ChopCult member Zack Kinsley is based out of Minneapolis, MN. When he's not tattooing to earn a living, you can find him ripping on this beautiful Panhead. I started following his build through Instagram, and the first thing I noticed was that Zack took his time, and included his friends throughout the build. Zack worked side by side with Bob “Hot Bobby” Henry to build the bike that you see before you. It is simple, yet, oh so clean! Add the beautiful leather work by Jordan Dickinson, stellar paint by Mike Stodolka, and decals by fellow member 0 Given, and this Panhead has a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy this bike as much as I do.
Owner name, location: Zack Kinsey Minneapolis, Minnesota
Chop Cult Member profile: zackkinsey
Bike name: Not really a name, but we’ve been referring to it as the “Might as Well” because what started as a mild facelift turned into a total rebuild.
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1955 Harley Davidson FL 74ci Panhead. Ported heads. Elgin cam. Mallory electronic ignition. S&S E carb. Belt drive primary.
Frame: Original 1955 HD frame
Fork: 41mm Hydra Glide with 10” over tubes, chromed trees, and shaved and polished sliders
Chassis mods: 2” of upstretch, and some metalwork and molding. Ended up with about a 35 degree rake
Tire/wheel size and style: 21” Avon Speedmaster front, 16” Avon Safety Mileage MKII rear.
Favorite thing about this bike: It’s super comfortable. The seat has just enough lower back support. We made the footpeg mounts to work with the existing floorboard tabs so they’re not too far forward, and with the relocated petcock bung, I can get some decent mileage out of the tank.
Next modification will be: Hopefully nothing for a little while, but I rarely leave things the way they are, so who knows.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: 3/8” round bar welded around the perimeter of the chopped shovelhead fender, and molded in to make a lip. Filled the ¼ npt bungs and added a rear 22mm petcock bung on a ‘70s Triumph coffin tank. Handmade sissy bar. Handmade shifter peg, footpegs, and mounts utilizing the stock floorboard tabs. Stainless fork stops welded onto the neck. Hi/low toggle on headlight bucket. Cycle Electric 12v generator. Cut, extended, and added the fishtail tips to the existing exhaust. Leather seat by Jordan Dickinson of Union Speed & Style. Paint by Mike Stodolka. Decals by 0 Given. All chrome hardware. A bunch of other little things that helped create the “might as well” mantra while we were building it.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: Last summer, I had spoken to my buddy Bob “Hot Bobby” Henry about giving this bike a little makeover in his nice, heated garage over the cold Minnesota winter. I was originally just thinking of a different tank, fender, seat, etc. I rode it to his place in mid-November, and within a week, we had it completely stripped down to the frame. That’s when we started saying “might as well”. Since it was torn down, we might as well sandblast the frame. Might as well just make a fender instead of buying one. Might as well make a sissy bar, seat pan, and on and on. Once we realized this was going to turn out to be a pretty nice bike, we might as well get a bunch of stuff re-chromed and/or polished, use all chrome hardware, etc. Bob and I got kind of carried away with it, but we had a lot of fun in the process. It’s crazy to think that it only took us a few months. It was fortunate that the day we fired it up for the first time, it was a rare 60 degree day in early March, so I got to take it for a test ride. Felt great. Just a few tweaks needed. Spring in Minnesota can be really hit or miss, but I’ve been able to ride a bit already and have pretty much worked out all of the bugs. Summer is gonna rip!
Thanks to Bob “Hot Bobby” Henry (@hotbobby) for being just as motivated as I was (if not more) to get this thing done. To Cory Nolan for shaving the fork sliders. To Jordan Dickinson for the beautiful leather seat. To Mike Stodolka for the molding and paint. To Pat at NE Custom Cycle, and Ike at Full Throttle for the parts and knowledge. To all of the chopper dudes in the Twin Cities area for the support, knowledge, and the positive environment we have here. Most importantly, thanks to my wife, Saumer, and Bob’s wife, Katie, for allowing us to spend so much time in the garage and being supportive during the process. -Zack
Photos by Kat Henry (@kat4365)