Hog Killers’ Proper Chopper

Aki Sakamoto creates a masterful Panhead

Panheads get mad respect and all the love. Hog Killers used a `61 motor for this sweet chopper.

Peter Linney

Bike builders are a special breed. Whether it’s the backwoods of a remote town buried deep in middle America or all the way from a foreign country like Japan, each builder has its own unique style and way of building custom bikes. Originally from Fukuoka, Japan, Aki has had a passion specifically for Harley-Davidson motorcycles since he was a young man. His desire to work on motorcycles brought him to the US in 1995. Hog Killers was opened in January of 2009 after years of apprenticeship and working under the direction of Jesse James.

Today Aki is one of the staples of the custom chopper scene, and his work is easily recognizable and well respected.

Peter Linney

This 1961 Harley-Davidson FLH is the perfect example of one of his clean and correct custom builds. When asked why he built this bike like he did, Aki responded, “I was shooting for a simple and clean chopper. This is my favorite setup: jockey shift and suicide clutch with no front brake.”

The motor is a 1961 74ci Panhead that was massaged by Aki with Andrews cams, Vida air cleaner, and an S&S Super E feeding the fuel. He then fabbed up a tank, fenders, and bars in the classic chopper style. A custom exhaust features great use of stainless and black, including custom piping for heat shields, winged ends, and custom tips.

The frame was built with a stainless neck, motor mounts, and axle plates. Aki fabricated several pieces of stainless through the bike because, “I love the way polished stainless stands out in gloss black paint.”

Peter Linney

There is a right way to make a bike that will stand the test of time and a wrong way that is quickly forgotten. What separates this from others is its lack of unnecessary clutter and extreme attention to detail.

Tip to tail this ’61 Panhead is just a great example of a clean, proper chopper.

Peter Linney

Owner: Aki Sakamoto
Shop: Hog Killers
Shop Phone: (562) 276-3427
Website: hogkillers.com
Year/Make/Model: 1961/Harley-Davidson/FLH
Fabrication: Hog Killers
Year/Type/Size: 1961/Panhead/74ci
Builder: Hog Killers
Cases: H-D
Cylinders: H-D
Heads: H-D
Rocker Boxes: H-D
Cams: Andrews
Carburetor: S&S Super E
Air Cleaner: Vida
Exhaust: Hog Killers
Year/Type: 1961/H-D
Gears: H-D
Clutch: H-D
Primary Drive: Open
Year/Type: 1961/Rigid
Rake/Stretch: Stock/Stock
Front End: Hog Killers
Length: 6 over
Triple Trees: Hog Killers
Swingarm: Rigid
Rear Shocks: Rigid
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Builder/Size: H-D/21 in.
Tire/Size: Avon/21 in.
Calipers: N/A
Rotors: N/A
Builder/Size: H-D/18 in.
Tire/Size: Avon/18 in.
Caliper: Performance Machine
Rotor: Performance Machine
Colors: Black
Paint/Graphics: Hog Killers
Rear Fender:
Gas Tank: Hog Killers
Gas Cap: Hog Killers
Handlebars: Hog Killers
Master Cylinder: Performance Machine
Grips: Andy
Hand Controls: Hog Killers Handshift
Foot Controls: Hog Killers
Pegs: Hog Killers
Headlight: Small
Taillight: Heartland
Seat: Hog Killers