Garage Built With A Ton Of Merit

Many are going to be surprised by this contraption, surprisingly born in a small individual cramped garage using primitive and very old tools. It is your style or not but Mike Ludivico has a lot of merit for making his own dream happen with very few catalog parts, a lot of passion, courage and tenacity. He has a full time day job builds bikes as a hobby, has no sponsorship and pays everything at full retail. price. So, he spends a lot of time searching swap meets for parts that he can modify and use later.

From a 1999 Softail Harley he kept only the frame and motor rebuilt by 2 friends (Vince Spadoro and Raymond Scottand) and sold all the rest to finance his project. Engine cases were polished, and heads topped off with Panhead rocker boxes. Do you know many people who cut a Harley frame in pieces and spend 9 months to rebuild it the way he wanted?  The smooth double arching backbones and down tubes were bent on a seventy year old tri-roller tube bender!  Then, he turned the swingarm frame into a  hardtail and incorporated the slip fit lugging at the joints similar to what is done on old hand made bicycles.

Harley transmission plate was moved and under it all electricals are boxed and hidden. The open primary started as a standard 3” BDL. Mike cut down the back plate to let the pipes make a left exit. He also machined down the clutch basket to keep it narrow and cut the 3” belt down to 2 ¼”. Below the seat (leather stamped by Keith from Black Sheep Leather) is a hand fabricated double tower oil tank with cooling fins. The double Springer was made by Mike from a set of narrow Buell triple trees with the front end sliding into the 2 ends of the one-off custom made handlebars!  Throttle cables and hydraulic lines for the clutch run incognito inside these bars. The clutch master cylinder is a brake master cylinder that he turned backwards and built into the bars, and then he fabricated his own clutch lever with a pivot through the same bars! The headlight is a projector magnifying glass lens with a high intensity spotlight behind it built into the neck of the frame! The headlight is incredibly bright, similar to high end cars or Fresnel lenses found in lighthouses!

Notice the left peg sliding out and folding down to become the kickstand! When done, it lifts up, slides back into place, and locks in the original position. Copper lines were bent by Raymond Scott to follow the line of the frame. The front 23” spool hub rim was found online and fits with the look Mike wanted. The rim is so narrow that he had to dress it with an enduro tire. The front tread inspired him to make his own tread for the rear tire. He used a standard Metzler 240mm,  designed and cut a more aggressive tread to match the front one!

Zipper's

34 Responses to “Garage Built With A Ton Of Merit”


  1. 1 Luis Jan 2nd, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I saw this bike at the cycle world bike show in 2010 the headlight was so cool.

  2. 2 Steve Carr Jan 2nd, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Great work Mike! Looks like some really cool and innovative Ideas. Keep up the good work!

    Steve Carr

  3. 3 DJ Jan 2nd, 2012 at 9:07 am

    That is what this whole deal is about!! Like it or not, this is the spirit of what our industry is supposed to be. I can’t say enough about that. If the big build off was a 4 way, I would give it to him

  4. 4 reyn mansson Jan 2nd, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Some very nice and unique design elements on this bike, maybe even an art deco influence especially in the mid-bike area [seat and twin oil tanks].

  5. 5 EzJ Jan 2nd, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Nice going, Mike & kudos to Cyril for recognizing talent & passsion.

  6. 6 Woody Jan 2nd, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Nice! Would love to see a closeup view of the headlamp. Some fresh flowing lines, lots of interesting touches.

  7. 7 Kirk Perry Jan 2nd, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Build a bike. At least one in your life.

  8. 8 hk Jan 2nd, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    im trying to like it because of the effort spent ,but its just no doing it for me .

  9. 9 Eric Maurer (Evobuilder) Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:43 am

    my comment has nothing to do with this bike, but witht eh term “garage builder” instead.
    the term “garage builder” is an interesting one. Unless you own a shop (that actually makes a profit) , are one of Drag’s choses few, or have a show on Discovery Channel…… aren’t most of us garage builders. I mean…. I never stopped building bikes in my garage for the past 20 years, so am hard pressed to get what all the hype is around the term garage builder. Some of the best builders I have ever met don’t own a shop, don’t have a tv show and have a day job.

