May 17, 2012

Matt Olsen EL Update ( Builder )

Matt writes :::: My dad and I built a 1948 panhead for our friend Glenn in Pennsylvania about
eight years ago. The bike was a real mess when we started and it turned out
really nice. It is the donked out azure blue 48 on our website. Anyways,
Glenn has been riding and enjoying the bike for quite a while, a couple years
ago he asked us to build him the coolest knucklehead bobber that we could. Fast
forward through a bunch of time fabricating and this is what you end up with. We cut every fin on the motor to make a nice gradual curve from the cylinder to
the base, Then I polished the bases of the cylinders and different parts of the
heads and electroless nickle plated the top end. The oil pump and lifter blocks
are nickle plated too. The displacement is sixty one inches or 1000ccs for you
ferners.This is one of my favorite parts of the bike...the Speedo it is an indian 741
unit. The gauges are from a 1928 dodge car, They were actually in a cluster,
and i had to cut them apart, then machine up cups for mounting them to the
bike. I still have to reprint the faces, make bezels and glass before the
show. The dash is made out of nine pieces of aluminum and welded together. My
friend Lock baker flew in to help with the dash and primary cover. The bars are
sectioned early hydra glide bars welded to tapered risers that I made on the
lathe . The transmission is raised 1.125 of an inch, you can kind of see the supports
in this picture. they are very cool and kind of look like gumbys legs.
Notice that the tubing for the axle stays is tapered from 1.125 to 1.00. The
tubes from beneath the engine cradle that go up to the neck are also tapered.
This is a pretty common feature on pre teen bikes and looks really classy. it
is very subtle, but worth the effort. Miss Brittney and I spent a week with
Chad pearson back in January and built the frame. It was a lot of fun. the
cross member under the transmission is stock and so is the front engine mount,
everything else is made from raw materials.The steering angle is the same as 36 to 40 knuckleheads. we had to stretch the
frame in order to get 4 inches of trail. The rear wheel is an 18 inch rim with
a 450 ANS tire, and the front wheel is a 19 inch rim with a 400 ANS tire. The
centers of the rims are nickel plated and the edges arepainted sherwood green,
which is a 36 only color.
Check out the inlaid oil tank sight gauge, I
still have to french it in, but you get the idea. The primary coverstarted out
as flat sheet aluminum and is made out of seventeen different pieces that are
welded togeether, I have a lot of sanding to do to make it look as nice as the
dash, but it is doable. The chain guard is made out of aluminum too. It is
tough to make a chain guard look good, this one looks about as good asthey can
look. The seat pan is a cut up standard 40 and later pan. I shortened the
nose 1.875 inches and narrowed it to an 11 inch width. It is kind of a mix
between a WR and WRTT seat pan. I ordered a reproduction vl seat t and pivot
from Mike Breeding. I only ended up being able to use about five inches out of
the seat t, but it has such a nice look. The pipes in this pic are just rough mock ups. I had something totally
different in mind, but it would have ended up covering up the bottom curve of
the frame, so I had to go with something a little different. I think that
this set up is a nice compromise which does more for the overall package. I
love how the fender skirts have a reverse taper. They are wider at the top
than the bottom.. I am going to cut another couple inches out of the bars
before getting them plated.


  1. The post was detailed so I did not what to disturb it with my two cents... but I spoke with Matt on the phone for the first time a few days ago and what a nice dude. In a 15 minute conversation we talked about bikes,family,the show and his upcoming marriage.This is a awesome bike Matt.


  3. Honestly .... What's to like?


  4. Sweet, can't wait to see this up close. Wonderful job!

  5. thanks for the kind words guys. I have had a lot of fun building the bike and I am looking forward to hanging out with you guys next month in cali