Article And Photos By: Chris Callen
Originally Published In The September 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
The story of La Lane Splitter you see pictured before you is one that starts with our introduction to Mike and Mike. You see, back at the Pate Swap Meet last year we ran across a cat with a wicked Flatty that we featured, the first Mike. This year for BMR he showed up days early to stay at Cycle Source HQ with, yup, the second Mike. Mike is the owner of this sick ass ’51 Pan and after winning trophies from us all week long during BMR we decided we better just go ahead and grab some photos before one of the other mags beat us to it. Now, Mike is a residential painter by trade and owns a company out of his home town in Oklahoma City where he makes his living. In his off hours however, he has quickly been going about the work of reliving his chopper childhood. He T said that in spite of the fact that he’s old enough to know better, he built this bike with no front brake, kick start, foot clutch, a hand-shift; just to do it. He should know better but it’s too damn cool. It doesn’t end here though. Mike’s been a pan lover since his first motorcycle in 1972, that was also a ’52 Pan. He’s had so many other bikes from that point on that his collection now is getting impressive. A ’66 shovel chopper, a ’47 Knuckle and another ’45 Knuck waiting for its turn on the table, all sit inside his shop. Mike said that his mechanical inclination came from a time where being mechanically inclined was a necessity. Back then if you didn’t wrench, you just didn’t ride.
When it comes to La Lane Splitter, Mike had the idea of the perfect bike in his head. He had always loved the skinny California chopper look and that’s what he went after. There was no roller or pile of parts from a basket involved, he selected each part, one nut and bolt at a time, and paced himself to find what he wanted to make this his perfect machine. The motor was bought out of Virginia and was the start of it all. It had been advertised as a fresh build, unfortunately Mike would find out it had been freshly built with old used parts. Into the motor he went, replacing miss matched pushrods with good ones and sloppy old heads with brand new STD heads. Truth be told, some of that would happen after it got to be a running bike. In its first 500 miles it dropped a valve so Mike actually re built the top end with the help of his good friend Shelby Combs @okc_chop_shop. No big deal, he gained a ton of knowledge and made a motor that not only starts easy but runs like hell and is bullet proof.
The frame was a Paughco wishbone that Mike did all the fabrication and welding on. He took a quick class on welding, since he hadn’t done too much of it before and away he went. Now, the end product he says may not make him a welder by the traditional sense but it works and there isn’t anything that a grinder and some Bondo can’t fix. He used a new Baker four speed tranny to move the CYCLE SOURCE September ‘16 25 Pan down the road. After all the problems he was having otherwise he didn’t want to have to worry about the driveline and says that this is a well recommended product. Some of the neat features that make this a custom that spans the generations come in the way Mike mixed the new and the old so well. Choices like keeping the stock brake position with the old Wagner master cylinder but using the new-fangled Fab Kevin dual caliper kit is just perfect. He even went as far as putting a simple hand control that will also activate the rear brake in times of need. But the hand twisted foot pegs and shifter, that’s class from the past and all the fruits of Mikes own labor.
Now the exhaust has to be mentioned here. If you look at the several joints along the length of the pipes those are actually flanges from a VW Bug. It serves dual purpose as they look cool as hell and makes them easier to take on and off. A good friend, Manny, helped out with those and after a treatment from Jet-hot, they are the perfect design to keep the right side of the engine clean. As you can imagine, the paint was gonna be a real point of scrutiny for a guy who makes his living as a painter. I should mention that Mike’s specialty in that industry is creating custom finishes for people who want distressed looks or specialty finishes. So when he went out to find a cat to lay down the finish for La Lane Splitter he was gonna be real critical. MIK’S Pinstriping and Custom Paint dove into Mike’s head and came out with the exact finish he was looking for. All in all, the final outcome was Mike’s perfect bike and he’s been all over Texas and Oklahoma to bike shows and runs. He’s pulled his share of trophies, first sometimes seconds but the one he’s proudest of is the first place for the most obnoxious exhaust. Seriously, he said that in spite of the fact that this is a hardtail pan, it’s comfortable and very nimble. He never has a hard time starting it, rides it all over hell and back and splits lanes on it, even though he’s old enough to know better.
LA Lane Splitter Tech Sheet
Owner: Mike Antinoro
City/State: Oklahoma City,OK
Model: Harley-Davidson FL
Value: Can’t Say, Wife Might Read This
Time: 1 Year
Carb: S&S Super E
Air Cleaner: Lowbrow
Exhaust: Designed By Manny
Make: Baker 4 Speed Ratchet Top
Shifting: N1 Drum Hand Shift
Builder: TheFactory Metal Works
Front Wheel: Spoolie
Front brake: None
Rear Brake: Fab Kevin Dual Caliper
Painter: Mik’s Pinstriping & Custom Paint
Graphics: Mik’s Pinstriping & Custom Paint
Molding: Mik’s Pinstriping & Custom Paint
Bars: Front Street Cycle
Risers: Welded on Bars
Gas Tank(s): Lowbrow Customs
Front fender: None
Rear Fender: Lowbrow Customs
Seat: Haifley Brothers
Oil Tank: H-D Replica
Tail light: Fab Kevin
Photographer: Chris Callen