The David Mann Chopper

Article By: Keith Ball

Photos By: Peter Linney

Originally Published In The April 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

I’ve known Micah for maybe 45 years. He still rides daily and looks like a man who was made for his motorcycle. He fits like a glove and rides like the wind in a desert, after a storm instigates a low-pressure zone whipping the loose sand across the highway. He owned Micah McCloskey’s Custom Motorcycles on Sherman Way in the San Fernando Valley for 34 years, from ’79-‘13. Before that, he worked at the same shop for Joe Scarber and before that for Gary Bang, before Gary became a major distributor of custom motorcycle parts. When I met Micah, he rode a ’40 Indian Chief. It was his daily ride from ’72-’91, and he still has it. I featured it in Easyriders Magazine in ‘76. He rode it during his wild times when he peeled through the San Fernando Valley leaving a trail of empty Tequila bottles, sparks, and burnt rubber. They were wild, simple times, when most of us could care less about most possessions aside from one chopper and a $100 car that we used to get parts.

Micah sold his shop in 2013 and went into semi-retirement. Soon after the new owner killed the shop the landlord called, “Come and get this shit.” Micah was able to score most of his old equipment including an old hydraulic floor lift. It had been around the shop for 30 years, and he finally installed it in his home garage. For the first time in decades, Micah could build a bike comfortably in his home garage while working with his brother building spec homes. The home business slipped and a brother, Tony Dee called. He rode Knuckleheads and had a friend who had a car and motorcycle collection. Tony, Tom Whiting, and Micah had lunch. Tom Whiting wanted to augment his collection with some classic choppers, a Captain America Panhead, a David Mann styled classic Panhead and a Shovelhead. “Micah is your man, “ Tony said.

Micah worked extensively with Ron Paugh at Paughco to build an accurate Captain America reproduction; then he turned to this classic David Mann styled stretched Panhead. Micah grew up in the era  of the Panheads. They are his favorites. “You need to be rich to mess with Knuckleheads now,” Micah said. Next, he would build a ’66 Shovelhead for Tom. “This is the perfect pace to build bikes without the pressure of a shop,” Micah said, “and Tom is excellent to work with.” He got the engine, frame, and transmission together. The stock front frame section had a stock Knucklehead rear section attached. He worked closely with Dr. John to have the frame stretched to fit Sugar Bear’s classic, 18-over Springer. Micah is rebuilding a couple more Panhead engines now.

“Building bikes is a lot easier today,” Micah said. In the early  days, only Paughco and Flanders made parts. “Our equipment was lousy, and resources were seriously limited. Choices are now endless.” Everything was stick welded or brazed in the ‘60s. But the workmanship is still the same. Hell, he won the David Mann Memorial Award with this hot-looking Panhead at the recent Ventura Chopper Fest. Micah will continue to build engines and bikes into the future.

DAVID MANN CHOPPER TECH SHEET

Owner: Tom Whiting

City/State: Reseda, California

Builder: Micah McCloskey

Year: 1965

Model: Panhead

Value: Priceless

Time: 1.25 Years

Engine

Year: 1965

Model: FL

Builder: Micah McCloskey

Ignition: Points

Displacement: 74 Cubic Inches

Pistons: Wiseco 9.5:1

Heads: Stock

Carb: Dellorto Dual Throat

(It Has The Dellorto For Show And The S&S Shorty For Go)

Cam: Andrews A

Air Cleaner: Stacks

Exhaust: Paughco/Fabtech

Primary: Open Belt Drive (Bdl)

Transmission

Year: 1960

Make: H-D 4-Speed

Shifting: Hand/Jockey

Frame

Year: 1965 Front H-D

Type: Rigid Rear Section (Knuck)

Rake: 45°

Stretch: 1” Out, 5” Up

Mods: Dr. John

Forks

Builder: Sugar Bear

Type: Springer

Triple Trees: Mr. Bear

Extension: 18” Over

Wheels

Front Wheel: Spoke

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel: Spoke

Size: 16”

Tire: Avon Mkii

Rear Brake: ‘63-‘66 Drum Juice

Paint

Painter: Vince, Conejo Valley Auto Body

Color: Red

Type: Metalflake

Graphics: Gold Leaf

Chroming: Supreme Plating

Accessories

Bars: Fabtech

Risers: 4” Paughco

Hand Controls: Throttle Only

Foot Controls: Fabtech

Gas Tank: Paughco

Oil Tank: Harley-Davidson

Front Fender: None

Rear Fender: Ribbed

Seat: JP Seats

Headlight: Paughco

Taillight: MC Style

Speedo: None

Sissybar: Fabtech

Photographer: Peter Linney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *