Basket Case

Article and Photos By: Milwaukee Mike

Originally Published In The January 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

The 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has come and gone, but it was one for the books. It wasn’t because of any one event but because of the lack of a huge crowd. It was nice to be able to move about the Black Hills without any huge lines or traffic jams. Because of this, I got to spend more time than usual riding the hills and commiserating with the guys at the Dudley Street house, my home base for the last couple of years. One of the usual suspects this year was Brent Ulman and this beautiful ‘28 he brought. Apparently, it was a long road to get it to the state it is in today. The whole process started about 5 years ago when Brent’s dad called him and said he had a basket case bike that was up for grabs from an old friend. But, as with all basket cases it had a hook in the bait. It seems that the bike was literally in baskets and crates. It was completely wasted and every part of it needed attention. The whole story goes back well beyond when Brent got the “bike”. Brent’s father had a longtime friend, Bernie Wederman, and he owned the bike for many moons. As it goes sometimes, he sent it off to a “pro” restoration guy in Vermont who took the bike apart and put it into the state that it came to Brent.

Unfortunately, life had one more twist to play, Bernie got sick with cancer and passed on. So, it was left to his widow to decide the fate of this machine. That is how it got onto Brent’s radar, she wanted to keep it in the family so it went to Brent via his father, who in 2012 procured the baskets and drove it all out to Wyoming from Vermont. One of the unfortunate parts of this situation was that the “restoration expert” had not only taken the bike apart but had sold off some of the more desirable pieces and replaced them with worn rusty parts. So, began the parts hunt, the first thing to find was some proper sheet metal it came to Brent through his search that original tanks and fenders were not only hard to find but extremely expensive. Through extensive searching he came to find Replicant Metals in Pennsylvania and Thomas Feezer who went about finding everything needed at a fair price.

Replicant supplied a set of sport solo tanks, battery box, 6-volt coil and wiring harness. With that set it was on to step two, mechanicals. Through Thomas, he made the connection of a good old school builder in Maryland, Steven Lippolt. Brent sent the parts he had and a donor 74-inch engine and Steven proceeded to build a stock 74 single cam original engine. Brent was so pleased with the job that Steven did that he also sent the complete transmission for a total rebuild. After a new mainshaft, bearings, bushings and all, it made for a better than new 3 speed transmission. Now that the drivetrain was set it was time to get the frame to be a roller. The original hubs were then sent off to Buchanan’s for a complete makeover.

New rims with drop centers and stainless spokes came back all ready for rubber. Next it was time for the details, all the brackets, hubs, drums were sent to Premier Powder Coat in Sheridan WY and Sage Hendrix of Rad Rides in Buffalo, WY handled all the body and paint duties. The last missing piece in the puzzle was the seat. It was hand stitched and tooled by Link at King’s Saddlery in Sheridan and he did a killer job. All this work took countless hours over 2 and a half years. According to Brent, he thinks he probably put this bike together and took it apart and together about a half dozen times. But after many calls to Steven, Thomas and his Dad and a ton of reading and research the bike was ready for the Sturgis 75th; and roll it did. However, along the way the left side case gave up the ghost, and had to come apart one more time. Brent made sure it was ready just in time for the 76th and for us to appreciate the beauty of the heritage we have chosen. All I can say is, excellent work Brent!


Basket Case Tech Sheet

Owner: Brent Ulman

Fabrication By: Owner/Sage Hendricks

City/State: Buffalo, WY

Year: 1928

Model: Harley-Davidson JD




Year: 1928

Model: JD

Builder: Brent Ulman

Ignition: Stock

Displacement: 74”

Pistons: Stock

Carb: Schebler

Cam: Harley-Davidson

Air Cleaner: Stock

Exhaust: Custom 2 Into 1

Primary: Stock


Year: 1928

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: 3 Speed


Year: 1928

Make: Harley-Davidson

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock

Front end

Year: 1928

Make: Harley-Davidson

Model: Springer

Extension: Stock


Front Wheel: H-D Hub, Kelsey Hayes Hub

Size: 18”

Front tire: Coker

Front brake:

Rear Wheel: H-D Hub, Kelsey Hayes Hub

Size: 18”

Rear tire: Coker

Rear brake: Harley-Davidson Drum


Painter: Rad Rides

Color: 2013 H-D Black Cherry

Type: PPG

Powder coat: Premier Powder Coat


Bars: Stock

Hand Controls: Deep Six- Brass

Foot controls: Stock

Fuel tank: Harley-Davidson Sport Solo

Oil tank: Harley-Davidson

Front Fender: Custom Bobber

Rear Fender: Custom Bobber

Seat: King’s Saddlery

Headlight: Stock

Taillight: Custom

Speedo: None

Photographer: Milwaukee Mike

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