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Donnie Baker’s Star Raider Revision

Thursday, August 5, 2010
Star Raider Revision
Donnie “Big Dog” Baker came to Kent Weeks with the goal of turning his stock Raider into a bagger.   
A Deal with the Devil

Kent Weeks, the mutant mind behind Houston-based Lucky Devil Metal Works, has reengineered, modified or otherwise reshaped everything from a mower-powered mini-bike to the NASA Space Shuttle, although documentation of the latter remains classified. Not yet internationally known, his reputation precedes him in motorcycle reformation circles, mostly found in questionable joints and deep underground.
 
Once you speak with the friendly and plain speaking moto demon, it’s not hard to imagine Weeks sitting on a pile of burnt iron, blow torch in one hand, steel shears in the other, pony tail tucked neatly under his welder’s coat, holding court and offering his wicked consul.
 
“I like to sit down with my clients,” said Weeks, “visit with them for awhile, get to know them, discuss ideas of function and style, and carefully consider what they desire.” The Lucky Devil himself can turn dreams to reality, but will the customer pay the price?
 
This scene unfolded when Donnie “Big Dog” Baker walked into Week’s cycle shop and sanctuary some months ago, ready to make a deal with the Devil. “There is almost always a budget, especially nowadays when spending money is scarce supply. But there’s a lot we can do with some ingenuity and imagination so we can get to cooking,” said Weeks, “and we’ll work with you; it’s not like we’re going to ask for your soul.”
 
Star Raider Revision
The task of installing hard bags soon became difficult when it was realized that Corbin didn't make bags for the Raider. 
This is Weeks second metric mission; the first was a production-line prototype created with Victory Motorcycles, a long-haul chopper not only built for style, but for comfort and proper handling. Factory officials were pleased with the results of the skunk works project, badged the “Victory Vampire,” but no word yet out of Minnesota whether the Vampire will join “The Other American" motorcycles.
 
“I liked that the Victory, and now this Yamaha, are air-cooled. Compared to a liquid-cooled bike, it just gives you more design options,” said the Devil. Those choices meandered though Weeks’ demonic mind as the sparks flew and the salty aroma of brimstone filled the Metalworks. Welders were lit, steel sliced and forms melted into shapes of Weeks’ wicked imagining.
 
Baker had a moderate budget and his primary focus was to install Corbin Fleetliner hard bags. Problem was, Corbin did not make Fleetliners for the Raider and the closest ones to it were designed for single exhaust pipes running down each side of the bike. Baker wanted a dual-pipe setup, on one side.
 
“He wanted to modify some preferred parts. You never really know until you do the project what kind of challenges you may run into,” said Weeks, “it’s the toughest and most motivating aspect of my work—how can I make the undoable doable. But that’s why they come to me.”
 
Star Raider Revision
The cost associated with customizing the Yamaha/Star Motorcycles' Raider with hard bags is rather cheap when you consider the expensive price of a well-built bagger.Star Raider Revision
As a large portion of the motorcycle population aged, primarily Baby Boomers who fueled record smashing cruiser sales for well over a decade, the creature comforts and practicality of baggers came into demand. All those bells and whistles, bags and compartments, louvers, sound systems, butt massaging seats, heated grips and bug repellent windshields can get expensive quickly, especially when making modifications.
 
The Yamaha/Star Motorcycles’ Raider retailed for about $13,200 in 2008, which creates a healthy cushion for customizing when compared to plunking down a Tour Pak of cash for a well-built bagger. Baker couldn’t find one he liked that was affordable. “But he had a very fun ride in the Raider and decided to transform it rather than sell it, put that money toward his dream bike and still be left far short,” said Weeks, “We’re in the making the dream come true business, and it was time to go to work.”
 
As simple as the finished product looks, added Weeks, “it can be a lot of work, and creating a seamless profile that appears factory made but is far from it, can be harder than just going radical. At the end of the day this Raider will still cost much less than buying a whole new bike, but what really matters is that Donnie can’t wipe the grin off his face.
 
