Sometimes getting enough time, money and motivation to build your project takes way longer than you want. The guy who owned this basket case knucklehead engine sat on it for the better part of two decades until Jake came along and breathed some life into it. Here's the owner's story:
When I bought it, it was blown up, apart, in boxes, and had been that way for the previous 16 years. I wanted it to be my daily rider, so I treated everything suspect. T&O Torque Monster flywheels were beyond my budget at the time, so I got ahold of an 80” S&S flywheel assembly and a new 74” barrels and piston set. Lakeside Machine took care of getting the heads all fixed up, springs, valves and most importantly, the rocker tins. Then we installed the wheels into the cleaned up cases (with new lower end bearings), and built the top end. Roughly, it’s a 78” motor, running the Andrews K cam and of course, solids. With the S&S Super E, she makes good power and is super reliable. I'm also running the Mallory mechanical advance electronic distributor and a Cycle Electric Generator—expensive stuff, but all those components are super dependable.
Owner: Jake Cutler
Location: Barnstorm Cycles, Spencer, MA
Engine year and make, model, modifications: 1941 HD knucklehead (it was originally a 61 c.i. EL)
Frame: V-Twin Replica 1948 Pan frame. I Wanted the stock forged look, but didn’t want to ruin a good OE frame. This frame allowed me to hack off stuff I didn’t want and add stuff in a guilt-free manner
Fork: Temporary Springer
Tire/wheel size and style: Rear is a 1954 Pan OE 16” drum; front is a wide glide center hub that I laced to a steel 16” Rim. Nothing fancy. I used to run Chen Shin tires front and rear until I got a rear flat. The sidewalls on those things were so soft that in about 30 seconds I couldn't even push the bike, let alone ride it. All I could think of was that had been my front tire I would have been dead. I switched over to Avons. They don’t fit the look of the bike as well, but the sidewalls are stiff enough that you can practically drive on them when they are flat
Favorite thing about this bike: Riding it. I loved building it and I hope to one day finish it, but in the meantime, getting in some quality road time is golden
Next modifications: Plans are in the works to finish the bike, which means building the front end, gas tank, and bars. I might actually do proper finishes on everything, or just ride it
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: I run it with a jockey shift and a left side rear foot brake. I’m not sure why, but it keeps it interesting. Also, the front-mounted, vertical oil tank solves the issue of really hot oil temps. With the tank out front, even after riding all day on in 90-degree weather, I can put my bare hand on that tank and it’s comfortably warm to the touch.
Thanks: I want to thank my good friend P.Q. for having the lapse in judgment to sell me the motor. He also was a huge help in getting it back into a solid running state. Thanks to my fiancé Amy for liking this bike the best and always choosing it for our rides together, even though it’s probably the most uncomfortable bike possible for her. She's a badass and I love her. A huge thanks to my dad for helping out on every aspect of this project. Thanks also to John at Lakeside Machine, and Danny Burmer.
Check out more of Jake's work here.
Editor's Note: We've been sitting on this feature for so long that Jake found time to finish his own tank by hand and prefers it over the one in most of the other photos. Thanks to Josh Gilbow for shooting this feature during Gypsy Run 2011