Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson out of Baldwin Park, California, didn’t have to look far for inspiration on their 2019 Battle of the Kings winner. Southern California is a hotbed of the performance Harley scene, motorcycles with swagger that blur the lines between cruiser, tourer, and hot rod. Cruising the nearby beaches should be declared the official California pastime because on any given weekend you’ll find countless motorcycles riding up and down Pacific Coast Highway. Given these two local resources to draw upon, it’s little wonder Laidlaw’s FXGTS Coast Glide is a reflection of the current SoCal scene.

“Our project is a throwback to the FXRT styling with a Southern California twist, paying tribute to the Pacific Coast Highway and the Southern California influence on modern performance cruisers,” said Laidlaw Harley’s Crew Chief Keith Hurt.

The project started as a stock Harley-Davidson Sport Glide, chosen because Laidlaw H-D liked the Sport Glide bags a lot and wanted to do something with the new Softail chassis. They named it the “FXGTS Coast Glide” with “FX” representing the dual-disc brake front end, “GT” for Grand Touring and “S” for both the sport styling and as a nod to the base Sport Glide. “Coast Glide” meanwhile is a direct reference to LA’s famed Pacific Coast Highway.

Congrats Laidlaw Harley-Davidson for winning the 2019 Battle of the Kings with its wicked Coast Glide. 

The 2019 Battle of the Kings winner features a retro FXRT fairing dressed in custom paint and club-style T-bars on 12-inch Kraus Isolated Risers. For those who like to rock when they ride, speakers are tucked inside the fairing. Laidlaw did a bit of custom fab work on the front in order to run more powerful dual disc brakes instead of the stock single rotor. The revised front end sees the addition a wrap-around fender, too, along with a new touring wheel. To give it a bit more grunt Laidlaw swapped out the stock air intake and exhaust for a freer-breathing air cleaner and a Vance & Hines exhaust with a Fuelpak FP3 Autotuner. Mid-controls make for a more sporting riding position while a leather Saddleman Step Up seat with diamond-tuck stitching will help keep riders locked into place when they drop the clutch on this bad boy.

One of the stipulations of the Battle of the Kings contest was 50% of the parts used had to be genuine Harley accessories. The Coast Glide features a slew of parts from Harley’s new Dominion collection including grips, footpegs, upper rocker box, cam, derby, and transmission side covers along with a fresh Dominion outer primary cover on the flipside.  What’s cool about the Dominion collection is it comes with inserts in different styles and colors which adds another level of customization. Laidlaw chose the Brushed Orange option which really pop against the predominantly black and orange paint scheme.

Laidlaw Harley's custom Sport Glide traveled to Italy to compete against four other international winners at EICMA 2019. (Photo courtesy EICMA) 

Laidlaw’s road to the winner’s circle was a long and arduous road. Harley’s Battle of the Kings first challenged its dealerships to take a stock Harley-Davidson model and turn it into a unique custom build with a budget no bigger than half the cost of the original model. Part of the challenge included partnering with local trade school students to help with the build, so Laidlaw teamed up with UTI/MMI for the project. The motorcycles first went through a popular vote, then to a panel of Harley-Davidson judges who narrowed it down to winners in three categories, Dirt, Chop, and Race. Those bikes were then voted on by Harley-Davidson dealers during the annual dealer meeting in Milwaukee to decide the U.S. Custom King Champion. Laidlaw’s Coast Glide was then shuttled to Italy for the 2019 EICMA show to compete against the international Battle of the Kings winners. When the votes were tallied, Laidlaw was declared the 2019 Battle of the Kings champion, edging out Warr’s Harley-Davidson out of the United Kingdom, Thunderbike Harley-Davidson from Germany, Calgary Harley-Davidson out of Canada, and Harley-Davidson Querétaro from Mexico.