Whiskey Tango

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Jeff Cochran www.speedkingphoto.com

Originally Published In The January 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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In the time that I have known Jeff Cochran, I have never met one of his guys that I didn’t think was cool as hell. Just recently, he showed up at our office on his way through town from a trip he was making to secure a new build for the Speedking lab and he happened to have his apprentice, Steve Bryant with him. By trade, Steve is an ironworker out of local 372, but with things being kind of slow over the past few years, he ended up hanging around the shop so much that jeff put him to work. He says it’s a blast getting to learn so much, but the job is mostly about polishing – a lot of polishing. Turns out that this on again off again work schedule was the very reason this bike came to be. The last time Steve was going to rework it was about 2 years ago when he got back on the job; one he thought would be long term. Well, just like so many of us, he tore the bike down and right in the middle of his plan, the work dried up and the bike got put on the shelf. Nothing you can really do there, I mean, there’s only so much polishing you can do when you need parts. So Steve went back to the shop and sat by as he helped Jeff “hardtail the world,” as he calls it.

But where does this cat come from, I had to ask. Well, it was a feature in a magazine that brought his attention to the guys at Sucker Punch Sallys when they were still located in Cincinnati. Steve began hanging around the shop. At first, it was to get help with some old Ironhead parts he needed, but then it was because the stuff Jeff and Donny were building was unlike anything else other people in the area were doing. They rode around on the most bitchin’ sleds and on top of that, they were never too busy to listen to dumb questions and help out. Super Dave, another of the SPS crew, was a long time friend of Steve’s too. The two had known each other since high school so it was inevitable that Steve would end up hanging around. When it comes to this Shovelhead, a friend of Steve’s knew he was looking for one and that’s how he came upon it. It was a full out show bike from the late eighties. You know, the one with the teal paint job and the pink and purple marbleized flames. He said he was sure it was a bad mutha in its heyday and he even rode it like that for a little while.

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Soon enough though he gave it a flat black paintjob, and over the years he’d change it a few more times. It was originally an FLH and was still a pretty big bulky bike..enter Speedking! About a month or so ago, Jeff went in for surgery on his neck and he was out of commission for a while. As soon as he was allowed back to work, Steve and Jeff hardtailed one frame and when it was done, Jeff announced to Steve, “Today’s the day we do your bike.” Now anyone that knows Jeff will be able to tell you that once he gets on a project there is little to do to keep him from it. Steve said that made for a hard ass week with some long days. He also said that it was more polishing than he’d ever done in his life. The project came together fast though; they cut a ton off of it with good old chopper goals in mind and added in some Speedking tricks. Jeff’s hardtails are in a constant state of evolution so every time you see one, they seem to get better. This particular one gave Steve’s Shovel the perfect stance. The engine was in good shape, although they did take it to Donny Loos to have the top end freshened up, but other than that, it was solid. With that, a nice big tire on the back and all the weight gone, it ran like a scalded dog.

Brandon Armstrong, who has been doing Jeff’s paint work forever now, laid down the finish over the little tank as well as the Russ Wernimont fender. The bike was going together so fast after its long stay on the shelf that Steve was getting itchy. The first fire-up came in the middle of October and he finally started taking it out. All that was left was to put a name to it and if you spend any time with guys in a shop you can appreciate how things come up in conversation. Well in this case, the guys were all makin’ fun of a Generation Kill episode and the Whiskey Tango thing just stuck — white trash, ya dig. I don’t know; that’s just how it happens sometimes. One thing’s for sure, the bike Steve ended up with here is a class act, trashy or not, it’s all badass, and after being down for a couple years I’m sure it’s the best one ever for him. Even though Steve’s seen Jeff take bikes through this whole process a hundred times, this one was different; this one was so much more, knowing that when it was done, this Shovel was coming home with him.

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Whiskey Tango Tech Sheet

Owner: Steve Bryant

City: Cincinnati, OH

Fabrication By: Speedking – Jeff Cochran

Year: 1980

Model: FLH


Time: 3 Weeks


Year: 1980

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Donnie Loos

Ignition: Single Fire

Displacement: 1340

Pistons: Wiseco

Heads: H-D

Cam(s): Stock

Carb: S&S Super E

Air Cleaner: S&S

Exhaust: Speedking

Primary: Stock


Year: Stock

Make: H-D

Shifting: Foot


Year: 1980

Make: H-D

Rake: Stock

Stretch: None


Type: Wide Glide

Builder: Speedking – Jeff

Extension: Under

Triple Trees: Pearse


Front Wheel:

Size: 19”


Brakes: None

Rear Wheel:

Size: 16”

Tire: Avon Roadrunner

Brakes: GMA – Speedking Single Caliper Bracket


Painter: Brandon Armstrong

Type: House of Kolor

Color: Plum Crazy and Black

Molding: None

Chroming: None


Bars: Drag

Risers: Stock

Hand Controls: Aftermarket

Gas Tank(s): Sporty H-D

Front Fender: None

Rear Fender: Russ Wernimont

Seat: Dave Theobald

Foot Controls: Thunderheart

Oil Tank: eBay

Taillight: CC Bros.

Headlight: Drag

Photographer: Jeff Cochra

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