Tyler Malinky’s Panhead Project

Garage-Built Custom Lowbrow Style, Part 2

1 The inverted V-shaped cross member between the seat on Tyler’s repop frame was misaligned by over 1/4 inch.

2 Using a 4-inch hand grinder with cut-off wheel, Tyler cut out the crooked cross member to make room for a straight replacement.

3 Tyler used 1-inch O.D. DOM tubing to fab a new cross tube. He used a 1-inch hole saw on the drill press to fish-mouth the tube ends to create an air-tight fit, then he TIG welded his new frame tube into place.

4 Lowbrow sells these handy steel tabs with alloy inserts and rubber isolators for installing gas tanks, but they work equally well for this modified oil bag retro fitment. Once completed, two tabs will hang downward off Tyler’s revised cross-member to secure the back top edge of the horseshoe oil bag. As you can see the left side has already been welded in place (arrow).

5 Coil springs sometimes rest unevenly around the hardware on solo seat pans, so Tyler made step washers (arrow) to shim up the gap between the spring and the hardware on his assembled solo seat.

6 There’s a goldmine of great aftermarket gear for garage builders strapped for talent and time. This chrome-plated Haifley Brothers seat looks great with Biltwell’s cast and polished stainless-steel seat hinge.

7 To get the seat exactly where he wanted it, Tyler placed the pan/hinge/spring assembly on the frame and eyeballed its location relative to the angles and surrounding parts on his dry build. After tacking the hinge bung and spring mounts to the frame, Tyler unbolted the seat and finish welded all three components.

8 To mount the fender on his frame’s new upper cross member, Tyler fish-mouthed a 1-inch-long section of 1-inch O.D. rod stock, then drilled and tapped it for 3/8 inch-16 hardware. A leather washer will protect the paint on the finished bike. Tyler chose a spun steel fender by Gas Box in Cleveland. This rugged fender is tailored to fit an Avon MKII Safety Mileage 18x4.00-inch tire. Knowing these specs in advance of ordering a custom-made fender is critical for buying the correct radius.

9 The stock tab on the repop frame works perfectly for mounting the bottom of the fender. Tyler fabbed and decorated an alloy spacer (arrow) on his lathe, then inserted a 3/8 inch-16 button head Allen cap screw through the fender and into the spacer before tightening it to the frame tab with a nut and washer.

10 It’s likely you’ll remove and reinstall your rear wheel and fender several times during the mounting process. Nothing looks jankier than a fender that doesn’t follow the circumference of the rear tire. Tyler taped sections of oil line around the rear tire to act as a spacer for fender alignment during his dry build.

11 Tyler’s design called for a proper sissybar to support the rear of his fender, and 9/16-inch O.D. stainless rod stock was used for this purpose. A flat sheet of steel and some bolt-on bungs were used to create a fab table for this project. The bungs serve as fulcrums for bending the heated up rod stock to create angles on the sissybar assembly.

12 This photo illustrates how two bolt-on bungs serve to create angles. After heating the stainless steel cherry red with an oxy-acetylene torch, Tyler laid the rod flat on his steel work surface and applied pressure. The white lines on the tabletop mark the angles Tyler was trying to mimic for the left- and right-hand sides of his sissybar uprights.

13 This photo shows the finished sissybar with cross member installed. It takes confidence, patience, and at least two pieces of rod stock to make a sissybar like this: one to get all the mistakes out of your system, and a second for doing the job right when the stakes are high.

14 Tyler used a section of his Gasbox fender as the bending buck for the cross member on his sissybar. After heating the middle of a two-foot section of rod stock cherry red, he pushed down on opposite ends of the rod using the fender cross section as his fulcrum.

15 Here’s how the sissybar looks in place. Once Tyler determines his sissybar’s proper angle relative to other lines on the dry build, he’ll weld counter-bored bungs on the sissybar to act as mounting points for the rear of the fender. We’ll show this step and other tips for customizing and assembly in part three of this story.

Last month Tyler Malinky at Lowbrow Customs showed us the modifications and custom fab work required to install a vintage Triumph fork onto a H-D repop rigid frame. In part two of the Lowbrow Panhead project, Tyler shows us how he mounted the oil bag and built the sissybar that holds his modified taillight and rear fender.


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