Fast Lane Pan

Article By: Roadside Marty

Photos By: Carsten Fritzen

Originally Published In The May 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine


you ask most bikers the question “What’s your favorite H-D motor?” you’re gonna hear Panhead quite a few times and with good reason. The production run for Pans went from 1948 all the way to 1965 and during it’s time in the spotlight it helped the Motor Company deliver some milestones from the Hydra Glide front end to the swingarm frame, 6 volts to 12 volts and finally the electric start. The Panhead has seen it all so along with its great looks it’s been proven to last thru the ages. I have a soft spot for them because my first Big Twin was a Pan; which I still have to this day some, 27 years later. Some of you may recognize it now as Purple Haze. I first saw this Panhead as it rolled into the parking lot at Tropical Tattoo for Choppertime and I could tell immediately that I definitely needed to take a closer look and man I’m glad I did! This sweet tin top belongs to Bryan Lane and it’s a thing of beauty!

The beginning part of all this happened when Bryan moved to the Charlotte N.C. area in 2013. He was riding his stock styled ‘51 Pan thru his housing development when he noticed an open garage with a bike being built so naturally he stopped, walked right up and introduced himself to Tom who was in the middle of a ‘68 Triumph build. Needless to say they ended up becoming great friends and thru Tom Bryan met a lot of other guys that rode older bikes. However, many of their bikes are customs and even though his ‘51 was stockish their custom styles started to influence him. Later that year they all entered a bike show in the area and everyone won a trophy…everyone except Bryan, who promptly announced he was going to bring it big next year. While searching Craigslist a few weeks later he found the perfect start…a ‘56 Pan with Shovel heads in a swingarm frame.

The bike was, in Bryan’s words, absolutely hideous but the one thing that really grabbed his attention was the tank, it was a late 70’s Suzuki tank that had been modified to fit the Pan frame and it looked astonishing. Bryan closed the deal and took it home where he spent many nights just looking at it trying to figure out which direction he wanted to go with it. He had a few different ideas of what he wanted but he wasn’t quite sure how they would look. He didn’t want to go with a traditional Chopper or Bobber. Bryan wanted a true one off look to this build, something that looked aggressive and fast standing still. He wanted a smooth flow from the Suzuki tank to the rear fender, unfortunately the stock rear fender just wasn’t up to the task so he ditched it and proceeded to make a rear cowl section out of cardboard. After a bit of time and a few different designs he eventually he ended up with the one you see. He took that cardboard piece to the guys at Prism Supply and had them make it out of steel, they also formed the seat pan for him to fit flush into the solo rear cowl.


Right around this time Bryan decided to ditch the Shovel heads and go back with a Pan top end. He ended up scoring a set of stage 3 STD heads that bolted right up. Bryan spent a lot of hours cutting and grinding off any excess tabs and brackets that were on the frame to compliment that rear cowl section that really defined the rear fender area. Now that he had the motor squared away he went to Jake and the Prism Supply guys again for those incredible pipes, the front pipe runs down the left side and crosses over to the right side just behind the seat post while the rear pipe wraps completely around the seat post and dumps out on the right side of the bike, I must say they flow completely with the lines of the bike. Bryan said they came out so nice that he decided to keep all of the welds exposed instead of smoothing them down before he had them ceramic coated. With the way the pipes ran he decided to use a Mooneyes 3-quart oil tank to keep things small and giving it a really clean look in the process. Since he was planning to run a magneto with the battery eliminator capacitor (which is hidden under the tank) he didn’t have to use the stock oil tank and battery tray setup. He wanted to keep the front end as clean as possible to match the rest of the bike so he went with the timeless look of a spool 21” wheel mounted to a shaved 41mm narrow glide that was powder coated gloss black. He had to cut 2” off of the front springs which resulted in the front end being lowered by about 4”. Since the bike starting to have a certain speed and racing type of feel to it a set of Two Brothers racing clip on handlebars fit the bike and the look perfectly.

The 4 speed transmission was outfitted with a hydraulic clutch that’s controlled by a Nissin master cylinder mounted on the left bar. Bryan wanted the foot controls to almost “disappear” so he fabbed a set out of some round bar stock and had them powder coated gloss black. The motor mounts were also made from round stock and sent off to powder coat. For the taillight and brake light combo he went back to the guys at Prism Supply again for one of their mini bell light’s with flat glass which is mounted discretely off to the left side of the rear cowl tucked up next to the covered shocks. He ended up taking the rear cowl to a local upholstery shop where after talking with Hairy, the guy who did the majority of the motorcycle work, he knew he had the right man for the job, Hairy laid down a thin layer of gel foam and then covered with a marine grade of vinyl that really looks good. Eric from Heckman Customs supplied that really cool kicker pedal which is a rendition of the stock style popsicle pedal. He also sent Bryan that super nice velocity stack for the S&S Super E.

Finally, it was time for the paint so Bryan struck a deal with Porkchop from 26 Industries who laid down the beautiful silver metal flake, red candy and hand finished outlining. Once it was all wired and plumbed up Bryan took it for a ride and said that he couldn’t believe the difference the STD heads made. Of course he won a trophy at Willies and at every other bike show that it’s been in so far, so I’d say that he definitely accomplished what he set out to do. Congratulations on a job well done dude! Bryan would like to thank his loving wife Pacy and his daughters Kylee and Mia for all of their understanding his long nights in the garage while building this bike. He says that his daughters don’t even wake up when the air compressor kicks on any more. He also thanks Eric, Tom and Bo for all of their help and desire to finish this bike! Thanks for sharing it with our readers Bryan!!


Fast Lane Pan Tech Sheet

Owner: Bryan Lane

City/State: Matthews, NC

Year: 1956

Model: Harley-Davidson Panhead

Value: $20K (?)

Time: 8 Months


Year: 1956

Model: Panhead FL

Builder: Bryan Lane

Ignition: Hunt Magneto

Displacement: 117”

Pistons: Forged Weisco

Heads: S.T.D. Stage 3

Carb: S&S Super E

Cam: Andrews

Air Cleaner: Heckman Kustoms

Exhaust: Prism Supply

Primary: BDL Belt Drive


Year: 1956

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: 4 Speed

Kicker Cover: ART Hydraulic Clutch

Shifting: Heckman Kustoms


Year: 1965

Make: Harley-Davidson

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock


Type: 41mm, Shaved Lower Legs

Builder: Bryan Lane

Extension: 4” Under

Triple trees: Custom Narrow Glide


Front Wheel: Spoked Wheel, Spool Hub

Size: 21”

Tire: Shinko Dual Sport

Rear Wheel: Spoked Wheel, Star Hub

Size: 16”

Tire: Avon MK II

Rear Brake: Hydraulic Drum


Painter: Porckchop/26 Industries

Color: Silver/Red

Type: Candy / Micro Flake

Powder coating: Bryan Lane


Bars: Two Brothers Racing

Hand controls: Nissin Hydraulic

Clutch, Biltwell Whiskey Throttle

Gas Tank(s): Modified Suzuki TS250

Front fender: N/A

Rear cowl: Prism Supply

Seat: By Hairy

Foot controls: Bryan Lane

Oil Tank: MoonEyes 3 Qt

Headlight: 4 1/4 Bates Style

Charging System: Cycle Electric

Speedo: None

Photographer: Carsten Fritzen

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