Jeff's 1938 UL Big Twin Flathead Chopper


Few things are classier than a flathead chop. That venerable side valve engine looks so right and purposeful, one can't help but be mesmerized by it. Jeff Leighton is no stranger to flatheads and was missing his old one when he started collecting the parts that eventually coalesced into this righteous machine. The cool thing is, as collectable as Jeff's bike might be, he still rides the snot out of it. Here's what Jeff has to say about his baby…



Over time I acquired all the very hard to find original big twin flathead motor parts I needed. I also found a good frame and a bunch of other stuff. I took all my motor parts over to Flathead Fern's and Fern and Sayer built me one amazing motor. Once I got my motor I started building the rest of the bike. I dug the NOS Wassell chrome fender and MCM cocktail shakers out of my stash. The original tank went on the bike with the sissy bar that I had bent up years before at Four Aces Cycle. I had a chrome VL springer on the bike for awhile, but it just wasn't right so I dug through Wes White's stuff and put together a pre0unit Triumph front end. My amazing friend Frank Kaisler helped me extend the stem to fit my frame. I found a set of NOS MCM covers and laced the rare 8-inch Triumph front brake to a super narrow WM0 21-inch rim. That front end topped with the square Flanders risers and the Z-bars I narrowed made the bike look like a million bucks.


Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1938 UL Harley flathead with original 80" barrels and high-compression heads

 Frame: H-D knucklehead/flathead frame

Fork: 50's pre-unit Triumph front end with MCM covers 

Tire/wheel size and style: 18" star hub wheel in the rear; WM0 21" laced to an 8" Triumph hub and brake; Avon rubber 

Favorite thing about this bike: My favorite part of this bike is how reliable it is given the 72-year-old motor

Next modification: This bike is done in my eyes. It is perfect to me. Someday I will have a different tank painted for it, but I could never strip and paint over the tank it has now

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Original hard-to-find square set of Flanders risers for a Triumph front end; original Beck grip;  the first sissy bar I ever made (probably the best one too.) I got the old painted peanut tank from an old-timer named Ronnie. He was an interesting guy and amazing talent—it's a shame we lost him

Thanks to: The one and only Frank Kaisler. I am honored to call him one of my best friends. Wes White, Brent Anderson, Jed Levin, Bryan Garver, Fern and Sayer of Flathead Fern's

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Commented on 9-1-2010 At 08:31 am

Jeff's bikes are always great, & a nice dude too.

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 09:15 am

Amazing bike.

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 09:38 am

nicely done.

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 09:38 am

Probably my favorite bike these days! Love it.

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 09:40 am

Great feature on this bike in the last Street Chopper...very cool bike!

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 10:47 am


Commented on 9-1-2010 At 11:12 am

building a flathead is on my bucket list.

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 12:44 pm

Killer bike, Jeff. Is that what you ride when you aren't riding around 2 up with Wes on the bagger?

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 04:51 pm

"PERFECT" !!! Nice Work

Commented on 9-2-2010 At 09:53 am

Fucking beautiful! I dig the brit hydro front end of a flatty! Also, its easy to go overboard with color matched accessories, this is just about perfect. the kicker with the seat and grips are just enough to set off the paint. Very tastefully done.

Commented on 9-2-2010 At 12:15 pm

I love the colors on the tank and what looks like a contrast between the flat base and the shinier flame design

Commented on 9-3-2010 At 05:31 am

My older brother had a flat 80, brings back a lot of great memories, nice ride Jeff!

Commented on 9-3-2010 At 06:24 pm

that thing's come a long way since the first time i saw it. good work, man.

Commented on 9-3-2010 At 08:36 pm

really nicely done machine

Commented on 9-4-2010 At 12:32 am

I think my favorite bike these days!

Commented on 9-4-2010 At 08:48 pm

sick ride, i want one just like that!

Commented on 9-5-2010 At 10:21 am

Wing Nuts rule!

Commented on 9-8-2010 At 05:02 pm

agree with the gallery this one is the easiest!

Commented on 2-6-2012 At 10:48 pm

I got a special place in my heart for flatheads, I am going to buy a flathead engine from my gramps and start building me one. this is an inspirational bike. beautiful!

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