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Michigan Mike's Flathead Bobber

You Find The Coolest Things In People's Basements

Photography By Balls

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Click on the pictures to see them Xtra Large! 
It’s funny the kind of interesting things you sometimes find in people’s basements. Take the 45-inch flathead engine that powers this neat little bike; it came from the basement of Mike and Brian Yensch’s uncle. That was a nice starting point for their project. 
The two brothers went to town on the 1961 Servicar that used to house the 45-incher and extracted it as delicately as possible. They could very well have used the Servicar’s original frame, but it would have required to chop it up in pieces. You see, they just didn’t have the heart to do it, and we praise them for that. Besides, the idea was to build a two-wheeler and not a trike. 
Back to the little flatty. It’s paired to a 3-speed transmission with reverse, and it quickly found a new home between the tattered rails of another Servi frame that the brothers sourced on eBay. The poor bastard had seen better days as the tail section had been removed eons ago, but it was a good start, an even better deal, and nothing that the Yensch brothers couldn’t handle. You have to know that the two rascals own Devilution Cycles in Newport, Michigan, a motorcycle joint that handles everthing from regular service and maintenance to full-tilt custom jobs. 
From there Michael fabricated a tail section for the partial frame they had salvaged. This allowed him to get very creative with the shapes, since he didn’t have to preserve anything valuable like a rare vintage frame. He shortened the downtubes of the chopped-up Servi and altered both the neck and backbone before moving on to the front end. The OEM Harley-Davidson fork is now 6 ½ inches shorter than stock so as to make the bike sit as low as possible. In a way that’s what you want when you are dealing with an engine as tiny as a 45; it makes everything look better this way… more in proportion. 
With this in mind, a custom gas tank was fabbed up, while Twisted Choppers provided a custom oil tank that sits vertical with relocated bungs. 
The completely rigid rides on 21-inch rims front and back, making it one lightweight little monster. Let’s just say that it’s a mean bar hopper that still runs the 3-speed with reverse, now converted to foot operation. Michael laughs that this bobber is not for your entry-level rider and takes a good deal of expertise to operate.
Anyway, fresh out of the shop, the brothers entered the bike in the Metzeler bike show in Sturgis a couple year back and took home a Best in Class trophy! That’s quite an achievement for a little 45 Flatty rescued from a basement.

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Reader Comments

When I was in the US Navy and stationed in Philly PA , one of my associates had a '48 45" that he had destroyed the original transmission on. The only replacement he could find came off of a servicar (3 fwd 1 Rv ).

The bike had a toggle switch fer the ignition , just flip it to the on position and kick! Well, when he left it sittin' outside a likker store just a shade too long, this useless little scrote decided to steal it!

Kid ran over, flipped on the ignition , ass on bike , first kick started it , shove the shifter into first gear, blip the throttle and dump the clutch and BACKWARDS at full throttle thru a plate glass window !!!

Bob King
Greenock, G, United Kingdom
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Editor Response Terrific security device.
Love the 21s at both ends. I want to do a sporty that way, only with 120/70 x 21 tires. Paughco frame and springer...

Farley, MO
Monday, October 4, 2010
Yeah, cool looking rig, good for buzzin down to the shop.

Mick _aka_Atlas
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Editor Response Thanks, he did a helluva job.
Perfect bike. Every detail is just right. Well ok, the seat is kind of wierd, looks like a nun's shoe, but what the heck......
Kudos to the brothers!

houma, LA
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Editor Response Wait a minute. Sure, the bike is cool, but no rear fender or chain guard? It's an art piece, not a rider.

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