When you least expect it, life seems to hand you a dose of reality and it’s up to you to persevere. Caleb Owens is a talented builder but more importantly, a great family man. Some people look to the industry for the fame and fortune, yet Caleb strives for excellence and often takes the road less traveled. Recently Caleb was handed the biggest challenge in his life; build a bike for Born Free while recovering from a recent motorcycle accident. Many wondered if he could pull it off and by the looks of the FrankenPan, my friend has done it again.
I came across this bike as a basket case via a close friend. Initially I was going to get it running for him, he wasn't an old bike dude, but after a spell he just didn't want to dump the cash so he sold it to me. It sat in the corner of my shop for a long time. I always had this idea of just building a good clean runner I could ride every day but I just kept getting pulled to other projects.
Fast forward to a few weeks after Born Free 4. Mike Davis called and asked if I'd like to do another bike for Born Free 5. I said yes at the same time looking at the 49 in the corner. It was a good time to push me to build that bike. I also knew I didn't want to kill myself like the year before. I had to try to keep it contained. So building a simple runner would be no problem and I'd have plenty of time.
I planned on starting the build in December of 012, but in November I got clipped by a car in Hollywood and that just put everything in to a tail spin of sorts. Even while lying on the asphalt I thought to myself, "If I can get around ok in Feb. I'm cool, I can get it done." It's a problem, this bike stuff.
Mike and Grant were super sportive and expressed their understanding and to just let them know. I said, if I can walk in Feb. I'l get it done!
While still in a wheel chair I would go in to the shop and do what I could. It wasn't much, but at least I felt like I was doing something.
February came and I was up and around, so I was building the bike. Building a bike takes time, building a vintage bike can take a long time. Sometimes finding parts can take months, even years depending on what you need. The motor I had was pretty desperate for major overhaul so I had to track down a lot of parts in record time. Somehow I managed to find everything with some help from friends.
I knew there was a really strong possibility I wouldn't make the show, but I just kept pushing and let the cards lay where they would. Somehow I managed to finish the bike and ride it down the street a week before the deadline! I was, to say the least, overwhelmed and very happy.
Owner name, location: Could be you!
Chop Cult Member profile: Cro
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1949 Harley Davidson Panhead, 20 over pistons, Morris Magneto, S&S rods, Andrews A/B cam, Polished heads and cases
Frame: 1949 wishbone reproduction
Fork: OEM HD inline springer
Tire/wheel size and style: Front 21" WM1, stainless Bucannan spoke on early Halcraft hub. with 2.75 Speedmaster 16" Rear HD with Classic dual white wall
Favorite thing about this bike: Gas tanks, very happy with how they turned out. Original 3.5 gallon tanks that I narrowed in the rear.
Next modification will be: none
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Rear fender is an OEM that was sectioned and radiuses. Tail light is old Monarch bicycle reflector. The air cleaner cover is made via chopping up an Imperial Primary derby cover. Risers are hand made via my Cro's Nest springer clamps. Dash and speedo are chopped to sit 1" lower than stock. Imperial Primary is modified with large center rib, all engraved. Foot pegs are partly repurposed from handles off a 50's juicer. Gas Tanks are narrowed in the rear. Rear tank mount is hand made featuring custom engraved Buffalo Nickel. Shifter nob custom made specifically for this bike. Knob and hobo nickel provide by Tyler from Dark and Dawn. Engraving all hand done by Mark Cooper.Bike features all stainless hardware that is dished by hand.
Thanks to: My wife Kristen and beautiful new baby girl Kaia. Thanks to T.Markus paint for putting up with me and my nutty ideas. Thanks to Biltwell for the years of continued support and encouragement. Thanks to Tyler from Dark and Dawn, Thanks to Mike and Grant from Born Free for the opportunities and support. Thanks to Lisa Ballard for her undying love and support to this nutty chopper scene. Thanks to everyone who supports Cro Customs, I truly do appreciate it.
This bike is currently for sale, please email Caleb with serious inquiries only.
Be sure to check out Caleb's website, blog and give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram.