Speedking Sporty

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Jeff Cochran – speedkingphoto.com

Originally Published In The April 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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Hold on, did you say Sportster? That’s right, the man behind Speedking’s one-of-akind custom builds, Jeff Cochran, has taken it down a few cc’s. Jeff’s style has become synonymous with the minimalist approach to the big twin chassis over the years. His unmistakable lines and design comes from nearly fifteen years of building bikes and developing parts. These are what have made a Speedking build identifiable in a crowd of other customs. This is a milestone that any lifetime builder hopes to achieve but anyone who knows Jeff knows his life is about constantly challenging himself. On his own again for about two years now, Jeff has really stepped up his program and his pace building an amazing 13 custom bikes in the last 12 months. It was a friend of his in H Ft. Lauderdale who wanted one of his jockey shift systems for his new Forty- Eight Sportster that would throw down a new glove for him. Jeff took it as a test. While not knowing anything about the Sportster, he dove right in and went straight to school on it. After spending an hour or so on the Internet, Jeff decided that there really wasn’t anyone in the market who was doing a line of Sportster parts that would work for the way he likes a bike to be. That is to say, a specific function based form, and lines to die for. At the same time, he wanted to make stuff that would be user-friendly for the garage builder. So he figured that shifter out for his buddy and went right into a complete build for himself. The bike you see here is the result of Jeff going into the lab for a couple weeks and seeing exactly what a Sportster frame is made of and how he could make it cooler.

The biggest hurdle in achieving a great Sportster build is to not go at it as a Sportster. Jeff stated that many of the builds he has seen have taken that approach and ended up with good horizontal effects but completely overlook the vertical attributes. Cochran says that he doesn’t know how this happens, he just knows that if he is in the middle of a build and it isn’t going the way he wants it, he cuts it back apart. With this bike, the basic geometry has carried over from one of Jeff’s big twins. The wheel base and the stance are all the same but anyone who has worked with the two motors knows that they’re completely different animals. A huge plus is that Jeff is not intimidated by anything, rubber mount hardtail or whatever; he doesn’t believe in the words “it can’t be done.” Early in his career, he was up against some old timers who used to tell him that, and he never listened. The Speedking Sporty started life as a bone stock 883 Hugger with only fourthousand miles on it. He knew then that he could chip away and find the cool hidden inside it. As the components came off and the bike started to change, Jeff admits that he had a change of heart as well. He used to hate the two skinny front frame legs of the Sportster; it was something he always had a problem with. After the hours in his garage making something out of a Sporty that he’d actually ride, he now says he digs it. One of the first things that needed attention was the rear half of the frame. He developed the hardtail, this alone dropped the bike down, stretched it out a little and made huge leaps towards shedding the Sportster stigma. This is by no means a catalogue queen with a hardtail either. Many of the parts that adorn the rest of its physique have come from the Speedking lab like his clutch and jockey shift systems and of course the now world famous Speedking racing brake set-ups.

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Like I said, when it comes to his bikes, Jeff is all about the function aspect of his parts. If it’s something that doesn’t perform well, then it’s out. It’s one of the reasons that you see this cat tearing ass across town when you’re out at the events; it’s how he likes them to ride. Jeff machined all the pegs in-house. Now that he has his new digs all set up, he’s been enjoying the time of just working on parts with his hands. His shop is a place with no sign, no phone and isn’t really open to the public, a feature that helps him go in and work like a mad man and come up with 13 top level custom builds over a single year. The attention to detail wasn’t shorted on this smaller member of the Speedking family for sure. The smooth, shaved down fork legs and the hiphugging chrome rear fender that’s just filled with rubber, finishes off the back of the bike like a giant exclamation point. When it came to paint, this one is pretty simple but in a tasteful and specific way. Jeff decided to have a stock looking tank badge painted onto the side of it just to make sure people don’t miss the fact that this is a four cam version of his customs. So, many of you I’m sure will remember Jeff’s name from the previous celebrity status he reached as part of Sucker Punch Sallys. After 12 years of building bikes and that brand, I still didn’t even know the story he laid on me in this interview, the story of how he got his start. It was a bike that his brother gave him; a family heirloom of sorts. Jeff took it and cut it up immediately to the very strong objection of his brother and father. They were pissed, to say the least, that he had defiled the family heritage that surrounded this machine. Little did they know what he had in his head at the time would start a worldwide buzz around his style.

Blind to their demands, Jeff forged on until the finished product was a bike he called the “January Chopper.” The Horse magazine picked this up as a feature, Jeff’s first, but he still didn’t know it would hit their cover. Before the magazine even reached his house, a man called and questioned him about the bike. He told Jeff he had to buy it and even though he had been told that it wasn’t for sale and that Jeff wanted to take it all over for the summer to promote his new business,the man, Phil Sousa, continued to ask for a price. He told Jeff that the next morning he could expect a Fed-Ex delivery of a check for that amount and that he could even use the bike for the whole summer. Phil told Jeff that he knew he’d be very successful and wanted that first bike. If he wanted the deal, he was to just cash the check and on the first snow, the bike would be picked up. He also mentioned that if Jeff didn’t want to sell it, then he should just tear the check up and forget they ever talked. Sure enough, the next day, a check was delivered and from its proceeds, Sucker Punch was launched. Jeff took the “January Chopper” everywhere that year and never heard from Phil again. As the first few flakes of snow began to fall however, Jeff’s phone rang and Phil told him he was coming that weekend to get the bike. Jeff still says to this day that the man was like an angel that came out of nowhere and helped him get into the business. With a little under a month to go before Daytona, Jeff told me that he has a wicked little Shovel that he wants to build as his work truck for Florida, but that’s after he finishes the custom that he has going on right now. Man, does this cat ever sleep? I thought I was bad at the ‘both ends of the candle’ bit.

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Speedking Sporty Tech Sheet

Owner: Jeff Cochran

City: Cincinnati, OH

Fabrication By: Jeff Cochran

Year: 2002

Model: HD Hugger

Time: 40 Days

Value: Offer

ENGINE

Year: 2002

Model: HD 883 Hugger

Builder: HD

Ignition: Single Fire

Displacement: 883cc

Pistons: HD

Heads: HD

Cam(s): HD

Carb: CV

Air Cleaner: Gazer

Exhaust: Hacked Factory

Primary: Stock

TRANSMISSION

Year: 2002

Make: HD

Shifting: Speedking Big/Rig

FRAME

Year: ‘02 Speedking Rigid Tail

Make: HD

Rake: Stock

Stretch: None

FRONT END

Type: 39mm Shaved

Builder: HD/Speedking

Extension: -2 5/8

Triple Trees: HD Polished

WHEE LS

Front Wheel: Chrome 40

Size: 21”

Tire: 80/90/21

Brakes: None

Rear Wheel: Chrome 40

Size: 16”

Tire: Avon 140/16

Brakes: Speedking Dual 4 Piston

PAINT

Painter: Brandon Armstrong

Color: Metallic

Type: HOK

Chroming: Brown’s

Graphics: Armstrong

ACCESSORIES

Bars: ZZZZ’S

Risers: HD

Hand Controls: HD

Gas Tank(s): 2.2 Sporty

Front Fender: None

Rear Fender: Russ Weirdimont

Seat: Mr. Dave Theobald

Foot Controls: Speedking Speedclutch

Oil Tank: Knotched Kustom Werks

Taillight: AfterHours

Headlight: Drag

Photographer: Jeff Cochran

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