a few years. The customer I built it for, my buddy, he would just ride it like that with not a single lick of paint on the whole thing.
“Since then, we tore the whole bike back down about a year ago and refinished everything and painted and anodized everything and put it back together. It’s almost like another build because it’s already been out in the public eye. It’s already seen a few shows and it’s been featured in magazines.”
When you see this bike completed, it’s not hard to see why it impresses everyone who sees it. From the front tire to the back fender and everywhere in between, not a single aspect of the bike was left without a custom touch.
“The front forks are an old-style girder, but they’re the only set in the United States, so they kind of make the bike really stand out and look a lot different than anything it would stand up against,” Morley says. “A lot of the accessories on it are hand brushed and gold anodized. Then, everything else is black in a matte charcoal. The bike has a really, really wild look to it, but it’s subdued. It’s not loud colors, and that’s what I normally paint is a lot of vibrant, loud, bright colors. When I do builds for myself, I try to flip the script a little bit and not do what people would expect me to do, knowing my paint jobs.”
That front fork is an air girder from Thunderbike in Germany. The bike’s gas tank and rear fender were both hand formed, and the wheels were custom machined.
“I had a set of custom wheels machined by a company that’s no longer in business because we built this about two years ago,” he says. “I hand-drew the wheels and Thomason Performance out of New Hampshire made a CAD program for them and cut them for me.”
Another aspect of the bike that makes it stand out is that, unlike a normal Harley-Davidson that has an enclosed primary, which is basically your chain that connects the motor to the transmission, this bike has an open chain drive.
“It looks like the final drive chain that would be on the back of the motorcycle,” he says. “It has one of those on the side, so it’s actually two chains. If you look at the side of the bike, it’s got the front primary chain and then the final drive, and they’re both gold, 530 chains to match the gold anodizing on the wheels and a few accessories.”
Those accessories are the headlight ring, the Flo Motorsports foot pegs, the wheels and the air cleaner, which is just a velocity stack – all of that was hand brushed and then anodized gold in-house at XecutionStyle Kustom Paint.
“If you know anything about the anodizing process, whatever anodizing goes over is what sheen or shine it will have. Since it wasn’t over a polish, it was over a brush, it gives the wheels a matte finish, so there’s no shine to them.
“The rest of the bike, as far as the frame, that got painted with PPG paint and a matte finish, so the frame is a matte finish charcoal, and the gas tank, oil tank and rear fender, which makes up the body, that got a new school, racy graphic in black, gray and charcoal to match the frame. Then, it got a gold leaf pinstripe, which is very subtle throughout to tie the gold in with the wheels and the pegs and all of that. There’s not a piece on the whole bike that’s actually shiny. Everything is either Cerakote or PPG paint with matte clear.”
As mentioned, this Harley Softail Night Train has a very aggressive look, but the build is very simple. If you compared it to a normal Harley-Davidson that it started life out as, it’s bare bones.
“You can’t see any cables. You can’t see any wires. There’s not even levers on the handlebars,” Morley points out. “It’s an internal-twist throttle and an internal-twist clutch, so the left side grip actually twists instead of having a clutch lever. There’s no exposed wiring or cables or anything on the complete bike.”
As for the exhaust system, that was hand-built pipe made by a good friend of Kyle’s named Tyler. He owns a company called Sikpipes in Tioga, PA.
“He’s a great metal fabricator,” Morley says. “When we were just starting out, we actually took the frame and swing arm as a roller, up to his shop. We did the frame modifications there to accept the different size wheels because the wheels on the bike are 26 inch in the front and 20 inch in the rear, which is a far cry from the factory. I believe the front was 19 inch and the back is 16 inch.”
Despite Kyle not being much of an engine guy, he couldn’t leave the Harley engine untouched, so he took the motor apart and Cerakoted it and put performance machine covers on it.
“I’m not a motor modification person, but I still wanted to do something to the motor for people to note it was part of the modification process of the bike,” he says.
After re-unveiling this 2005 Harley Softail Night Train at Daytona Bike Week this past March, it actually won Judge’s Choice and first place in its class at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk Bike Show. And how could it not?!
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