Photos and text by Tyler Ludlow + Bikernet.com
Note: Bikernet.com commissioned Biker Pros to write a profile story of Roys Toys Customs. The following is our article.
Stories do not always have to be linear to be memorable. Ask any one who has seen Pulp Fiction.
It would seem natural for someone to join the police force at a young age, and take up work in a machine shop to learn how to customize motorcycles later in life. Most riders ride Harley-Davidsons many more years than they’ve run a custom motorcycle shop. Roy Martin of Roys Toys Customs in Centennial, CO decided to do the inverse.
In fact, Martin couldn’t actually give a damn what the world thinks of his timing.
The average motorcycle shop owners can show you scrapbook after scrapbook of bikes they’ve pushed through shows, and the slow, grinding, transition in going from local motorcycle enthusiast to renowned custom builder. Roys Toys Customs are only concerned with the future. He is hooked on bike building. That’s why he opened the doors to Roys Toys Customs in 1994— the same year he bought his first Harley-Davidson.
“Back then, in ’93, you had to go the local H-D dealer and actually order the bike, you couldn’t just drive up and ride out on something like how you can today. Nine of us ordered them, and we waited for months,” Martin said. Eventually, he proudly rolled out of the dealership with a white and silver ‘94 Heritage Softail.
“I remember my wife telling me I better know how to put that thing back together,” Martin remembered with laughter. That bike would be his first custom.
This is the kind of whirlwind we in the motorcycle industry love. However, Martin’s expertise didn’t fall from the sky. He has a background of colorful expertise in wrenching, which began in his formative years.
“In Colorado you could get a decently sized dirt bike you could afford on a part time job, and there was plenty of space to ride. We rode them to school, and took girls and friends around town. It would be hard to imagine anything else. They all looked the same, so taking them apart and making them stand out was an instinct. We did all our own paint too.”
“I tuned a lot of crankshafts. If you sent out parts for your car or bike in the Colorado area back then, I can almost guarantee you I worked on them,” Roy mentioned humbly.
He also jumped into the glitz and glamour of the go-fast world in placing some classic cars in the local shows. His favorite was a 1967 Camaro RS SS, with a license place that read “DROOL.” Martin left the business of aiding the local street and track racers in 2001 to become, of all things, a police officer. It takes a flexible mind to imagine being on the side of the highway in your 10-second GTO, pulled over by the guy who serviced it.
“The first Harley-Davidson I took to a show was a 1995 Softail. It was my brothers.” Roy, added a S&S carb, six-speed trans and every other thing one can do to make a Softail move faster. After the final assembly, they took the bike down to the Thursday ‘Bike Night’ at the local Hooters, and tossed down a couple of folding chairs for the evening.
Just kidding. They entered the 2005 AMD World Championship hosted at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. They entered in the Modified Harley-Davidson class and placed as one of the top ten builders.
“It was wild. I was really just honored to have been invited, and we had an amazing time with all the world class builders,” Roy reminisced. “It’s was an amazing time, I never would’ve imagined how great things went.”
The Roys Toys Custom clan has been enjoying life in the spotlight since, with invitations to major events such as the H-D International Pro Show at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, and the OC Bike Fest by C.I.A.. When his reputation as a world-class builder grew, Roy was able to move his shop to a brand new facility he built next to his family home. Martin is aided by his daughter Nikki,, his three grandchildren and helpers, Atijana , Aiden, and Adrijan.
“It’s been amazing having everyone around, and we are a team,” Roy beamed. “Adrijan (age 7) has really got the bug, all my grandchildren do.” Roy recounted when Adrijan saved shop time by making an auxiliary test gas tank from a coffee can and coat hanger instead of having to tape up and bolt on the real one.
Roy will continue to turn heads with customs, but at the end of the day his philosophy is for customers to have something that they can actually experience and enjoy.
“Roy’s customization program is such that anyone can ride his bikes across country and they can be serviced at any Harley-Davidson dealership. They are designed to be ridden,” a customer said.
This is a powerful statement considering what it takes to service bikes of this caliber. Many custom bikes come with a virtual pre-requisite for extradition back to the original shop in the event of an emergency. That’s not a comforting last thought when your kickstand pops up off the pavement for a week-long road trip.
Roy shows a lot of insight as a high mileage rider in these builds. All of his bikes wear Ridewright wheels and 6-speed gearboxes for true highway enjoyment and reliability. His freshest build, Beelzebub, is a 113-inch face-melter that looks like it rode all the way from Hell just to take your mother out to a nice seafood dinner, and never call her again.
Roy of course tuned and machined the S&S power plant to be race ready. Every piece of sheet metal is hand formed. There are 115 hours wrapped up in the seat alone (three times the length of the average exorcism). A detachable fairing allows the rider to feel the breeze and make direct eye contact with sneering nuns on warm Sunday mornings.
“Doing this right now is where I am supposed to be,” Martin reflected, thinking back on this wild entrance into the custom motorcycle world. We can all expect a lot more to come.
Follow Roy Martin and Roys Toys Customs’ bikes and eventsfor their appearance at the J&P Cycle’s Ultimate Builder at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show.