Black Sheep – Jeff Cochran’s Personal Build

Published In The December 2013 Issue of Cycle Source

Article By: Will Ramsey – Faith Forgotten Choppers Photos By: Jeff Cochran

Feature 1a Dec 13 Kerri

I was thrilled when Chris asked me to write a feature on Jeff Cochran’s personal bike. Without question, Jeff is one of my favorite builders in the industry. He has been building super clean, retrostyle choppers and bobbers for over 15 years. Jeff has literally built hundreds of wicked cool Shovelheads in his career, and as a result, he has earned a reputation for turning out dependable motorcycles with some of the cleanest lines in the business. I was inspired by his work before I even picked up a gas torch and started trying to fuse metal with heat. Every time I saw a Jeff Cochran bike in a magazine, I spent days just burning the image into my brain. This is what a well built ride should look like.

I first met Jeff a few years ago at an Easyrider show in Columbus, Ohio. One of his bikes was on tour with the Limpnickie Lot and Jeff w a s there to help promote the event. He’s as laid back and cool as they come, standing by his bike all day in one of his flannel shirts, talking to everyone who stopped by. He answered every question that anyone asked. We chatted about building all afternoon and I found him to be as excited about building bikes after 15 years as I was when I built my first chopper. I stared at Jeff’s bike for hours at that show just trying to understand how he maintains such aesthetic balance in his builds. From the lines of his hardtailed frames to the smooth bends of his Big Rig shifters, Jeff’s bikes have a majesty of their own; there is just no mistaking a Speedking bike. Although each bike Jeff builds is unique, there is an undeniable style and balance that ties them all together. His attention to detail is obsessive; the fit and finish of each and every Speedking motorcycle is simply perfect.

After Daytona this year, I stopped by Jeff’s shop to spend a day behind the scenes and to grab lunch. The amount of work that he can accomplish in a day is mind blowing. After 15 years in business, Jeff definitely has this game mastered. His shop is very clean and well organized, and his entire step-by-step process, from mock-up to final assembly, is as clean and smooth as the bikes he finishes. The side wall of his shop is lined with frames just waiting to be hardtailed. And yes, each one is a commissioned build. The mock-up table on the left side of the shop was supporting the start of one lucky customer’s new Speedking bike. Jeff’s lift on the right side of the shop was covered with a new piece of carpet. This is done before each final assembly assuring that no polished or painted parts get scratched (a trick I am not ashamed to admit I am stealing from him). The entire process is a well oiled machine and Jeff singlehandedly builds 10 to 13 bikes a year in this shop. There is simply no questioning his work ethic. Staying busy with customer builds all year makes finding time to build a personal chopper very challenging. It comes as no surprise then that Jeff decided to build himself a bike only 45 days before the Smoke Out.

In true Jeff Cochran style, he started by hardtailing a 1981 Shovelhead frame he had sitting against the shop wall. Remember, he’s been hardtailing frames for a long time, so believe me when I tell you his frame work is on point. With the new frame on the table and a Springer frontend in hand, Jeff wasted no time in mocking up a roller with a classic Speedking stance. Jeff builds every bike to be ridden hard and he expects his motors to perform and hold up as well as every part he fabricates. With that in mind, he turned to Frank of F&J Racing in Iowa to build the ‘71 Shoveled motor for his new ride. Jeff added the finishing touches to the engine with some Speedking brass rocker nuts and brass oil line tubing.

Feature 1b Dec 13 Kerri

Even though the bike was built in only 45 days, Jeff managed to find time to hand fabricate a gorgeous set of mid controls. The layered foot pegs — made from stacking aluminum and brass — and the honeycomb foot pedal are a testament to Jeff’s obsession to functional detail and design found on all of his builds. Of course his personal bike features a signature Speedking Big Rig shifter which lets Jeff slam through the gears on his ratchet top 4 speed transmission (a gift to him from a very good friend). If you have ever ridden with Jeff, then you know that this guy rides as hard as he builds. So when it comes to brakes, they need to be as dependable and look as good as any Speedking bike. A pair of American made Wilwood calipers mounted on the back wheel allowed Jeff to run a clean (brake-free) front wheel without losing the convenience and safety of a hand brake. Since time was a critical factor on this project, Jeff had his frame powder coated in one day, while his painter managed a 5 day turn around on that slick gloss black sheet metal. When you build this many bikes, you develop some pretty reliable business relationships. The leather bag mounted to the side was a gift from Taber Nash and proves useful as Jeff commutes to and from his shop on his daily rider. No personal ride of the Speedking would be complete without the brass hammer from his tattoo artist — Dana Brunson. The hammer was handmade by Dana 8 years ago as a gift for Jeff and has been mounted to every one of his personal bikes over the years. It now finds itself completing the 45 day build of Speedking’s Black Sheep.

Feature 1c Dec 13 Kerri

Black Sheep Tech Sheet
Owner: Jeff Cochran
City: Cincinnati, OH
Fabrication By: Jeff Cochran – Speedking
Year: 1981
Model: FX
Time: 45 Years
value: Sunny Day Priceless
ENGINE
Year: 1971
Model: Shovelhead
Builder: Frank / F&J Racing
Ignition: Points
Displacement: 74”
Pistons: Wiseco
Heads: H-D
Cam(s): Sifton
Carb: S&S
Air Cleaner: Star Gazer
Exhaust: Jeff Cochran
Primary: Primo
TRANSMISSION
Year: 1971
Make: H-D
Shifting: Jocky / Speedking Big Rig
FRAME
Year: 1981
make: H-D / Speedking Tail
Rake: Stock
Stretch: Stock
FRONT END
Type: Springer
Builder: DNA / Speedking
extension: 4” Under
Triple Trees:
WHEELS
Front Wheel:
Size: 21”
Tire: Scorpion
Brakes: Nope
Rear Wheel:
Size: 18”
Tire: 150/60 18
Brakes: Speedking Dual Wilwood
PA INT
Painter: Ron Leach
Color: Wet Black
Type: H.O.K.
Graphics: None
Molding: None
ACCESSORIES
Bars: Narrowed Zs
Risers: Bobby Seeger – ILM
Hand Controls: Supermoto
Gas Tank(s): Narrowed Sporty
Front Fender: Nope
Rear Fender: Russ Werdimont / Speedking
Seat: Dave Theobald
Foot Controls: Speedking Mids
Oil Tank: Speedking
Headlight: Springer Tear
Taillight: LED
Photographer: ww.speedkingphoto.com

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