Street Chopper - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: MARK MASKER

Pow­er­plant’s Pan­head Racer

Cre­ative free­dom is a dou­ble- edged sword. An un­re­strained idea can grow into great­ness, like Led Zep­pelin, choco­late- chip cook­ies, or the first Star Wars tril­ogy. Other thoughts, left unchecked, mu­tate into boy bands, fruit­cake, or the sec­ond Star Wars tril­ogy. Luck­ily, when ac­tor Scott Caan gave Pow­er­plant Chop­pers the go-ahead to in­dulge them­selves on his next cus­tom bike, he knew they’d give him a Luke Sky­walker and not a Jar Jar Binks.

On sec­ond thought, luck didn’t have any­thing to do with it. Scott has known Pow­er­plant owner Yaniv Evan since high school. That, and the Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia, shop built a bike for him pre­vi­ous to this one. Yaniv’s cre­ations are hand­made and use gen­uine clas­sic parts. He puts func­tion slightly ahead of form; above all, it has to be fun to ride. Pow­er­plant’s not con­cerned with chromed iron. It’s all paint and pol­ish with these guys, with as much done in-house as pos­si­ble. That’s why Caan gave Yaniv free rein to in­dulge him­self on this one. He liked the first enough that he had no prob­lem giv­ing them cre­ative carte blanche on the se­quel.

Pow­er­plant didn’t dis­ap­point him. They spent a year cre­at­ing a ’52 Pan­head based on a 1920s/1930s racer they had sit­ting around the shop. The rea­son it took so long? All the hand­craft­ing. Any parts he can make in-house, Yaniv does, due to the fact that he grew up around old

hot rods and he comes from the school of old­world crafts­man­ship. His bikes fea­ture a good deal of brass, be it the pegs or on ac­cents through­out the ma­chine.

It’s not all about the trim­mings though. Yaniv’s shop also made the tanks and fend­ers by hand. We said ear­lier this ride’s based on an old racer of his, but he took a lit­tle lib­erty with the peanut tank. It’s not quite what you’d find on a vin­tage race­bike, but it’s def­i­nitely clas­sic chop­per. Like the rac­ers of old, he ditched the front fender as ex­tra weight.

Yaniv cre­ated 90 per­cent of this bike in his shop, and those parts he didn’t make are mostly the orig­i­nal ar­ti­cles from back in the day. The shop re­built the ’52 mo­tor, adding in S&S pis­tons and cam for ex­tra oomph, and re­stored the match­ing trans­mis­sion.

As far as the chas­sis goes, Pow­er­plant stretched a ’56 Har­ley frame 3 inches out to bring the stance in line with that of the old racer. They then mated it to a ’47 springer fork set and XX spoke wheels. They kept the tires at a mod­est 3 x 21 inches and 4 x 18 inches for deep lean­ing in Cal­i­for­nia’s twisty canyons.

Twelve months af­ter Scott gave Yaniv the green light, he got his fin­ished ride. Evan took the spark of an idea and through his con­sid­er­able skill rein­car­nated some old parts as a new chop­per. Sure, it took a year, but I’m will­ing to bet Scott thinks it was worth the wait. SC

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