“I built it with my dad”
it’s cold during the winter where I live, which makes it the perfect time for a ground-up bike project! This year I’m building a 45″ flathead-powered bobber with my youngest daughter. My first chop (back in 1971!) was a handshift 45 flathead. And while this engine is as dependable as a stone, it doesn’t make a lot of power. To me, that makes it the perfect engine for a low-dollar, first custom bike for a son, daughter, wife, — whoever. However, the drawback to using a 45 has always been the three-speed, handshift, foot-clutch transmission.
Thankfully, a few years ago Paughco came out with a hardtail frame that allows you to bolt in a Harley-Davidson 45″ flathead engine and Pan or Shovelhead four-speed, foot-shift transmission. That left one last glitch: how to connect them. BDL came to the rescue with an excellent belt drive system that does just that and gives you a modern clutch setup to boot.
Since Paughco has been a major player in the custom bike scene for decades, the crew there knew to design the frame so you can use Big Twin bike parts, of which Paughco makes many, to finish the build. We’re using a number of Paughco components on ours, namely 16″ chrome wheels front and rear, a chrome springer front end, gas tank, and oil tank.
What makes this build especially fun is that your son, daughter, etc. can do the build with you. This way, he fully understands how the bike went together. Of course, it also doesn’t suck that he’ll be able to say to whoever is admiring the bike, “I built it with my dad.”
Look for this build to start in a few issues. Of course, we’ll be showing you how to assemble the entire bike in our usual step-by step fashion. We’re also going to keep the sheet metal work to a minimum. After all, this is a beginner’s bike!
Chris’ Travel Tips
If you’re traveling without a full-face helmet on, a good set of riding glasses will keep dust and other minute debris out of your eyes. However, dust devils, strong crosswinds, lawn mowers, etc. can sometimes power past the best of eyewear. Whenever I encounter one of these common road hazards, I always close the eye on the side the blast is coming from. This protects me in two ways. First, it obviously protects the eye in the line of fire. Second, if stuff does get into my open eye, I can still see where I’m going with the one that was closed, so I can get out of harm’s way and stop in a safe location off the road to clean my affected eye.
See you on the road.