‘Long Tall Sally’ 51’ Pan

This is one of my favourite bikes to come out of my shop, in my eyes it’s a proper chopper, I know the phrase ‘proper chopper’ has been used a million times to describe some ones own ideal of what a proper chopper should be but to me this is what a chopper should be, an original bike that has been stripped to the bone, all the crap removed, minimal styling, a reasonably trick paint job and not much else, nothing to fancy, a few handmade bits thrown in and that’s it.

This bike is probably one of the bikes that has had the least amount of one-off fabrication to come out the doors of Boneshakers but to me that doesn’t make it any less of a chopper, I think it’s a common misconception that a custom bike has to have hours of fabrication work put into it to make it a cool bike, a selection of well thought out parts and a bit of creativity can turn out a real trick looking chopper. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for skilled fabrication work and we do turn out our own frames, tanks, pipes, bars etc but for this particular bike I wanted to do it the way it would have been done in the sixties, not a period perfect representation of a sixties chopper but my interpretation, using what I had or could get locally and not spending ridiculous amounts of cash, it was also going to be my day-to-day transport ( I don’t drive a car and have never owned a stock bike).

So how did the pan come about? I had my rusty revtech ’99 problems’ up for sale and had been offered a few p/x’s that I wasn’t to interested in, a couple of lightly customized fatboys and the like, not really my cup of tea and then I got a call offering me a wedge of cash and a panhead chopper, now that got my interest!

A deal was struck and I picked the pan up and bought it back to the shop to asses what I had bought.  Whoever had built the chop in the first place had done a super job (forgive me for not mentioning your name in this article but the bike had passed through several people’s hands before I got hold of it and no one was sure who the original builder was) the 1000cc lump kicked over easy and started second kick… after three kicks to prime it and a couple to get things moving… and ran a treat. It was looking a little tatty and was running a stock sporty tank, mag wheels, flat trailer guard, Lucas rear light, drag bars on low rubber mounted risers, loooooong pipes and a huge seat. We took it up and down the road a bit and everything seemed sweet apart from the forks, Neil took it round the block riding it like an R1 and reckoned it was all sweet too so it was dragged into the back of my shop and put into ‘Benny’s special room’ away from all the customers bikes and the  transformation began.

The first thing to go were the wheels, the rear mag wheel was dumped in favour of a 16” spokey off eBay and shod with a Coker ‘style’ whitewall tyre, the front 19” was swapped for a 21” spokey and an Avon Deathmaster tyre and suitable spacers were knocked up to fit the new wheels. Of course the front guard went straight in the bin.

I wanted a ribbed rear guard for the rear but didn’t want to pay the price for a Chica one out the Jammer catalogue so I went to see Happy Peter down at Vale Onslows Motorcycles down the road from me and had a rummage  round in the back of their shop and came out with a big smile on my fizzy clutching the guard you see on the bike, it was rusty as hell and pitted but it was serviceable and just what I wanted, we made some curved struts and incorporated a number plate and light holder to house the vintage car stop and tail light that was given to me by Punch as a present.

The look of the bike was coming together now, the slightly taller front wheel had lifted the front of the frame to give it that too kool for skool chopper stance and the rear end was now a lot lower, ooooh! I’m liking it now!

The stock sporty tank sat way to low for my taste so I Frisco mounted it by  blanking off the tunnel and lifting it up so it sat right on top of the top tube, I blanked off the original filler and moved it up so it was right up the top and added a rib that ran the length of the tank to match the rear guard. I dropped the original bars and risers ( I hate rubber mounted risers) and spun up some ally top hats and added six inch risers and zed bars ( I know it’s got drags in these pics, I’ll explain that in a bit). I bought a lovely white (much to everyone’s dismay) seat from Jammer and matched it up to some white grips and kicker pedal; everyone told me they would stay very white for long…. They were right

Them pipes were just too long man, so the were cut short, bandaged up and I put some cheapy chrome car turnout tips on, it was cheap and looks the part.

Ray stripped and rebuilt the forks for me as they were put together all wrong and then it was ready for paint. The rear guard, struts and tank were taken down to Punch at G and C Cycle works who turned out the killer orange flake over a black base with some subtle pin striping, and a high gloss black rear guard. I’m constantly amazed by Punches work and how quick he turns the jobs out (I had this back in under a week).

If anyone ever sees Punch ask him about the time he was blatting through Birmingham city centre on his ironhead chop with no rear guard and managed to catch his jeans and his PANTS and rip a massive hole in them exposing his arse to all the other road users and then having to sit at the traffic lights while everyone laughed at him. Anyway, he’s a top-notch painter and is also turning out some killer choppers of his own.

At the same time we were building my buddy Neil’s shovel in a similar style and they both hit the road about the same time just for the warm weather and what a summer we had, we rode everywhere in true Choppertown style. The Pan doesn’t miss a beat, starts easy and really motors. Unfortunately for me, other projects took over and someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse so it had to go. However, I got a call from Paul ( the new owner) and he had the bike delivered down to my shop to have some springers fitted and some other mods so it looks like I’m going to get to revamp the old girl again, since Paul has owned it he has fitted dragbars and the embossed brown leather seat which suit the style perfectly and he has some real cool ideas for the restyling that I am going to do for him ( definitely a man on my wavelength) but I’m keeping those ideas to myself till it hits the road again.

Anyway, there you have it a neat little chopped Pan that does everything it says on the box.

Thanks to Big Nik, Ray, Punch, Yoda for the photos, The original builder for doing a fine job before I stripped it and Neil for making me work till midnight and making me drink silly amounts of Corona and Black Death tequila

If you like this bike and would like something similar built give me a call at the shop on 01527575934 or 07913325297

Boneshaker Choppers
well, that’s it, hope you like it,


  • Disturbing the peace since 1975*


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