My friend Dusty Ciborski inadvertently inspired me to build this bike without foot pegs. The first time I saw Dusty’s panhead, I thought it was so rad but that it was also kind of ridiculous that he didn’t have any foot pegs! Haha, but I was proven wrong. Once I started riding with him I realized that he could handle that thing just fine… and so he clearly didn’t actually need foot pegs. He just rests his right foot on the oil pump and it all works out. There aren’t really any rules for these things when you think about it. Yeah from a style standpoint, some recipes are perhaps safer than others. But really, if you have a weird idea… just do it. If it works, that’s all that really matters. My rule has always been “if it can go at least 75 miles per hour and at least 75 miles per tank, then it’s a motorcycle.” As long as you can do that, the rest is up to you.
Owner: Chris Graves
Year/Make/Model: 1959 H-D Stroker Panhead
Fabrication: Quite a bit
Build time: 4 months of very little sleep
Year/Type/Size: 1959 H-D, 91 in^3
Carburetor: Super E
Air Cleaner: Graves modified
Type / Brand: Genuine Denver’s Springer. Do yourself a favor and call Mondo at Denver’s. He actually answers the phone and returns your calls.
Paint by: Darryl DeKeyser (@darrylrotten). Busted his ass like there’s no tomorrow. I think he worked 26 hours straight on the frame.
Plating/Polishing: Terry down in Racine did most of the polishing. Cheater Carl Urbaniak is the man and hooked up all the chrome.
Powdercoating: Did some stuff in my basement
Biltwell Torker Grips and a "$7 eBay mirror."
Front Fender: Oh, nah it’s just my face that blocks the rain.
Rear Fender: Lowbrow Customs Manta Ray 4-3/4" steel fender - great fenders FYI
Gas Tank: Lowbrow Customs Frisco Mount P-Nut Tank - great tanks FYI.I just modified this one to have hidden mounts and moved the filler bung forward about an inch.
Handlebars: Graves- 304 SS
Grips: Biltwell Grips (thanks to Majik Mike)
Mirrors: Machined a mount for a $7 ebay mirror
Hand Controls: N/A
Foot Controls: Pangea Speed ARC clutch
Headlight: My buddy Majik Mike gave it to me. Can’t remember who makes it but it’s bright as hell.
Taillight: I made the housings from 304SS and integrated them into the sissy bar. The LED clusters were just off-the-shelf units.
Turn Signals: what…..?
License Mount: Graves- made from 304SS and tucked in right next to the wheel.
Seat: Adam at Pierce Street Seats wrapped it. He had it done in like 3 days!
Custom & Special Details or Accessories:
A lot of pieces of the frame are stainless parts that were made on the lathe. Ignition is a Morris G5 mag. I made a custom crossover tube and shaft for rear brake, the sissybar mounts to fender with a single ¾” bolt. There are a lot of little handmade details on this bike.
This motor sounds so cool. Kind of like a top fuel dragster. The crank is 4-3/4” stroke. That’s a lot of stroke! I’m really happy with this engine. I used an Andrews number 7 cam and this motor thumps real good.
This bike was actually built where I work today. It’s such a trip. Being that this bike was built in 1959, it was put together right here at Harley-Davidson Motor Company on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee. This was before AMF bought the company and opened the York, PA assembly plant. There’s a ton of history here at Juneau avenue. And there’s so much history in every one of these old bikes. At this point, most of them have been taken apart multiple times and you never really know what you’ll find. You just have to look for some clues…
I was talking to Andy Carter from Pangea Speed the other day and he told me he likes to stick little ‘time capsules’ inside of frame tubes and other parts that he builds. It was cracking me up so bad, haha. He said he’ll stick a bunch of porn pics in there and write little messages, and usually there’s a dick drawn somewhere. I was dying haha. But he has a point. It’s so neat all the history some of the older bikes have. They’re objects that will survive for generations and can be rebuilt time and time again. I think Andy figures people will find these little surprises like 50 years from now and will just laugh their asses off… just like I did when he told me about it. I’ve never found anything like that before, but hopefully I’ll cut a frame apart one day and just find the motherload.
Words by: Chris Graves
Photos by: Ken Carvajal