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Cole Rogers from Cycle Fabrications in Lebanon, Ohio

By Bandit and Michael Lichter with photos by Michael Lichter

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This is a kick-off piece. For years I attended every show in the country and met all the old and new builders. As my travel budget decreased and my desire to work in the shop and go to Bonneville increased, I missed out on some of the shows and the chance to meet new builders.

With the help of Michael Lichter, we are going to introduce Bikernet Readers to new, young, less well-known builders. The first one is Cole Rogers, from Lebanon, Ohio, who is 46 and has been building bikes since he was 15, when his brother scored a 1972 BSA A-70L for $300, 750 Lightening. There were only 201 built.

The big bro rode it home and broke it. The five-year-older brother told Cole, “If you can get it running, you can ride it.” Cole peeled to the library, checked out a manual and went to work. His dad was a molecular physicist. He was familiar with libraries. His dad worked for the government during the Cold War, but he was cool, hands-on, did everything including mechanics, repairs and woodworking.

Until his dad passed, they continued to keep gramps ’59 Corvette up and running together.

Cole fixed the BSA and went for a ride. Done deal, he’s been messing with motorcycles ever since, builds one-off ground-up scooters for customers and has a significant product line. He built one of his first bikes with his pops, a Triumph. When Michael Lichter contacted him about a build for one of his Sturgis exhibits, Cole reworked the Triumph as a tribute to his dad. It’s featured below.

He builds his own frames, two styles of front ends, foot controls, bars, seat pans and handles the leather engraving. “I don’t paint or powder coat,” Cole added, “But I do lace and true wheels.”

Hell, he’s building a base guitar and working with his 10-year-old daughter, who is already playing more than one instrument.

Although most of his bikes contain the wild classic board track style, he builds them to fit his customers and they are rideable, agile and fun, not art objects. He builds a series of custom foot controls from forward, to mid, to semi-mid. His frame geometry stays under 36 degrees of rake. He drops the neck but keeps the handling clean. He uses .188 wall tubing, like Paughco for his frames and designed his first girder front end with the help of his dad. He doesn’t stretch the rear of frames to keep the handling tight and agile.

“Cole is a great hard-working builder, who’s work I have admired for a lot of years,” said Michael Lichter. “He has always built small tight bikes. It's his style. He also sells his unique front end and other parts.”

His line-up of parts includes two front ends, a springer and a girder, seats and seat pans, gas tanks, oil tanks, gas and oil tank caps, foot pegs, handlebars, frames, and now he’s working on jockey shift systems for Sportsters.

“He is a real family guy, so proud of his daughter who he is very involved with, and his wife is super cool,” said Michael, “She has a high-powered position with a pharmaceuticals company. She used to bring me bottles of Tylenol and other over the counter drugs, and she bakes great cookies!”

Cole is a big fan of Evo Sportsters for his style of bike. “They make a terrific, low-buck drivetrains for a sharp scooters,” Cole said. He also rebuilds and carefully balances all of his customer’s engines to minimize vibration and make for a much smoother ride.

The Triumph Cole built as a tribute to his father.
The Triumph Cole built as a tribute to his father.

“I have photographed ten of Cole’s bikes, but only five of those are on our current website,” said Michael.

Cole is a sharp guy, who could do anything, but chose to build and ride custom motorcycles. I dig it, and I need to start a story, sorta like we studied the Code of the West and what it meant for various brothers. We need to discuss the reasons why a brother decides to become a biker, but even more. Why does a guy decide to be a biker and try to make a life in this dinky little industry full of outlaws and pitfalls? I know what it means to me, but what will happen if I try to put it into words?

Check out Cole’s bikes and hang on for the next builder report.


Description: Rocket to Russia is Cole Rogers’ tribute to his late father who was a physicist in rocket technology. The 1970 Triumph engine is sitting in a custom frame built by Cole at his shop 138 Cycle Fabrication.

Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD. August 1, 2019.

“Sid”, built from a 1970 Bonneville Triumph by Cole Rogers of 138 Cycle Fabrications in Lebanon, OH.

Photographed by Michael Lichter at the Columbus Easyriders Show on February 22, 2015.

Description: A brown, board track style Shovelhead built by Cole Rogers of 138 Cycle Fabrication in Springboro, OH.

Photographed by Michael Lichter during the Easyriders Bike Show in Columbus, OH on February 9, 2017.

Description: 138 Cycle Fabrication's “Simon” 1970 custom Triumph by Cole Rogers.

Photographed by Michael Lichter at the Easyriders Bike Show in Columbus, OH. February 8, 2018.


Description: Cole Roger's1972 Harley-Davidson 94" FX known as "The Cafe Killer."

Photographed by Michael Lichter on February 6, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.

Cole Rogers
138 Cycle Fabrication
7569 Woodbridge Ct.
Springboro, OH 45066

mobile (937) 478-2558
Instagram - @138cyclefab

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Reader Comments

This is what it is all about!

charlotte, NC
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Editor Response Thanks. Finished the headlight and taillight yesterday. Hit the magneto today.

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