BUILDING THE PINK PANTHER SHOVELHEAD CHOPPER
FINDING THE RIGHT BIKE FOR THE PROJECT... WAS EASY!
I found this bike thanks to a friend about three years back. My pal Nick Miller can find any type of bike without any hesitation. I don’t think it was even a full 24 hours from when I asked him to keep an eye out for a Shovelhead project, to us driving an hour outside of Pittsburgh to pick up the bike.
The bike was mostly stock with a small amount of motor work from the previous owner. There was a five-speed transmission which we kept, but other than that, we practically changed and customized everything.
Single down tube on the frame.
STYLE, AND FITTING THE FRAME TO THE RIDER
The single down tube idea came from seeing a few other bikes that looked paper thin when you looked at it from the front. I was always a big fan of the up and raked outlook.
I got with my longtime friend Josh Howells and we spent a good year spitballing ideas. We both have similar taste in motorcycles so it was easy to get on the same page.
When sizing the frame, Josh extended to fit my size. Being 6’4, it's easy to look goofy on a motorcycle. From there, we slowly started to piece the bike together.
Check out that springer!
I wanted a long springer front end, which took some time to find. I really enjoy digging and finding parts from basements or swaps. There's no better feeling than when you find something that missing piece for your build.
I found a lot of parts at Cycle Warehouse in Butler PA, about an hour from Pittsburgh. That place is multiple levels with parts and bikes everywhere.
After a few trips, I was able to locate the springer in the basement. Didn’t have too much info on it, but it was long and didn’t look like it would fall apart, so I snagged it up.
The paint by TE Customs
From there, we had a solid roller together and added the remaining pieces. The motor was torn apart and new seals and gaskets added. Thankfully when we cracked open the motor, there was no damage and all the work done by the previous owner was done very well.
A PAINT JOB GUARANTEED TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
The bike was then sent out to paint in April of 2022 to Tyler Elliot of TE Customs. Tyler has been a friend and painted my last chopper. He is always down for custom jobs, no matter how crazy it gets. From the start I knew I wanted to have a chopper that stood out from the others.
Hey that's the Pink Panther!
I’m a big history buff when it comes to MC’s and motorcycles. One day I was reading a book and it kept mentioning how a couple of the guys had pink- and neon-colored choppers. They talked about doing things to stand out from the norm, and I wanted to bring that back.
When I got with Tyler initially about doing a pink chop, he didn’t hesitate and was immediately into the idea. We spent the day looking at every color pink possible, but I ended up settling on “Pink Panther Pink”.
Oddly enough at the time I was trying to think of a few ways to pay homage to my dad who passed away a few years back. As a kid we always watched and loved The Pink Panther cartoons together, so it all started to come together.
Narrow Alien Tank with custom fuel sight gauge rocking this wild TE Customs paint job!
From there I wanted to add leopard print on the bike to match the seat. Tyler messed around with a few ideas and ended up adding them into the flames which I haven't seen before.
He once again exceeded all my expectations and wildest dreams with the paint on this bike. He even added a little pink panther drinking a martini on the rear fender to keep it classy.
The Pink Panthers chillin' on the rear fender.
BUILDING MEMORIES, ALONG WITH A BIKE
Overall, this bike came together by the help and hard work of my friends and I. That’s what is going to stick with me over the years.
At times this build was frustrating, but that’s a given when going through the process, but knowing that some of my best friends (some I’ve been friends with over 20 years) had a hand in this build means the most to me. Everyone gave it their all and used all their talents to help make the bike what it is today.
I’m hoping to take this chopper all over the country next spring to see some friends and enjoy some chopper events. Want to thank the guys below who had a massive hand in getting this build completed.
Words by Ed Jankoski
Photos by: Joe Bonanno
TECH SHEET & MORE BUILD PHOTOS: THE PINK PANTHER
Glistening in the sun.
Owner: Ed Jankoski
Year/Make/Model: 1980 Harley Davidson FXE Shovelhead
Fabrication: Uptahn Metalworks Pittsburgh PA
Build Time: A year and a half
Check out that Paw kicker pedal!
Year/Type/Size: 1980 Harley Davidson FXE Electric start (changed to kick only)
Carburetor: S&S Super E
Exhaust: Custom Exhaust by Uptahn Metalworks
Air Cleaner: Trident mini lunch box
Year/Type: Custom single down tube frame fabricated at Uptahn Metalworks.
Rake/Stretch: 50-degree rake, 8.75” up.
If it aint long it's wrong.
Type / Brand: 12 over Springer front end. No markings or serial numbers. Basement find at Cycle Warehouse in Butler PA. Spring rebuild kit by Iron Springers
Lowbrow Customs 21" Spool hub wheel with Avon Speedmaster 21" tire.
18" Hardline Wheel with 18" Dunlop K70 Vintage Tire
Just killer paint work from TE Customs
Paint by: Tyler Elliot from TE Customs. Pittsburgh PA
Powder coating: None
Dixie sqaure headlight from the basement.
Front Fender: Nope
Rear Fender: Lowbrow Customs Manta Ray fender that was cut and welded to hug the 18-inch rear wheel
Gas Tank: Narrow Alien gas tank
Handlebars: Custom 6 bend bars from Uptahn Metalworks
Grips: Lowbrow Customs Fish Scale Grips
Mirrors: Clamp on Chrome mirror
Hand Controls: Drag Specialties black clutch lever
Foot Controls: Stock forward controls
Headlight: Dixie Square headlight. Basement finds.
Taillight: 33 Ford Replica Taillight. Keystone cover plate added by Uptahn Metalworks
Turn Signals: Nope
License Mount: Custom by Uptahn Metalworks
Seat: Seat pan by Uptahn Metalworks. Lining and covering by Diego Galarraga (@mrcomfy)
Classic meets wild, a horseshoe oil tank, pink with leopard flames.
That kicker pedal doh.
Trident Mini Lunch Box air cleaner is super rad.
Super skinny and long.
Even put Pink Panther on the belt drive.
33 Ford Tail Light replica with a custom PA cover from Uptahn.
There seems to be a dinger on your wheel sir.
More PA goodness from Uptahn
Full cheetah print seat.
Good look at the carb and Trident min box air cleaner.