Beauty In Raw Form / '56 Harley Panhead FLH

The vision of the perfect chopper

The idea with this whole build was to build as skinny of a bike as possible in order to cut through the hectic traffic we so often see here around the NYC area, while still being functional. I have always liked the look of the single downtube-loop-style frames that were made by Motorshop decades ago. They gave such a great look with the early Harley Big Twin motors in them. Because I have a strange obsession with Panhead motors, it was a no-brainer that’s what I wanted to use on this bike. I have a natural tendency to lean toward aggressive-looking types of bikes when I draw pictures of them in my head. I try and do it where they don’t have any billet or modern-looking parts or accessories. I prefer more of an aggressive look with a blend of old parts. I also like my bikes to look like they are going fast while sitting still.

I had a vision of a lot of brushed and raw blasted stainless steel and aluminum for this one. I absolutely love the older show-style bikes from the early ’70s, but I’ve never been much of a fan of chrome “everything” typically seen on them. Instead I prefer to use a lot of aluminum and stainless steel and run them in their natural unpolished finishes. After mocking up the frame and drivetrain in the bike and getting a good platform of where I wanted the ride height to be, I began hand making a lot of pieces for the bike. The gas tank started out as a stock Sportster tank shell that I narrowed and slightly shortened and reshaped to where it had just the right flow with the frame.

This FLH is super snappy on the throttle and perfect to blast around on

The front end was pulled in as tight as I could while still having a bike that could be ridden. With the bike being a single downtube, forward controls would have looked out of place, so I went with a set of high-mount mid-controls. When I set out to do the exhaust, I had a vision of a really light line that followed the contour of the cam side on the Panhead motor and tucked in tight on every curve and crevice of the frame. I ended up doing them out of stainless steel and carried that brushed finish onto them as well.

In about six months’ time, I had the bike completely finished and took it out for its maiden voyage. It was a great feeling having something that can squeak through the tightest space between cars on the parkways. Combine that with the bike being super light due to the minimal amount of pieces on it and a lot of them being made from aluminum, and this FLH is super snappy on the throttle and perfect to blast around on.

Bike Owner Carmine Bellamore
Shop Visionary Cycle Products
Year/Make/Model 1956/H-D/FLH
Fabrication Visionary Cycle Products
Build Time 6 months
Year Manufacturer 1956/Panhead/74 in.
Builder East Coast Super Bikes/Visionary Cycle Products
Cases H-D
Cylinders H-D
Heads H-D
Carb S&S Super E
Air Cleaner Boyle Custom Moto
Exhaust Custom stainless by Visionary Cycle Products
Year/Manufacturer/Type 1956/4-speed hand-shifted ratchet top Cal Products Case
Clutch Rivera Pro clutch
Primary Drive BDL 1.5-in. belt
Year/Type Mullins chain drive/Single downtube loop frame
Rake/Stretch 30°/0 stretch
Front Super Narrow Glide
Triple Trees Wargasser
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Manufacturer Front/Type Akront/21x1.60
Hub Wargasser Hex Spool
Manufacturer RearType Akront/21x3.00
Hub Panhead Juice Drum
Manufacturer House of Kolor
**Colors* Brandywine Candy w/ hand-laid aluminum leaf scrollwork
Paint/Graphics Jakes Customs
Rear Fender Hand formed
Gas Tank Narrow by Visionary Cycle Products
Handlebars Lane Splitters by Visionary Cycle Products
Grips Baxter
Foot Controls High-mount mids by Main Drive Cycle
Headlight Finned aluminum 4.5 in.
Taillight Box style
Seat Custom by Visionary Cycle Products covered by Phoenix Interiors