1957 Harley-Davidson FL Panhead Born Again
It always seems like either time, money, or both can dictate the final outcome of a bike. Sometimes compromises must be made in a rush to finish a bike. More than three years ago, when Jon Tubb first built his 1957 Harley FL, he and builder/friend Mike Olson set out to make Jon’s dream bike, but fell a little short of expectations. So it wasn’t long before they gave this Panhead a second chance to get it right. “Me and Mike had gotten together on this bike about three years ago. We sat down planned it out and built it around me for comfort and riding. But I just wasn’t happy with it the first time. Mainly the paint bothered me. It was super busy and not exactly what I had wanted. But it took forever for the painter to finish the first time and I didn’t want to wait for a do-over.”
After picking up a set of wheels, Jon planned and plotted about the day when he could reopen the building process. “Over time I picked up this set of Invader Mag wheels. These 21-inch spool Invader Mags are fewer and far between to find these days. Mike has been known to use these in the past on his builds, so I put them up on the shelf in the garage and stared at them every day. After two years, I decided I needed to do something with them, so I revisited my bike and nitpicked it too pieces.
Despite several years to think about what he wanted to change, the second time around he was still under a short deadline in order to make a show.”Once again I sat down with my longtime friend Mike and told him what I was thinking. I told him I wanted to change it up and have it done by Born Free, which was only about six weeks away! It was no easy feat for Mike, but we linked up with the painter who busted this paintjob out in one week’s time. Lots of super-long days and sleepless nights were needed to get this done but sure enough he wrapped it up and we were good to go for the show. I’m super happy this time around with my bike. Everything from the wheels, the paint, all of it! It’s timeless and classic and I’m looking forward to riding this thing all over the U.S.”
By John Zamora, Photography by John Zamora