Monday, February 20, 2012

The '47 Knuck's Reincarnation as a Stock Bike and the '65 Panhead

When the California Motorcycle Helmet law took effect in 1992, the old man decided if he was going to have to look like a dork, (what he referred to as the Peewee Herman look), it wasn't right to be riding a chopper. So he rebuilt the '47 Knucklehead as a stock bike. He had been collecting the parts for it for years. When he got the stock original frame and the springer front end it all began to come together. I loved it from the beginning. 

Stock 1947 Harley Knucklehead black and orange

So, he had the tank shift, suicide clutch and throttle. We still had the mechanical brakes. After the last trip to Sturgis he went ahead and put disk brakes and a stock windshield on it. It's still 6 volt.

The stock bike was so much more comfortable to ride than the chopper had been. I had a nice wide flat seat, and the foot pegs were positioned perfectly so my knees didn’t get all tweaked and I could use my legs as shock absorbers, because of course it was still a rigid frame and didn’t have them.

Besides all that, I think it looks pretty cool. I was just going through my old photos, and I don’t have many really good ones of just the bike, not packed or anything. We still have the ’47, always will, but it is not in prime shape at the moment. It’s sitting in a corner of the shop waiting for a rebuild, and it possibly will have a new paint job by the time it’s on the road again.
At the moment the riding bike is the “new” bike a 1965 Panhead. It has a push button, electric start and shocks, which do soften the bumps some. At first I hated it. It just didn’t feel stable in the corners. But I am getting used to it, and it is pretty nice that he can start the bike while I am sitting on it.

Black 1965 Harley Panhead motorcycle

For more of my stories, visit my Hubpages
What-to-Take-to Sturgis on your 1947 Harley Knucklehead


  1. Im a young buck i have a 48 pan...i digg your blog and would love to come meet your old man....tell him he has an apprentice whenever he needs...i know noone here in salinas who likes this stuff

    1. Glad to hear there's someone young out there to carry the torch. I've passed along your info, but I must warn you he's a bit of a recluse, kind of anti-social, and not very comfortable with the internet. The blog is really my thing. If he does not respond I hope you won't take it personally.

  2. Thanks the history and stories need to keep goin..alot of guys just have money and buy old bikes ..i earned mine the hard way and have respect for real men like your husband..Tell him thats ok i just wanted to let him know he is very much respected...

  3. Thanks again BUZZARDSALINAS. You're right the stories must be told. If you have a story to add I'd love to hear it. Did you build your bike all from parts? How long did it take to get it together?

  4. Well bought it from a man who had it since 70s..its still in a 58 swingarm frame , i just tried to use all older period parts for it cuz some are newer..its been a dream to have an old harley pan and knuckle..i still need a old straightleg frame for my 48 because i wanna build it how he said it was when he was a kid ..just to make it how it was for him..more 60's chopper ...need parts is hard to come by and people now buy all the stuff and send it overseas..