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Monday, November 13, 2017

Fuel Cleveland 2018 Builder Series: Kelley Runion - Champ Co Supply



Fuel Cleveland 2018 Builder Series Profile:

Name: Kelley Runion
Shop: Champ Co. Supply
Location: Howell, MI
Build: 1959 Panhead


11.13.17 - Intro


Kelley Runion stopped by Lowbrow Customs a few weeks ago on his way to make a trade of a life time. What was that trade you ask? How about a freshly done 2005 Sportster chopper for a 1959 Panhead, yeah I'd make that trade too. We were immediately intrigued by the whole idea and asked Kelley to keep us in the loop. After getting the bike he hit us up and told us he was able to lock down the trade and acquire the Panhead! With such a cool story, Kelley not only being super talented but a great family man and the bike looked like it could be something really amazing, we had to extend the invite for him to be apart of Fuel Cleveland 2018. We absolutely can't wait to see what Kelley and his 3 boys come up with on this build, start'em young as we always say. 

Words from Kelley:
Everyone that knows me knows that I have dreamed of one day building a Panhead. Didn't matter what year, just a Panhead. Well, that day has come but it took a journey to get here.

Kelly's sons putting in the work on Kelly's first ever build.
The '59 Panhead


Modifying my bikes and later building them started out of necessity and later turned into a passion. That same passion has already been handed down to each of my three sons who each in their own way have a heart for bikes, both riding and wrenching as well as knowing the history of what got motorcycles to the place they are now. Ive been blessed to be able to blend family time with what I love to do and being invited to be a builder for Fuel Cleveland has definitely given me some street cred with my dudes. They'll be following my build thread with eagle eyes to catch a glimpse of themselves in action. They have been a pivotal part of my previous two builds and i'm stoked to have their input on the '59 as well.


The '59 made its way to our garage recently through trade. I had just finished building an '05 chopper and for some reason got it in my head to scour craigslist for anyone selling a panhead for under 10g. I must have sent out fifteen or so requests across the entire US to see if anyone was interested in partial trades. As you can imagine...they weren't, except for one dude. One crusty old biker in Virginia had a panhead sitting in his kitchen for the last 2 years. It belonged to he and a buddy and since his buddy passed he just let it sit. He had seen the bike I built on social media and after hearing from me was down for the trade. Had to sweeten the pot with a couple of guns I no longer shot but it didn't take long for my middle son and I to load up the sporty in the back of the truck to make the trek 12 hours away to Virginia. We made a pit stop along the way at Lowbrow Customs to pick up some swag but other than that it was east bound and down. Needless to say we made the swap and here we are.

The Motor
Here's the plan unless I change my mind...which I've been known to do; We're starting with a '59 Panhead motor bored .60 over. We've got a '58 4 speed ratchet top trans that we will run with a rocker clutch and jockey shifter eliminating the hand control and mousetrap that came with the bike. Turns out after cussing the frame which I thought was either a 54 wishbone or at worst a re-pop that underneath all of that bondo and atrocious welding was an OEM '48! The frame is kinda like that dude that you can't stand until you find out he's a good welder and builds bikes then you're like "oh, he's kinda cool, just different!" The plans are to either narrow up a set of 3.5 gallon fat bobs or to run Lowbrow's WX tanks and try to retro fit a Harley dash. I wanna see the rocker covers and I'm just not ready for stock tanks just yet. Maybe when i'm old-er. Planning on narrowing a re-pop hinged rear fender and running it without the lower section and unless I sell one of my kids and can afford an OEM springer ill run a Mid-USA replica. The plans are to try and maintain some of the stock look of the bike with some obvious additions and take aways. Ive had this vision in my head for years and I hope to be able to pull it off.


It's an honor to be a part of Fuel Cleveland and I hope this bike in some way represents the spirit of what its all about. Long live the dude in his garage that just figures it out.

Make sure to follow along Kelley's every move with this build via his Instagram page @champcosupply. We will also post updates through out the months leading up to the show of his progress on this thread. We eagerly can't wait for the unveiling of this 1959 Panhead at Fuel Cleveland on July 28th, 2018!


The trade an 2005 Sportster for a 1959 Panhead!

​Stripped down revealing how cruel the 70's were to stock frames

"Seriously...why?!" 

While cleaning the 70's off of the frame I came to find out it is an OEM '48!

​Getting it clean and figuring out what needs to get cut off and what needs to be replace. Trying to keep as much of the original frame as I can.

12.14.17 - Update


Eight months sounds like a long time to build a bike unless you're the one building the bike! I feed my four kids and wife with my full time job as a pastor so each of those things in their own right demand much of my attention. Thank God for motorcycles so I can have a creative outlet and a place to get lost. A lot of my time thus far has been getting the frame ready and gathering parts. Ive been selling belts that I craft in my leather shop as well as selling old take-off parts to fund the build. So grateful to Lowbrow Customs for the parts they provided free of cost. It was a huge help!

If you remember what the frame looked like when I got it you will understand the need for this backbone to have been cut out.
​Since the frame turned out to be an OEM HD '48 I decided with the help of my buddy Adam not to replace the neck but to just de-rake it and clean it up. Also decided to window pane it while we were at it. Still have clean-up work to do on it but I'll save that for after the final tear down.


​Stoked on how this wheel turned out! Started off with a chopper spool but decided to send it back and go with a star hub so the front matched the back, which is an original. Found a local company to powder coat the drop center rim and learned how to lace up the stainless spokes from a good buddy of mine who owns a bike shop here in our small town. One thing is for certain, I could never do this without friends.
My favorite nights in the garage are when one of my boys is out there with me. My dude Caleb is the one most interested in this type of bike so he and I get regular time together figuring this thing out. My oldest is a pipeline welders helper so I don't get too much time with him so when I do I cherish it. My littlest guy is a dirt bike lunatic so I'm still waiting for him to come around but we'll be sure to get his hands a little dirty on this one with the old man here and there. We're trying to figure out the WX tanks Lowbrow Customs sent us. I think we have a plan to let us run them low and split enough to keep the backbone exposed. Stoked on these things!
​Got the stance we were looking for but still saving for the replica springer to get it in a full roller. Hopefully soon. Looking forward to the coming months and watching this thing come to life. Thanks for staying tuned into the build and for all of the encouraging words along the way.

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