    So…. there is nothing new about being a garage builder, most of us are.

  10. 10 Bill Santori Jan 3rd, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Who said that being a garage builder is something new? A garage builder is somebody building in his garage as a hobby and has a job. A professional makes a living at building for others. The issue is not qualitative.

  11. 11 Eric Maurer (Evobuilder) Jan 3rd, 2012 at 1:58 am

    my comment is not isolated to this post, but the rise of the term overall as if its a new concept. Every mag, blog, forum, site, etc. seems to be all over the term “garage builder” like its something new, as if its a novelty. The only difference in a garage builder and a professional is that a “pro” get paid to build a bike for someone else and a garage or home builder builds for themselves and friends.
    Both can produce a custom build and both can produce good and bad results.

  12. 12 Hungouver Jan 3rd, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Bravo, better than th freak show junk on a recent tv “event”!!

  13. 13 lumpy Jan 3rd, 2012 at 9:37 am

    How Far Can Ya Ride On That Thing? I Like The Left Side Pipes Thats About It. But It’s Not About Me!! Atleast He’s Building Great Job Creating Your Bike!!!

  14. 14 Nobody Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:00 am

    That is one sweet sled. I’m digging the Art Deco style from the gas cap to the oil bag. With those gills I bet it’s look slick with a grey & white paint scheme like a great white shark. or with grey/white +black accents like a reef shark.

  15. 15 Keith Stone & Kiki Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    The kick stand / foot peg is sick ! Good job !

  16. 16 Kirk Perry Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Hey!!………….. what happen to all the “Panhead and Knucklehead” sites? 🙂

    Flatheadpower?? I knew they chose the wrong name for their scene. First of all flatheads have no power. Period. Secondly, the only posts are from 45 owners. The site should be called the “Four-five Club.
    And Classic American Iron? 🙂 All those “old antiquer’s” do is complain about how someone’s e-bay offering is selling “altered case numbers”. Or what a tieif someone is to try and make a buck selling antiques. What a joke. The problem with both sites is that the site owner’s don’t actually OWN knuckle or Pans, but they’re all “experts”. Or if, in one case, the site owner owns a Pan, but he’;s a typical daddy-made-it-for-me rich kid, who doesn’t know anything about a Panhead and couldn’t put it back together if he did. Right? Of course.
    •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    It doesn’t stop at the weak online forums, or does it?
    I just ordered a set of 1951-1953 (54? no bar) tanks from V-Twin®. I’ve waited 15 yrs. for these tanks to be made. They aren’t advertised as “replica”. The tank emblem mounts are welded. Will the shape be even close to the originals??
    I’ll post side-by-side pics with an OEM set from the same year on Friday, the 7th, or Monday.
    If the tanks don’t make the cut in “fit and function”, it will only be “form” that sends them back as a “return”.

  17. 17 A Hotrodder Jan 3rd, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’m with Woody, it would have been nice to see the headlight. It was described in 2 sentences using almost 40 words and not a single picture?! Great looking bike.

  18. 18 Kirk Perry Jan 3rd, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    And under the umbrella of the prestigious “Garage Builder’s” section, let it be known to all, that we are the core to motorcycles. We set the standard for the manufacturers. And anyone who pays retail to build is hard-core, imo.
    That being said, I will in advance of receiving the 3.5 gallon “1951-1954” tanks, state for all time, that an American in this country cannot replica a set of Harley-Davidson 3.5 fuel tanks. The only person(s) that could, are designers from countries other than the USA (namely, Italy).
    It’s a phenomena that can’t be explained, but American’s just can not reverse engineer the originals. Perhaps the original designer of the tanks wasn’t an American at all, but hired from Germany by the factory. No one knows. The in-house Harley historian, Dr. X could never find out. All history is lost except for what’s left in people’s stashes. Amazing, an entire market dashed because of a set of fuel tanks. Jeeze-us.
    Case in point, this site’s director is from France. No one from American could replicate this site. Why? Because of the phenomena.
    If the V-Twin 3.5 tanks turn out to be acceptable, and don’t “upset the eye” of the beholder, I’ll be back to apologize.

