Our Sister Sites:

Bikernet Trikes Bikernet Baggers Bikernet Blog
Ride Forever - Bikernet.com
Wednesday Edition


Doug Coffey's RetroMod Panhead Part 1

RetroMod Rigid Panhead Concept and Frame

Text and Photos by Doug Coffey
9/19/2013


Share this story:

 
 
Having been in the aftermarket Harley business since 1969, I have pretty much done everything  from lacing wheels and custom painting to establishing a performance specialty manufacturing company known as Head Quarters.
 
 
Over the years everything in Harley-Davidson aftermarket world has evolved. Today finds old timers like myself better skilled with better tools and far better parts to work with than we had back in the day.
 
I have built probably thirty motorcycles from the frame up  and they have all been builds that kept pace with what the current factory offerings were and the style of the day. The latter builds being Evos and Twin Cams in rubber mount swingarm frames.
 
That being said, I didn't find I got the same buzz I used to get when I first started out building those rigid framed choppers back in the early 1970's.
 
Some people count sheep to go to sleep. I found myself planning a new rigid frame chopper to send me off to La La Land for a good night's sleep.
 
This went on for two or three years before I decided the time had come to act upon my dreams.
 
After twenty five years of manufacturing performance parts for my company Head Quarters, I realized most of the people I had met over that period had no idea I could actually build a custom bike completely by myself so I decided I would do everything possible in my own shop.
 
As I preferred the look of the choppers built in the 1960's and early 70's but preferred the technology of the parts offered today, I refer to my build as a Retro Mod Chopper combining both old style and new improved parts.
 
Allow me to show you how this new bike evolved. 
 
 
 
 
 
The first thing I needed was a frame and I acquired this mid-70’s Shovelhead frame with a Fabricator Kevin hardtail welded on.
Other than the missing sidecar sidecar loops, it has a strong resemblance to a 1957 straight leg rigid frame. Exactly what I wanted.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Now it was time to get busy and clean up the frame by cutting, grinding and yes, milling unsightly castings off the frame.
 
 
 
Here you see the frame in my milling machine so I can remove the cast in steering lock boss from the neck area.
Here you see the frame in my milling machine so I can remove the cast in steering lock boss from the neck area.

 
There now that looks much better.
There now that looks much better.

 
 
 
Here I cleaned up the top motor mount
Here I cleaned up the top motor mount

 
Then I removed the top and lower fatbob gas tank mounts.
Then I removed the top and lower fatbob gas tank mounts.

 
 
I had to do some rear belt clearance work. Those cuts in the frame will get filled in with 1/4 inch steel plate to get my frame strength back.
I had to do some rear belt clearance work. Those cuts in the frame will get filled in with 1/4 inch steel plate to get my frame strength back.

 
 
 
 
I needed to replace the cross bar for one that would enable me to slide the battery in and out of the oil tank. here you can see it in place ready to be welded. Once I had it tacked in place I was able to remove the original cross bar. 
 
 
The right side axle plates on the old rigid frames have an elongated slot for the purpose of easier wheel removal. The old bike used drum brakes and the extra length in the slot enabled a long Allen wrench to slide in and remove the five bolts that held the wheel to the drum.
 
 
Since I would be using a more modern disc brake wheel I wouldn’t need the long slot so I close it up to match the left side. 
 
 
 
Finally a frame back from the sand blaster. If you compare with the original frame you will see I have done more modification work than covered here in these images, I will be explaining some of those modifications over the next few articles 
 
 

Share this story:



Back to Doug Coffey's RetroMod Panhead, Bike Builds




Reader Comments


When will we see more of this build ? First two installments were great left me wanting more, ,

Tom K
ogden, UT
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Editor Response It's up on Bikernet right now.
--Bandit

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Email
City
Country
v
State/Province
v
Comments
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.
Submit
Clear