Shane Kelson is a ChopCult member and follower of our social media outlets. He repurposed most of the bike’s original parts for this build and did a stellar job completing the bike you see here. I appreciate Shane and Jon's help and patience with this feature. Enjoy!
When I bought this bike back in 2010, it was a running, totally stock, sportster. I had just gone through a divorce and was going through unemployment. Having found a job, but losing just about everything else, I needed a project. I have built a few bikes and cars in my day, but nothing starting from just a frame. With very little money and no real garage to work on a hotrod, I decided I needed another bike project. What could I find fairly easily that wouldn’t break my budget like a big twin? My first bike build in my twenties was a 1963 sportster. So, I immediately started looking for Iron heads. They were cheap enough and weird enough, with the right side shift, to be exactly what I wanted. My goal was to use an original stock bike for all the parts I needed to make a hard tail chopper/bar hopper with as little out of pocket money as possible. With that goal I got started.
I started by ordering a Paughco frame with all the stock dimensions and a 35 degree rake to achieve the rake and trail I wanted using the original wheels and front end. My best friend, Tyler Schwarzkopf, owns and operates a custom bike and hotrod shop called Bleed Machine Industries. Tyler allowed me to build the bike at his shop and use his talents, which was everything I needed to make this bike happen.
If you take a close look, you will see that everything is there from the original bike. The only real major purchases I made were the MOON oil bag and brackets and the frame. I only used what I needed, along with metal scraps from around the shop, and got rid of everything else. I personally don’t like adding much of anything, even for looks, if it’s not needed. If you look at the custom bars, those are the original controls; just chopped and shaved. The exhaust pipes are the original drag pipes; just chopped and re-welded to tuck and fit. Some of my favorite details are the “C” clamps we cut up and used to mount everything from the light and license plate, to the exhaust, and foot peg. After some idiot knocked over the bike in the shop one night, denting the stock sportster tank, it had to get the Bleed Machine treatment as well. The rear fender even started out as a flat trailer fender that was collecting dust in the corner. As I went through every nut and bolt and engineering everything on the bike, I wanted to polish, paint or chrome as much as I could. It seemed like after chopping off as much as I did; it was only natural to split the rockers.
After about 2 years of nights and weekends into this build at someone else’s shop and no extra money, I was starting to get really discouraged. I went about a year and basically did nothing on it. With a lot of encouragement from my friends like Tyler and Jon Glover of Glover’s Garage, I needed a push to get it finished. Then one day, my car got hit in the parking lot at work! Not caring too much about fixing my car, I used the insurance money to finish the bike. I finished all the small details and got it in paint. The paint is a base of Ed Roth surfite silver metal flake with shades of metallic blues and pearls, hand striped and lettered with silver leaf. Once the frame was in paint, I could start to do the final assembly. My Dad, Frank Kelson, is an old time hotrod builder from Southern California. So, in true father and son fashion, we brought this build to the finish line together. He pulled the wires and did the electrical and kept me in check on the fit and finish. With all of the support of Tyler and his shop to see my vision realized, it seemed only fitting to put his shop’s name on the bike. As we all know, if something doesn’t make you bleed figuratively or literally, it’s probably not worth your time.
Photos by Jon Glover
Owner name, location: Shane Kelson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: HD 1000cc Ironhead, 1974 XLH1000 Sportster
Chassis mods: 35 Degree rake
Tire/wheel size and style: stock 18” spoke rear and stock 19” spoke front
Favorite thing about this bike: Split rockers, paint and metal fab by Bleed Machine/ Tyler Schwarzkopf
Next modification will be: Front fork brace
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Tank and rear fender hand fabricated. Custom bars and control mounts by Bleed Machine Industries
Thanks to: Tyler Schwarzkopf – Bleed Machine Industries @bleedmachine, Jon Glover – Glovers Garage Productions @gloversgarage, and my Dad Frank Kelson.
Give Shane a follow on Instagram.