  19. 19 Rob Campbell Jan 3rd, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Awesome details. Reminds me of a great big motorized Schwinn. I like the understated fender look, too!

  20. 20 Kirk Perry Jan 3rd, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    If the tanks turn out to be bloopie ( Too round in the wrong places) and they retail for $337.70.

    See? This is where strict “price pointing” (manufacturer’s building something under the hammer of a “price maximum”, that they think the public will pay.

    You’re not going to get much “gas tank design” built into $337.70 retail.

    How many people would pay $500. to $800. for a set of “true replicas” of the original that would fit right up on their bike… like NAPA frickin’ made it?? No doubt the same people that would jump at the chance to pay $800. for junk OE tanks off ebay. Include me in.
    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    You said what? “That the manufacture’s don’t owe me anything? That just another swing who calls in orders and complains?
    That’s bullshit. They led me along with tank emblems and mounts … and a UPS notice that tanks were arriving from Taiwan, six-months from June 2010.
    •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    Guaranteed, as a dealer, I’ll be fair and let the internet public be the judge. I’ll put OEM Harley-Davidson® 2012, Taiwan licensed repop 1951-1953 tank emblems on both sets of tanks, and the tanks mounted to rigid frame rollers with dashes and rubber strips for everyone to see.

    If I can’t stand the tanks, I’ll return mine and pay a 20% re-stock charge, and it will have completed “my involvement”, that I stayed with until the wheels fell off and stop turning.

  21. 21 Kirk Perry Jan 3rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    My last thoughts on this until UPS shows up are:

    I’ll have the first set of their 1951-54 tanks in my hands. What if everything that isn’t ok with the eye can be changed?
    What if, between now and Friday a craftsman in sheet metal will commit to taking these tanks and cutting strategic pieces out, and English-wheeling (crescent shaped) pieces that can be tig welded to change the shape to where Bondo could finish the job? Right, but it’s under paint and the eye accepts it.
    The welded emblem mounts remain as is, in a fixed position, but the metal around it is changed, (except for the left tank, pop-up reserve top & bottom openings area, which are held in alignment using the correct tool). Carbon fiber would be a method, except for the compression of the reserve valve….
    “Tank shapes are cast in stone”, it’s said.
    Having patterns available would allow other TiG people to change their own tanks.
    The last thing I want to do is send these tanks back. So, I’m always thinking. 🙂

  22. 22 rags Jan 3rd, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    awesome looking bike

  23. 23 Kirk Perry Jan 3rd, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    “No doubt the same people that would jump at the chance to pay $800. for junk OE tanks off ebay. Include me in.”

    Should read:
    No doubt the same people that would jump at the chance to pay $800. for a junk OE half, – right or left, SINGLE tank off ebay (1,600. a set).

  24. 24 Kirk Perry Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Here’s my situation today. This is a single-shot at a “real” series that everyone can learn from. Even though there will be few people to follow our trail (building a knuckle or pan) from the ground-up, plenty of people would like to see one being built.
    As it is, I have a V-Twin® rigid Pan frame (and a complete Stett-Built pan motor [pg. 79, Vol.1] that needs heat applied to the seat mount tabs of the frame, and bent in tandem with the seat-T mount bolt in place (so as not to lose alignment), to make the seat able to bounce up and down with no “arc of travel” interference within the seat post bushings. Minor. A perfect video task, and Stett http://stettsironhorseranch.com/ who actually looks like a biker, can make the fix and explain it in a way that everyone can understand.
    What’s available here is that he and I wrote books on theses knuckle & pans. He’s a 4th level HD tech, the best in the west. Highly qualified beyond mortal comprehension.
    We’ve got that and all he knows, and everyone he knows – on tap.
    Vintage Twin® is a 750 sq. ft. shop and secure facility, on a compound that includes a 600 sq. ft. guest (plan room) house where, once you check in, you don’t have to leave until the gig is completed. You’ll have a base between our shop and Stett’s in El Cajon 16 miles away.
    The rolling chassis starts out in Cardiff and finishes at Stett’s, where the motor is fit and installed with a belt primary and 50-tooth rear sprocket. The bike could be built in 6 episodes.

