The Winning Shovel

Article By: Matt Reel

Photos By: Jeff Cochran

Originally Published In The March 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

The world of custom motorcycles has seen many a builders come and go. Through the TV years of choppers, shops were popping up everywhere. When that fad passed, the true chopper enthusiasts were still holding fast. These were the guys that lived and breathed this stuff. They were the guys that were up at the butt crack of dawn and working through the weekends because they loved what they were doing. These guys were and are the real deal. One of those “real deal” builders is Jeff Cochran. I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s style from the early Sucker Punch Sally days right up to now. The more I’ve been around the industry I’ve realized that not only are Jeff’s builds visually pleasing, they are rock solid, dependable motorcycles. Take the bike featured here for example. At first sight, it’s a beautiful bike. Then you start to notice the little touches that make it special, and then you realize these photos aren’t of a fresh build. This bike had well over 1,000 miles on it at the time it was photographed and still looks this good.

Jeff started this build with a 1984 Shovelhead FLH. The stock frame was secured in his jig and one of his own “SpeedKing” branded hardtail kits was installed. A narrow glide front end was set up in a set of custom trees that Bill Dodge of Bling’s Cycles had given him a while back. On the rear end, an 18X5.5 tire was mounted along with a SpeedKing dual caliper set up. With this set up, one caliper is actuated by the foot and the other by the hand control. With the foundation set up, Jeff moved to motivation. S&S built him a solid, dependable 80-inch mill. Next, a Rev Tech 5 in a 4 transmission was mounted up. These two pieces were then tied together by a BDL primary. Now, while these may seem like off the shelf parts, nothing goes untouched when it comes into Jeff’s shop. A custom ignition cover was built using a BDL belt drive front pulley, and custom touches were added to the belt drive itself.

With the driveline taken care of, attention was turned to sheet metal. An axed gas tank was chosen to hold the fuel, but it couldn’t be just bolted on. No, Jeff cut it up, narrowed it, raised the tunnel and notched it to clear the rocker boxes on the Shovel. A SpeedKing oil tank was used along with a SpeedKing rear fender that was held in place with SpeedKing stainless struts. Now it was time to get some control of this custom motorcycle. A set of Z bars were narrowed and attached to the front end. A set of BDL forward controls were acquired, taken apart and machined before being installed. Finally, Rich Phillips provided a seat, making everything perfect for the rider.

With everything put together, it was time to take it apart. The bike was stripped down for some color. Killer Coatings took care of all the powder coating. With that done Reincarnation matched paint to the powder coat and covered everything else. Now that almost everything was taken care of Jeff only had one last thing to do. Go out, ride, and enjoy his new bike. You see, this bike wasn’t built for a customer; this was to be Jeff’s personal ride. About the time it was completed Jeff was invited to the In Motion Show in Texas to compete for the $10,000 grand prize. Jeff loaded up his new bike and headed to Texas. The judges of In Motion must have appreciated the work that went into this bike as much as I did, he came home with the Grand Prize. Now back home, Jeff ran into a problem with his new personal bike. A good customer of Jeff’s wanted it. Two things seem to happen over and over to Jeff. He never seems to keep a bike for himself very long, and customers keep coming back. So, while many so-called builders may come and go the truly great ones will always be there, putting in long hours doing what they love.


Owner: Linh Nguyen

City/State: Carthage, In

Builder: Jeff Cochran

Year: 1984

Model: FLH

Value: 30K

Time: 90 Days


Year: 2018

Model: S&S Shovelhead

Builder: S&S

Ignition: Single Fire

Displacement: 80ci

Pistons: S&S

Heads: S&S

Carb: S&S

Cam: S&S

Air Cleaner: S&S

Exhaust: Jeff Cochran

Primary: BDL


Year: 2018

Make: Rev-Tech 5 In A 4

Shifting: 5 Speed


Year: 1984

Model: FLH W/ SpeedKing Hardtail

Rake: 30°

Stretch: None


Builder: Jeff Cochran

Type: 39mm Narrow Glide

Triple Trees: Bling’s Cycles

Extension: 3 5/8” Under


Front Wheel: Spool

Size: 21”

Tire: Ralleycross

Front Brake:

Rear Wheel: Softail

Size: 18”

Tire: Podium

Rear Brake: SpeedKing Rush Hour


Painter: Reincarnation/Killer Coatings

Color: Puritan Blue

Type: PPG

Graphics: Flames

Chroming: None


Bars: Jeff Cochran Narrow Z’s

Risers: Biltwell

Hand Controls: BDL

Foot Controls: BDL

Gas Tank(S): Narrowed & Notched

Oil Tank: SpeedKing

Front Fender: N/A

Rear Fender: RWD

Seat: Rich Phillips

Headlight: 5 3/4”

Tail Light: Aftermarket

Speedo: None

PHOTOGRAPHER: Jeff Cochran Photography

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