Horse With No Name

Article By: Alex Scott

Photos By: Jordan Meredith

Originally Published In The January 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Feature 5

Mike McElewee acquired a Twin Cam engine over six years ago with no knowledge of what it was to become. At the time, with the economy going south faster than mercury in the winter, it was more than just a steal, it would eventually become Mike Mac’s Magnum Opus, at least thus far in his 33 years. Although when you look through his garage and see his Panhead, valiantly loyal, and his Shovelhead, waiting for its rebirth, the idea of the definitive chopper, one in which reliability is never a question, you can see his 88 Twin Cam. A horse with no truer a M Article By: Alex Scott Photos By: Jordan Meredith purpose; it is his 88 Twin Cam chopper which he triumphantly rides down East Coast highways. It is an iron horse purposefully with the absence of a name. Mike acquired the engine in 2005 from a friend of his after it was rebuilt completely from S&S motors. With all the distractions (if it is fair to call them distractions) of his wife and two kids, not to mention his job and mortgage, Mike didn’t start on the build until about a year and a half ago. Finally, he would be getting his idea of a chopper that he could truly ride every day, start on the first kick, and overall, would be reliable for the foreseeable future. It did, however, sit rusting in his garage for 6 years before it crossed his mind to become what would soon be, as he describes, “the bike that was even better than the vision of a chopper I ever imagined.”

Mike got his first motorcycle when he was 16 years old and never even had a car until 19. He drove that first Honda Rebel through the snow and the rain; the only student with a bike in his high school. He had put it down a few times and also was rear ended (which put an end to the Rebel) but these were just minor bumps along the road in which Mike describes as the “trials and tribulations” of owning motorcycles. And these trials effectively brought about an appreciation for the Twin Cam which could not manifest itself in any other way. Mike finally started the build after what he described as a long running joke with his Shovelhead’s inconsistency. The Twin Cam was pulled out of another bike, and when Mike got it, there w e r e wires strewn about, rust in places and sitting water in the pan. It wasn’t the original thought for the bike. He also had a Panhead whose fate was not yet determined, but he wanted something fast, powerful, and above all else, reliable. After sitting for 6 years, Mike sent the motor over to his friend Don at DP Cycles. Mike explained the idea of his chopper and Don was more than enthusiastic. Mike then found the perfect home for the motor in the form of a 2002 Santee rigid frame. All of the welding and metal work took place in Mike’s own garage, where he spent many nights working, utterly focused, just to look up in time to meet the sun at dawn. He hand hammered the fender out, and also straightened the pipes. He also did all the welds on the frame, and any parts that seemed too much of a hassle to find or buy, he just fabricated himself. The seat is handmade as well, and after the paint was added, it now looks like a catalog piece.

Feature 5b

Due to Mike’s other duties in life, he would find himself frustrated at the weeks he would have to spend outside of the garage, but even then he was visually constructing what a chopper was to him. Mike finally arrived at the time to send it to a buddy who was well versed in paint, and waited impatiently for the moment it would return. He says that besides his wedding and kids being born, the build would be up there as the best time of his life. Suffice it to say, words can hardly capture the moment Mike got the bike and rode out of his driveway and down the street for the first time. Mike says that the irony of all this is the amount of positive feedback he gets for the choice of the Twin Cam. When he thought of a chopper, he thought power and performance, and that is exactly what he built. There are currently no plans to place it in shows, and that knowing it is in his garage when he is away, is reward enough. Mike tells me that the camaraderie and community that was bestowed on him during the build was the ultimate; if he never builds another bike again he was lucky enough to build one too many. He says he is blessed to have friends like Don, and his friend Steve at eastcoastmachines@blogspot. com, to help with the build and the joy of riding together. When I asked if he had a name for the bike, Mike answered no, and that no moniker could describe the experience or the end product of the build. He said he considers himself the luckiest man in the world, and why fret about a name, when the real beauty is in the wind and the roar.

Feature 5c

A Horse With No Name Tech Sheet

Owner: Michael McElewee

City: Philadelphia, PA

Fabrication By: Michael

Year: 2011

Model: Twin Cam

Time: 1 Year

Value: Priceless

ENGINE

Year: 2002

Model: S&S Twin Cam

Builder: Don Price/DP Cycles

Ignition: Twin Tac

Displacement: 1600cc +

Pistons: S&S

Heads: HD

Cam(s): S&S

Carb: S&S Super E

Air Cleaner: Benchmark

Exhaust: Michael

Primary: BDL

TRANSMISSION

Year: 2000

Make: HD

Shifting: Foot

FRAME

Year: 2004

Make: Modified Santee

Rake: A Little

Stretch: Some

FRONT END

Type: HD Narrow Glide

Builder: Don Price – DP Cycles

Extension: A Little

WHEELS

Front Wheel: Repop

Size: 21”

Tire: Duro

Brakes: HD

Rear Wheel: HD

Size: 16”

Tire: Duro

Brakes: Performance Machine

PAINT

Painter: Ryzart

Color: Candy Apple Red/Pagan Gold

Type: House of Kolor

Graphics: Gold Leaf

Molding: None

Chroming:

ACCESSORIES

Bars: Biltwell

Risers: Biltwell

Hand Controls: PM

Gas Tank(s): Special ‘79

Front Fender: None

Rear Fender: Michael

Seat: Michael

Foot Controls: Michael

Mirrors: None

Oil Tank: Stock

Headlight: Small

Taillight: Michael

Speedo: None

Photos By: Jordan Meredith

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