Michael Lichter Photography

Ken’s Factory Gang Star Shovelhead Chopper

Ken Nagai’s all-aluminum V-twin motor lives in a rigid

Way back in 1966 when Harley-Davidson conjured forth its Shovelhead engine, the big news was that the new motor made 10 percent more power over its Panhead sire. The Shovelhead also packed aluminum cylinder heads capped by that famous rocker box assembly we all know and love. Ken’s Factory took that idea a little further with the “Gang Star” build you see here.

For this build, shop owner and mastermind Kenji “Ken” Nagai of Nagoya, Japan, scratch-built the generator Shovelhead custom with billet aluminum cylinders and heads as well as Ken’s Factory’s Shovelhead rocker boxes. Ken likes to blend new technology with the old-school looks he so enjoys. If you’ve ever seen the parts he creates and sells, though, you probably already know that. Ogle the images of this bike and you’ll find he mixed the two pretty well throughout the project. Its overall style is a Shovelhead chopper with a girder fork but the design carries modern touches throughout.

The end result of much cutting, welding, and grinding is what you see before you: a rigid-frame rolling chassis cradling an all-aluminum Shovelhead mill with a factory four-speed transmission, totally in the buff, with not a drop of paint to be seen on it.

almost stock custom heads

This is what I mean about classic meets new: Ken’s custom heads bear some resemblance to stock Shovelhead-ery, but only just. Between the ribbing and those bolts, they’re also definitely their own animal.

Michael Lichter Photography

straight risers

Those straight risers pack their own twist in the design department.

Michael Lichter Photography

oil line details

Detail like these oil lines only add to the industrial look of the machine.

Michael Lichter Photography

kens factory brass signature

Ken’s Factory signed its work here in brass, as it often does.

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all-aluminum engine

The all-aluminum engine is a work of art even up close.

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hinge assembly in front of seat

How about the hinge assembly at the front of the sprung seat?

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Kens factory shovelhead custom

And, yes, that girder fork is a Ken’s Factory child too.

Michael Lichter Photography