Led Sled Customs Pours On The Elbow Grease

Written by  By Peter LaFrance Photos by Jack ‘What Is This Elbow Grease You Speak Of?’ Cofano Friday, 25 July 2014 15:30
Published in Bobbers
    “What a freakin’ nice bike” rolled through my head when I saw this Sportster hot rod bobber. Built by none other than Pat Patterson and the talented crew of hardcore Sportster fanatics at Led Sled Customs in Dayton, Ohio, it’s not a big surprise if you’ve followed the constant rise of Led Sled into the dominant, yet honest value builder of one Sportster after another that you just might kill for. A walk around this bike dares you to get on, get it on, hang on, and keep doing it ‘til the tiny, but effectively stunning ex-Husqvarna gas tank runs empty.  


  Even though Jack Cofano photographed this knockout at the recent Smoke Out, it just might look a bit familiar to you if you caught the fourth episode, Rust Belt Edition of Discovery Channel’s BikerLive. Pat and the Led Sled crew duked it out with Porky’s Chopper Co. and Raw Iron Choppers. Who won? I don’t particularly care as I’m not a huge fan of builder shows that don’t show much building and rely on fans texting votes or something silly, but that’s anothttp://liquidillusionsart.com/her story for another day. What does matter is this bad boy Led Sled Sporty called Elbow Grease that’s our feature bike was a product of that show and a good one it is.


  Starting with a Led Sled rigid frame built from polished seamless stainless steel tubing with lovely pointed black lug work where tubes come together all through the frame reminiscent of a high-end, handmade ‘80s racing bicycle frame’s impeccable investment cast lug work. The black lug work’s contrast to the high sheen of the stainless couldn’t be more pleasing to the eye, sophisticated, and clean. Pat subtly integrated this pointed lug theme throughout the bike from the deliciously curved fender stays to the even more deliciously curved hand shifter pivot point and mount. Even that hot rod bastard of a short, curvy and sleek header –wrapped twin exhaust feature the pointy lug look, but this time reversed with black exhaust tubing and stainless pointy lugs. Nice detail there Pat. Oh, by the way, Pat machined the downtube with what I’d call ‘fluting’ to break it up and add some interest where there’s usually none. Again, nice detail there Pat.


   The frame is set up for a 240 rear tire ─ right at my unofficial maximum size for fun rideability and beefy good looks. I’ve got to give credit to Pat for best use of a Buell-style perimeter rotor with a tech freak’s delight six-piston rear caliper hanging down low to add some mechanical mischievousness to the dark black hole of the rear wheel. Out front, the devoid of any stopping power whatsoever black Invader wheel looks like it has one, make that two, purposes ─ Looking good and mindlessly rolling down the road. Helping it roll as it intends is the absolutely striking Led Sled stainless springer featuring contrasting black springs and a smart as hell Scott’s steering damper mounted on top. These little easily-adjustable beauty is made by Ohlins to Scotts’ specifications and keeps you out of trouble usually without you even knowing it already did its dirty work so you wouldn’t have to. Man, Pat knows how to hold a design together without trying to look like he was trying. Love that springer man!


   The 1993 Sporty motor was in for treat too. A set of billet Panhead covers with cutting edge design and machined detailing continue their rounded design downward over the Sporty’s black cylinders that have also been rounded out from their former squarish design. The new top end design harmony is further advanced by Led Sled’s work of art stainless pushrod tubes that remind me of hollowed-out Snap-on socket extensions. Maybe that isn’t the image you had in your head, but you gotta admit that the finish could rival Snap-on’s impeccability and that’s saying a hell of a lot in my book anyway. Pat screwed on a big racy Mikuni carb breathing through a bell mouth that looks like a WWII air raid siren.


   Topping the engine off is the legendary manly equal of a 6-71 supercharger with Hilborn Injection and a giant scoop sticking out of a car hood, a kick ass magneto that we mythically revere as something that provide the spark that could kill a dinosaur. If somebody told you only real man ride magneto bikes, you’d probably have to quietly concede they were correct and slink off back into the shadows. Another Led Sled tidbit is the remote oil filter mount that picks up the machining on the faux Panhead covers and ties it together.


   You probably noticed my mention of the “hand shifter pivot point and mount” which obviously means it’s shifted by hand instead of foot. And what an elegant looking hand shifter it is. Ridiculously smooth and satisfying design makes grabbing that shifter a pleasure each and every time. When you’re not on the bike you wish you were and you wish that hand shifter were right at hand. There’s a bit of Pagani in the whole shifter and mount setup and if you know what I mean by that Pagani reference, you’ll surely agree with me. This baby makes the legendary Mopar pistol grip shifter look like a caveman’s stone axe.


   Other nice little touches are the sensible mid-mount controls that have a BMX pedal-style peg with a simply lovely shin guards. Nothing looks out of place or trying hard to be something special, they just are. Speaking of that, take a peek at the (again) simple cylindrical oil tank precariously hung out into dead space by the machined flat stock mounts to the frame. Done and done and honest looking. The only odd ball feature on the whole bike is the headlight. Pat got around the problem of how to mount one that had a look of its own, so he chose to mount it in headlight limbo down where forward controls would be on the left side of the bike if the bike did have forward controls. Oh it’s a cool solution to a builder’s common dilemma, although I got some doubts about the legality of the whole thing, but then it’s not my bike so it’s none of my business, other than I like it. Oh, I gotta mention the right-side smooth sprocket cover which seems to emulate the look of a retro-cool drum brake without having to have a damn drum. Oh, Oh, and one more thing, the beautiful leather Paul Cox seat and all you have to say is “Paul Cox seat’ and there’s nothing else to say.


  Topping off the build is the previously mentioned Husqvarna dirt bike tank mounted oh-so perfectly and an all encompassing, but stylistically perfect simple rear fender. Pat had Darren Williams of Liquid Illusions come up with the fabulous paint job that looks like something that should have come on a minibike back in the day. If it did, that would have been the top selling minibike regardless of whether it ran well or not at all. Anything that visually stunning would have sold on looks alone, even if it had to be dragged home. Well at least that’s how much I think of it. You?


    Pat and the lads really outdid themselves on Elbow Grease and I can only assume there’s a story behind that name which is actually immediately evident from all the hand work that went into this bike. Given a choice between a 30-inch wheel bagger and this hot rod, guess which one I’d hop on? Yup, you’re right.


  For more information on Led Sled Customs please visit their website  http://www.ledsledcustoms.com/ or check out their Facebook page. 

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