Brandon's Old '73


ChopCult member Brandon Hickle is a prime example of who we cater to on the site; the guy that isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and learn along the way. Brandon’s Old ’73 is a survivor that’s seen many miles and with Brandon’s upgrade it will be enjoying many more.



“I bought this completely stock 1973 XLCH Ironhead from the original owner back in February of 2013. By October, I had completely stripped the bike down and made it what it is now. When I build my bikes, I try to do all of the fabrication myself.  When it comes to paint, upholstery or an area I need a clean tig weld, I may hand it off to someone else. So, this Ironhead received a little welding help and a nice upholstered seat.  Other than that, I did everything else. This is important to me for numerous reasons. One, I take pride in doing things for myself and secondly I know where, how and why everything was done. This is important when you are riding and something goes wrong. You can jump right in and start wrenching on it.  With my first stock bike, I had no idea where anything was or why it was routed or made the way it was. So it was difficult, at first, to work on.  I built this bike to ride. So, I've learned (and continue to learn) how to beef things up to handle the miles and where to put things for easy access for roadside repairs.  I could care less about a show bike until I've seen it run several thousand miles and survive.  I think this bike shows the age, miles and resiliency.  I know I've only put a couple thousand miles on it so far, but I do know the previous owner had taken it to California and back.  So, all of the rough, rusty, and unpainted areas are there to tell its story. It's simply a runner and survivor.”


Photos by Caroline Caldwell


Owner name, location: Brandon Hickle, Cincinnati,OH 

Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1973 Harley XLCH Ironhead 1000cc



Frame: Stock with Led Sled Customs Hardtail

Fork:  1940 Harley 45GL

Tire/wheel size and style: 16" stock spoked drum rear, 19" stock spoked front



Favorite thing about this bike: It's lean and low stance with that beautiful 1940's Harley Springer.  

Next modification will be: Fix the leaks! 

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: One piece handlebar/springer top clamp, modified horseshoe oil tank, hand made sissy bar, custom pipes, machined springer axle & nuts, hand made seat pan with Rick Gavin's upholstery, chopped and re-radius of the stock fender 



Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include:  I won't forget trying to complete this bike in time for the 2013 Barber Vintage Festival and fortunately failing.  My buddy Ben and I were 4 hours behind schedule to leave for the show when I decided the bike was ready to come off the lift and run.  The Iron fired up first try, so naturally I straddled it and took off around the neighborhood.  I quickly realized I had no brakes!  So, I limped it back to the house only to find that I had completely built the rear drum crossover incorrectly and it was jamming up.  Needless to say, we called it quits, so we could leave for the show.  We had concluded that an 11 hour shakedown run with no brakes was a bad idea.  The ultimate irony was that it took two more bikes to get me down to Alabama, but we made it in one piece. And, the Old 73 is ready for the 2014 festival.


Thanks to: Caroline, my beautiful wife, for dealing with my insanity during this build & her wonderful photos, Led Sled Customs for the hardtail kit & great sportster products, Rick Gavin for his amazing upholstery work, Aaron for his clean tig welds, Chris Gavitt for his vast knowledge, parts and help, my buddies who lent a hand, Matt, Ben, Jimmy & to Chopcult and it's wonderful community for supporting each other in every aspect of custom motorcycle building and riding!


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Comment with Chopcult (17)

Commented on 7-17-2014 At 04:07 pm

Kinda cool to see a custom with genuine patina.
Especially when the builder doesn't look old enough to have his own "patina.'

Commented on 7-17-2014 At 05:42 pm

shit yes. thing is a beast.

Commented on 7-17-2014 At 05:43 pm

everyone should know that Brandon rode this thing all this past gnarly-as-fuck winter like an idiot. but a badass idiot.

Commented on 7-17-2014 At 08:16 pm

I was thinking the same thing about the patina, upgraded all the right things imo, but kept the original been ridden hard characteristics. Digging this bike alot!

Commented on 7-17-2014 At 09:19 pm

Damn I could only hope to have a similar story with my 76 ironhead!

Commented on 7-18-2014 At 02:19 am

Sweet Ride!! Awesome work Brandon!

Commented on 7-18-2014 At 07:11 am

rad as fuck .If you cant ride them whats the point .

Commented on 7-19-2014 At 07:59 am

Classic build retaking the original heritage!

Commented on 7-19-2014 At 09:02 pm

I love the relocated coils. Is that stock or fabbed custom? I want it!

Commented on 7-20-2014 At 06:14 am

Thanks to everyone for the compliments. They are very appreciated.
@sdsbassist The relocated coil is not stock. I just fabbed it from the original mounting bracket and some mild steel. Nothing fancy, but sturdy.

Commented on 7-21-2014 At 12:49 am

I like it, like it a lot.

Cut my teeth on street riding on a sporty, 1974 matter fact, had that odd side shifter. They make great hot rods.

Commented on 7-21-2014 At 05:08 am

The first picture below the header image looks so perfect, it loos like a miniature model? WTF??? Crazy...

Commented on 7-21-2014 At 01:07 pm

Thanks a lot Base! Ironheads are a lot of fun. I really enjoy the right side shift.

Also, Allen my wife loves to shoot with a short depth of field, so it kind of skews reality. She appreciates the positive feedback!

Commented on 7-23-2014 At 10:28 pm

Man what a badass bike! It turned out awesome good work buddy!!

Commented on 9-20-2014 At 09:27 pm

Shooting with a long lens and wide aperture will provide compression of the image and accentuate the object. I'm guessing it was shot at f4 with a 200 mm lens.

Commented on 9-20-2014 At 09:28 pm

Shooting with a long lens and wide aperture will provide compression of the image and accentuate the object. I'm guessing it was shot at f4 with a 200 mm lens.

Commented on 9-28-2014 At 06:21 pm

Is the rear hardtAil a stretch or stock?

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