Well, I got a call from Mike Davis and the official invite to Born Free in 2019 for Born Free 12, which should have been in 2020. You all know the story there. The invite has been a goal for Ryan Stallcup and myself since the first time we heard about the show. When I started the shop in 2016 and quickly hired Ryan the month after opening the doors, that was what we set our sights on. Such an incredible honor from Mike & Grant. Next we had to find a bike.
We found this 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH that began life as a Shriner bike until 1970 when it was purchased by the 2nd owner, a pilot and airplane mechanic in Fallon, NV. We picked up this modified, but mostly stock bike from that owner's son with complete transparency about our plans to chop it.
He gave us his blessing and sent us down the road. We sent a concept of what we wanted to do to the bike to our customer, and now the 3rd owner of this H-D, Dave Stephens and he told us to run with it.
We took everything we could use off the original bike with intentions of building a 1960's show bike. A real chopper, built by hand like they were built in the 60's. We acquired a 1957 straight-leg frame and some original Barney's lowers to clean up and re-chrome, some Borrani's I laced to the stock star hub and a new Mullins aluminum front star hub, Firestones and a few other bits to mock-up a roller the way we envisioned and started cutting, welding and blending.
To start with, we narrowed the rear section of the frame, right behind the seat post and raised the backbone up with the neck casting about 2 1/2" to give it a little rake but keep the stock geometry of the neck. We opened up that neck and "windowed" it and smoothed it all out around the tank mounts. Ryan narrowed the stock, casted wide glide trees about 2". That part of the bike took about a week, start to finish. Welding up cast steel is no easy task.
We narrowed the Lowbrow Sportster gas tank and shortened it slightly and laid the flames on in metal and metal finished those for the 3d effect you see. Rear Lowbrow Manta Ray fender was widened 1" to fit our 4.50" Firestone as snug as a bug. Oil tank was narrowed to match the profile of the narrowed frame. S
The sissy bar was built to reflect some I-beam springer vibes. That was made out of many pieces to look like cast pieces that were smoothed. Ryan did all of that with an angle grinder, chop saw and a welder. Those are some of the main highlights, but look closer and you'll see.
Ryan and I rebuilt the stock '66 Harley Shovelhead engine and trans with a lot of nice new parts. S&S flywheel, Wiseco pistons and the works. We used a vintage S&S two throat carb that we rebuilt, had polished and shined up. We adapted a Rawhide Cycle electronic ignition to the distributor, which is the first prototype for pre-1970 H-D's. We'll be working on releasing those soon.
For the final finish we have to thank some key players: Max Schaaf of 4Q Conditioning took this bike on for paint a little late in the game and exceeded our expectations in so many ways. Couldn't be more grateful for Max taking the time to get to know us and really figure out the right color, style and vibe for this bike.
Blown away by this firey hot rod chopper color. Finished off with incredible pinstriping by Eric Reyes, upon Max's recommendation. Angel Smith and Trevor Sluder are amazing for doing all of the prep so we could get this thing to Oakland in time for Max to spray it.
The main goal was to build that 60's style chopper with a modern execution and our style. We couldn't be happier with the end result. Appreciate everyone that had a hand in it! Thanks to our extremely patient and amazing families, Dave, Mike & Grant from Born Free, Max Schaaf, Bud Coose, VIP Shane Taylor, Joziah Curry for the gemstones, and anyone else we're forgetting, THANK YOU.
Owner: Dave Stephens
Year/Make/Model: 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH
Fabrication: Rawhide Cycles
Build Time: 2 years
Year/Type/Size: 1966 74” Shovelhead
Carburetor: S&S Two Throat
Exhaust: Rawhide Cycles
Air Cleaner: S&S customized by Rawhide
Year/Type: 1957 Straight Leg narrowed rear section, raised backbone 2 ½”
Rake/Stretch: 33 degrees 2 ½” up
Type / Brand: Narrowed 1966 wide glide trees by Rawhide. OG Barney’s lowers with 6” over forks.
Front Size: 21” x 1.60” Borrani with Mullins aluminum star hub and Buchanan spokes. Firestone 2.75-21 tire.
Rear Size: 18” x 3.00” Borrani with late star hub and Buchanan spokes. Firestone tire.
Paint by: 4Q Conditioning - Max Schaaf
Striping by: Eric Reyes
White Pearl by: Bud Coose
Prep by: Angel Smith
Plating/Polishing: Metal Master
Powdercoating: Allegiant Powder Coat / Nampa, ID
Front Fender: nope
Rear Fender: Lowbrow Customs Manta Ray 4-3/4" width
Gas Tank: Lowbrow Customs Sportster Style Frisco Mount 2.1 Gallon
Handlebars: Regatta Garage
Grips: Pangea Speed
Hand Controls: Prism Supply co. throttle
Foot Controls: Rawhide Cycles
Headlight: Aris customized by Rawhide
Taillight: Old unknown customized by Rawhide
Turn Signals: nope
License Mount: Prism Supply customized by Rawhide
Seat: Bates customized by Rawhide
Custom & Special Details or Accessories:
We took a mostly stock 1966 FLH and turned it into a 1960’s style show bike. We wanted to send it, so we did! SHOWTIME BABY. Everything on this bike is custom, shiny and functional. Ready to rip!
Ryan Stallcup / Brandon Wurtz - Rawhide Cycles.
Here are some more photos of this killer Harley chopper: