Readers and their Rides

Tony Stiles and His ’78 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide

Written by  January 31, 2007

I first met Tony Stiles back in September, 2004, at the 29th Annual ABATE of Kansas National Labor Day Rally at Paradise Point, Lake Perry, Kansas. While on my way to the vendor area I stopped by one of the camps along the way to take a closer look at a Kawasaki chopper that was parked in the grass next to the road. It reminded me a lot of the Honda 750 chopper I rode back in the 70s, and I struck up a conversation with the owner, Tony Stiles. Tony was camped out with his brother Alan and several friends. He was more than happy to tell me all about his ’75 Kaw and explained the huge dent in his gas tank, which was the result of some guy in a truck accidentally bumping into Tony’s bike and knocking it over earlier that same day. Tony seemed to be taking it in stride (a lot better than I would have) and wasn’t about to let it ruin his weekend. After taking a photo of Tony on his bike, I headed on to the vendor area and wished them good luck.

I didn’t run into Tony again until the ABATE rally the following year. This time, he was riding his ’78 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, which at the time was dark green. During my visit with the Stiles brothers this year, they invited me join them for dinner. After dinner we had a few more drinks and I found out that Tony and Alan build bikes and specialize in custom frames, engine rebuilds, motor upgrades, frame modifications and metal fabrication. They do such good work we decided to feature Alan’s custom Big Bear chopper on the cover of our December 2006 issue.

Over the past few years we’ve become good friends and often hang out together at the various bike shows and events in and around the KC area. I like to call Tony our #1 fan, because, believe it or not, he has our Cycle Connections logo tattooed on his left shoulder. Now, how cool is that!

Since Tony is our #1 fan, and since we’ve taken so many photos of him and his bike I figured it was time we featured him in the Readers & Their Rides section of this month’s issue.

CC: Tony, what is your occupation?
Tony: I’m self-employed.

CC: Do you have any hobbies other than motorcycling and building bikes?
Tony: Yes, wine making, wood working and pool.

CC: How long have you been riding?
Tony: I’ve been riding about 45 years.

CC: What was your first bike?
Tony: My first bike was a homemade 50cc Honda, which I chopped using water pipe. I was 13 at the time.

CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Tony: I’ve owned 14 bikes.

CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Tony: Three. My 1978 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, a 1971 Ironhead Sportster, and I still have my 1975 Kawasaki chopper.

CC: What do you like most about your ’78 Electra Glide?
Tony: I built it myself. It is more or less a Fat Boy/Shovel.

CC: What is your dream bike?
Tony: My dream bike is a Harley-Davidson Deuce because I think they’re great looking and fast!

CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Tony: My most memorable ride is the annual Run with the Leaves in Warsaw, Missouri with my brother, Alan.

CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Tony: I belong to ABATE of Kansas.

CC: Which motorcycle rallies & events have you attended and which is your favorite?
Tony: Run with the Leaves, JCI Poker Run, the Polar Bear Run and Jeff’s Run.

CC: Do you have a favorite bike night hangout?
Tony: I like to meet my friends at FUEL and watch the girls dance on the bar.

CC: How many tattoos do you have, and which is your favorite?
Tony: I have tattoos all over, and at last count, I believe it was 31. My favorite is on my hands, which is an X-ray of my own bones.

CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Tony: I really like group riding because of the camaraderie.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Tony: Skip, Jack, Hippy, Jeff, Timmy Wane, Alan & Ed.

CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the best rider?
Tony: My brother, Alan.

CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the worst rider?
Tony: I guess it would be Ed, because he rides all over the place on the road.

CC: Thanks for the interview. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Tony: Ha! I guess this would be a good time to let all the women out there know I’m single, I’m 55 going on 45, and I own my own house!

Interview by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder and Stripe