“Unfortunately,” added Weeks, “there is a certain amount of waste that comes with a custom job. Some clients request parts that come as kits and much of it cannot be used. That stuff goes into the what-the-hell-can-I-make-out-of-this-crap pile.” Lucky Devil’s clientele has evolved into a high concentration of engineers and, according to Weeks, a lot of repeat business as he developed a reputation for being the go-to guy when the self-wrenching guys with the post-graduate degrees can’t figure things out.

Like how to mount a set of hard bags that cannot be mounted to a Star Raider, and make the whole setup convertible.
Star Raider Revision
The fender struts were given threaded mounts for the bags, allowing it to be stipped down and returned to its original form.
Weeks fabricated fender struts with threaded mounts for the handmade bag supports. These were made so the bike can be stripped down and returned to its original profile. The entire rear end and how it connects to the frame has been modified for added strength.
 
Said Weeks: “The rear fender has cross supports inside the lower section of the fender to help support the bags and brackets. so we glassed the left side in and left the right open for the dual-stack Stripper pipes, capping them with our custom tips. We also filled in two of the three chrome pockets completely and left part of the third to match the chrome trim on the tank.”
 
The Raider is an inviting machine. It’s tough enough to bar hop with the best breeds of hotrod, but gentle and confident enough for long-haul rides into distant parts unknown. The 113-cubic inch (1852cc) V-Twin’s tree stump ripping torque and smooth, upward curve of its powerband would turn any biker bad. But whether badass, goodass or nice ass, the chopper-esque power-cruiser turned bagger by any name is a powerful performer. Baker’s bike is now equipped with that rare mix of style and function.
 
All that’s left is for Baker to look cool, ride hard, get his soul back and send us a damn postcard once in awhile.

                                                                                Star Raider Custom Specs:
Engine: Yamaha 113-inch air-cooled V-Twin
Cases: Stock
Rods: Stock
Pistons: Stock
Cylinders: Stock
Heads: Stock
Cam: Stock
Ignition: Stock
Carb: Stock
Pipes: Hard Chrome Stripper Pipes with custom turn-out tips by Lucky Devil
Air Cleaner: K&N
Transmission: Yamaha
Primary: Yamaha
Clutch: stock
Frame: Yamaha
Rake: Stock
Stretch: Stock
Forks: Stock
Fork length (+ or -): Stock
Triple Trees: Yamaha
Additional rake in trees: Stock
Rear Suspension: Yamaha
Rear Shocks: Stock
Front wheel: Yamaha
Rear wheel: Yamaha
Front Tire (size and make): Metzeler E3 120 /70/21
Rear Tire (size and make): 240/40/18
Front Brake: Stock

Rear Brake: Stock
Fuel Tank: Stock/Custom Dash inserts by Webslinger, Joe Kinnikin (http://www.stargis.net/webslinger/index.htm)
Oil Tank: Yamaha
Fenders: Custom Chrome Front fender (for H-D application). The rear fender was made using a 9.5-inch wide blank for the upper section and the lower section was hand-formed from flat sheet metal.
Handlebars: Paul Yaffe
Risers: Yamaha
Hand Controls: Yamaha /with custom throttle lock
Grips: stock
Foot Controls: Yamaha
Pegs: stock
Sissy bar: none
Headlight: Stock
Taillight: RWD taillight/plate mount insert, metal pocket in fender by Lucky Devil
Painter: Kent Weeks
Color: Factory Black Metallic X, color match on custom parts by Fishmaster
Graphics: None
Powder coating: Yamaha
Polishing: None
Molding: Kent and Regan/Lucky Devil Metal Works
Electrical: Kent Weeks
Seat: Yamaha

Donnie Baker’s Raider Revision
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Star Raider Revision
Star Raider Revision
Builder: Kent Weeks
Company: Lucky Devil Metal Works
Phone: 281-477-3590
Email address: Kent@luckydevilmetalworks.com
Web Address: www.luckydevilmetalworks.com
Photographer: RFR/Richard Roesler
Photographer Contact: rwr25@yahoo.com
 
Name of bike: The Mistress
Owner: Donnie “Big Dog” Baker
Year/Make: 2008 Yamaha Raider
Fabrication: Lucky Devil Metal Works
Assembly: Kent Weeks, with some late night help from Donnie, Randy and Jason
Build time: Six months 
 
Favorite aspect of bike: Donnie just loves the custom wide rear end, and having a custom bagger like no other!
 