    The “social value” is that there’s other shops in the neighborhood, and we’ll all get to meet people we wouldn’t regularly have the opportunity to, or hear from. There’s much to learn from people who know mechanics and can weave that in with “life nuggets” that don’t involve cheap theatrics.
    Think about it deep within your “producing” roots. We’re the real thing over here where the sun shines non-stop, building stocker knucks and pans from off-the-shelf repop parts.

    Whaddayawannagowastetimewatchingplastic-fantastic? Get real. 🙂

  25. 25 jatinder pal Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Great piece of work,we need more people like him.The design,concept and fabrication is good with class details.

  26. 26 Hugh G Jan 4th, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Paul Jr. should hire this guy immediately!

  27. 27 Shifter Jan 4th, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Thanks Cyril for always supporting and helping the little guys.

  28. 28 Brett Jan 4th, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Kirk Perry is walking next to his shoes…

  29. 29 live2rideaglide Jan 4th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Awesome , way cool. Great build , design fresh look. Good job.

  30. 30 Kirk Perry Jan 6th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Here’s some 3.5 tanks. A bit flat-sided maybe, but the bottoms appear to have a head relief stamped. Welded emblem mounts, so far I’m still “in”.

    http://vintagetwin.com/topic.php?id=141#post-323

  31. 31 Kirk Perry Jan 7th, 2012 at 11:10 am

    “…..testing Teddy’s stuff is long over due. Some of it is a good solution , some is a headache. I heard he has an engineer going over the new products to check them before release, he just has too much done to re-do all of it.” – State of the niche industry, from John Pierce – Paint God

  32. 32 Kirk Perry Jan 9th, 2012 at 7:45 pm
  33. 33 Kirk Perry Jan 10th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Meeker film comment from Bruce Bristol B.S.A., Mustang, Lambretta, – Houston :

    The old films were fun to watch. Yep, that is the way 74’s were ridden back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. I remember Dowane Beavers riding his ‘Jackrabbit’ on the dirt tracks.
    The Jackrabbit was a 1954 or 55 FL, completely stripped down as a dirt bike.

    Beavers was the local guy who made race tracks here in Houston. First one for Dennis and I was 34th St track.
    Beavers would ride the Jackrabbit around the half mile oval in full wide open throttle broad slides.
    At the time I could barely beat him on a dirt track and I was 18 at the time and the ‘Old Man’ was 44 years old.
    He had been banned from the Riverside CA track in 1952 for running over some riders and he carried 18 inch long stitched up gashes on the top of both arms as a result.
    Jeeze, he must have been a tough cookie as a young man. I always had the greatest respect for him, as did everyone of the other riders at the time…… B

  34. 34 Kirk Perry Jan 10th, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I’m beseeching (begging) all V-Twin dealers to take a stand on intentional, predator shipping clerks, that willingly crate “Chaos”, when they have the CHOICE, standing at the PARTS BIN, staring at it like they’re at a URINAL……. Wake the blank UP! THINK, before you create a UPS road-life of returns for that part.
    If this is a ploy on the part of V-Twin to gather paperwork from “dealer-returned” known junk, “past warranty parts” for their return center, so that the parts eventually end up as a credit for V-Twin, then STOP IT.
    http://vintagetwin.com/topic.php?id=144

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