Bling’s Cycles Naked Suicide Panhead

This raw Harley-Davidson-powered custom began life as a vintage chopper

Panhead chopper

The Stringer brothers own this raw ride, but Bill Dodge’s hands made it.

Michael Lichter Photography

This 1956 Panhead custom started as a big old classic chopper when Bill Dodge of Bling’s Cycles decided to tear it apart. From the beginning, to fulfill the raw theme, he wanted to use as much stainless steel as possible. He says, “I’ve always loved building bikes raw and would sometimes be sad that they would have to get covered up in paint. Knowing this bike would stay raw made me work that much harder because you see every detail. You can’t hide anything. Every imperfection can be seen, and some of those imperfections are what gives a bike character.”

The frame wasn’t in any condition to restore so Bill pulled out a one-off stainless frame that Will Ramsay at Faith Forgotten had built for him. From there, he put the motor and transmission into the frame and started making stainless parts around it that fit his vision. Foot controls, exhaust, motor mount, linkages, taillight, sissy bar—even little joints to buffer the non-steel from the chassis because he wouldn’t use anything connected to the frame that wasn’t stainless steel. Some of the other parts, Bill made out of aluminum, including things like the oil bag, seat pan, shifter, handlebars, risers, triple trees, and rear fender.

5-1/2 x 1-5/16-inch triple trees

This front end sports Bling’s 5-1/2 x 1-5/16-inch triple trees with 33mm Harley lowers.

Michael Lichter Photography

Chris-Craft boat

That air cleaner is a modified air intake from a Chris-Craft boat.

Michael Lichter Photography

ribbed exhaust

Mr. Dodge used a ribbed exhaust to add to the industrial flavor of his creation.

Michael Lichter Photography

steel tank

Bill Dodge built a steel tank and then cut it in half to make two molds from which he cast the two halves of what got welded together into the tank you see on the bike.

Michael Lichter Photography

little joints

Close-up of some of those little joints he made.

Michael Lichter Photography

Vertical struts

Vertical struts join the rear fender to the back of the bike.

Michael Lichter Photography

bareback seat

When you mount up to go bareback on something this raw, you don’t have much cushion to work with.

Michael Lichter Photography