Special thanks to: Jennifer Baker for understanding Donnie's motorcycle addiction and Holly for tolerating Kent's absence!

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Comments
harleysquasher   January 8, 2012 08:30 AM
I love the bags, I put bags on mine and I like them.I do a lot of riding so you need to carry stuff.I wouldn't have gone with the handle bars, but each t there on. The want ta be, bikers that whine about the raider (don't know)they are what I like to call PASSED, on the road. Not many bike companies even have a bike this big. Yes there are some but not many.
doug o -mr  December 30, 2010 01:07 PM
raiders are not ment to be baggers...... put bags on a croch rocket.
ugly.
Kent Weeks -Nice comments guys!  October 24, 2010 07:01 PM
Sounds like some of you are too focused on talking trash to realize that the guy got what makes "him" happy, Not me, not you or the next guy. The project was built for one man and one man only and all it has to do is make him happy, if it were built for any one of us I'd say the design and components used might be very different. Seems to me that no mater what the style a project has or who thinks it looks cool enough or performs the way they want it to it's cool enough that people can have it done their way, I am personally thankful that takes all kinds to make a world. . . . .keeps things interesting don't you think?

To those that deserve to hear it, lighten up, put your money where your mouth is and show us all what you like or can do. . . .and have a nice day while your at it!
Scooter -Bad Bars  September 19, 2010 07:19 AM
What is with the idiot handlebars. I thought only Harley morons ruined a bike with crap like that.
LostDog -Raider Love!  August 12, 2010 03:43 PM
Big Ron's welcome to his opinion, but I've seen a lot more people trading to a Raider vs a Raider for something else.

My basicly stock Raider gets a lot more compliments than my brother in laws Softail Custom HD and that's after saving $5000 between the two.

That leaves the option of taking that $5k and making a heluva custom. It would take him that much alone to be competitive in performance.
Nick -fender  August 6, 2010 08:07 PM
The front fender is a huge improvement over the stock item.

The rest of the bike is not to my taste, but the bags are nicely integrated.


GB -Big Ron  August 6, 2010 05:48 AM
gotta argee with ya. Yamaha makes a great motor but that bike is frigging ugly. at least it looks better than the stock one with those funky pipes.
iliketoys -Love my Raider  August 5, 2010 04:10 PM
I recently bought a Raider, and I have to say that I am consistently getting compliments on it. People go out of their way to stop me on the streets and in parking lots to ask me about my bike. I work in a large company where many people don't know each other, and I hear folks talking about how much they like my bike while they are walking down the hallway past my office. Personally, I think it looks great. It's not for everyone, but it's for me. To each their own. The bike has won a lot of awards, and for great reasons. I like all the other bikes you mentioned, too Big Ron. I just like the Raider better.
Big Ron -The Raider is even more confused than ever  August 5, 2010 04:01 PM
I always thought the designers of the Raider were kind of like Young Frankenstein. Its as if they had a box full of parts, threw them together and waived there magic wand, said abra cadabra and presto here it is. The bike is totally out of scale with the pipes and the rake and the squated tail; it is ugly. Now these guys have made it uglier. Dear Yamaha, Star or whoever you are; you have the potential for a great bike with one of the best v-twin engines I have had the priviledge of riding; but please get in touch with your creative sides and design something streetable and beautiful. The Stratoliner doesnt handle well in curves, the floorboards drag easier than a fatboy and the raider has way too much rake, too wide of a rear tire, too tall of a front tire and is flat out ugly. Draw something from HD, there engines do not perform at the same level but there styling is fantastic. The fatboy, road king, wide glide, street glide etc.. all have great lines and symetry. The reveals on the tires is spot on and they all have a central theme. The Suzuki M109 has a distinct character; it looks badd @$$. The Triumphs and the Nortons all have great styling. Please learn from them and quit producing ugly bikes.