Mile Muncher

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Article And Photos By: Joshua Elzey

Originally Published In The July 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Darrell McCrensky was working out at the gym with a mutual friend when he was introduced to Mike of McCann’s Customs and ever since they have kept in touch. Over the next 10-12 years, Mike did paint and other work for Darrell until one day he mentioned to Mike his interest in doing an old school Panhead project. Darrell had decided that his current rigid bike was just too much of a spine buster for cruising around the New England roads and that is was a nightmare of a money pit to keep on the asphalt. Darrell was also looking for something fast yet easier on the back and wanted some of the same modifications that he had on his previous bikes. When you meet Mike, you know within a few seconds, his word means everything! Always having had a Harley or custom in the garage Darrell didn’t second doubt the phone call he received from Mike about a bike he wanted to hustle over to look at because he didn’t think it would stick around very long. The previous owner was a maniac and had beat on it, which could mean there would be a decent price on the bike which is always good for the start of a custom build. With cash in his pocket, Darrell went to take a look at it in McCann’s Custom garage the same day and it turned out that this project was meant to be.

Wanting to get back to the grassroots of building Darrell had been envisioning doing an old school with a magneto and kick start like early Harley-Davidsons. Darrell bounced build questions off Mike to help him figure out if specific ideas were good or bad. There was a big bone of contention when Mike informed him that kickstarting a 103cu Panhead with no other alternative may not be wise. The motor ended up being hard to start and a bear to kick, but it does every time! When the motor came back from Phil of Davin Engineering the necessary machine work was completed. Mike then began the final assembly of the engine which consisted of S&D heads, S&S carb, Andrews .540 lift cam, in-house painted parts, and Tech Belt primary drive. While the typical Panhead has only 74cu, this motor when stroked and bored came out to 103cu once Mike dialed it all in. Mike handmade the exhaust and rerouted it to accommodate the magneto giving the bike a unique look. A brandnew Baker-Frankentranny with a N1 Drum for shifting was installed providing reliability. The wishbone style soft tailed frame from Rolling Thunder has a 38-degree rake which required the rear fender to be modified to move with the swingarm instead of mounted directly to the frame and fit the 6.00×18 with a 200 series tire and Exile Sprotor. Up front, Paughco risers were installed with P.M. hand controls, and a barn-find headlight. The Paughco springer forks were extended 3” over with a classic 3.00×21 wire wheel in between. Darrell preferred the wire wheel combo over the big billet and thought the 200 tire was the best balance between drivability and you would still get some good traction from a stop and it would still have some lines and aggressive styling to it.

 

Jay Fortin hand tooled a leather seat to fit the seat pan that Mike fabricated. The words, “Don’t Tread on Me”, which are based on the Gadsden flag are stitched on the seat. This best captures Darrell’s American patriotism and his dislike of people giving away their rights. The way the seat was laced creating a raised rear lip allows Darrell to stay on the bike with the nice raked placement when he hammers the throttle. Under the seat, the number ‘3’, Darrell’s lucky number, was painted on the Anything Goes 74 Oil Tank by Mike which is held in place by custom-made mounts. When Darrell was a kid dating some girl, whose father was a Gordon guy he had to choose Dale’s number just to be a pain in the neck and it’s stuck since then! Mike made sure every detail on the bike was perfect and the final assembly was ready six months  comfortably. Mike wrapped up the bike in PPG black including the flames which Darrell’s wife always liked to see on the bikes built for him. The flames were reminiscent of his first bike –a Fatboy- that he purchased when he was only 17 years old and hid at the neighbor’s house just so his parents wouldn’t kick him out because owning a bike wouldn’t be tolerated. “Wanting just to live my life…” – Darrell. With several break-in miles under it, Mike called Darrell to come pick up the bike around midsummer. The bike was surprisingly faster than Darrell anticipated and the Panhead scared the crap out of him the first time he drove it on the highway. This was perfect for the speed junkie because if it doesn’t scare him, then he tends to sell it. With no intentions on any further modifications, Darrell looks forward to riding around the local town roads. He is pleased with the classy style and lines that simply make the bike look fast while sitting still.

MILE MUNCHER TECH SHEET

OWNER: Darrell McCrensky

CITY: Chelmsford, MA

FABRICATION BY: McCann’s Customs

YEAR: 2000

MODEL: Softail Panhead

VALUE: $40,000

TIME: 6 Months

ENGINE

YEAR: 2000

MODEL: 103 Panhead

BUILDER: Davin Engineering

IGNITION: Morris Magneto

DISPLACEMENT: 103

PISTONS:

HEADS: STD

CAM: Andrews .540 Lift

CARB: S&S

AIR CLEANER: Gas Box

EXHAUST: McCann’s Customs

PRIMARY: Tech Belt Drive

TRANSMISSION

YEAR: 2016

MAKE: Baker Frankentranny

SHIFTING: N1Drum

FRAME

YEAR/MAKE: 2000

MODEL: Rolling Thunder

RAKE: 38°

STRETCH: Stock

FRONT END

TYPE: Springer

BUILDER: Paughco

EXTENSION: 3” Over

TRIPLE TREES: Springer

WHEELS

FRONT:

SIZE: 21”

FRONT TIRE:

FRONT BRAKE: PM 2 Piston

REAR

SIZE: 18”

REAR TIRE:

REAR BRAKE: Exile Sprotor – PM Brake

PAINT

PAINTER: McCann’s Customs

COLOR: Black

TYPE: PPG

GRAPHICS: Flames

CHROMING:

ACCESSORIES:

BARS: McCann’s Customs

RISERS: Paughco

HAND CONTROLS: Performance Machine

FOOT CONTROLS: Not Mid Not Forward

FUEL TANK: Sportster

OIL TANK: Anything Goes 74

FRONT FENDER: None

REAR FENDER: McCann’s Customs

SEAT: Jay Fortin

HEADLIGHT: Barn Find

TAILLIGHT:

SPEEDO: None

photographer: Joshua Elzey

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