Michael Lange’s Custom 1948 Harley-Davidson Chopper

Built by Michael Lange when he was just 15 years old, this 1948 Harley-Davidson Flathead was chopped, given several different face lifts and ridden across the country before being put into storage for over 40 years. COVID gave Michael a chance to revamp the bike for Mama Tried, where we got the details of this custom Harley. Check it out.

A motorcycle is often more than just a hunk of steel, rubber and moving parts. Many times, it turns into a piece of the owner, one that’s not easily parted with. We got to see that firsthand when we talked to Michael Lange about his custom chopper at Mama Tried earlier this year.

MPN’s Jacqui Van Ham met with Michael Lange at Mama Tried to talk about his Harley-Davidson.

Lange has owned this particular motorcycle for the majority of his life, making it an important period piece and item of sentimental value. He got the bike, a 1948 Harley-Davidson UL Flathead, in stock form when he was only 15 years old.

“I took it to high school and chopped it, and I actually needed a note from my mom that said if I got hurt on it she wouldn’t sue the school,” Lange says. “I built it, fabricated it and raked the frame all by myself.”

The bike has gone through several different iterations before it ended up how it looks now, including a candy-apple blue paint job over the course of the first summer Lange owned the bike, and a then a purple and blue paint job over updated moldings in the second year. During the second iteration, he added a windshield and extended the front end even more. The final rendition would include the amber gold paint job the bike features today.

After the second version was completed, Lange took the bike on a cross-country ride to California and back again at only 17 years old. The bike was also featured in Easyriders magazine. In 1978, he hit a car and bent the front end of the bike. Even though it didn’t cause serious damage, Lange took the bike apart and put it boxes in storage, where it sat in a time capsule for around 43 years.

When the bike was reassembled over COVID, the labor Lange put into the project was a top to bottom cleaning and the replacement of a few nuts and bolts that were lost over the years. Aside from that, the bike is essentially as it was when it was shot for Easyriders back in the mid ‘70s.

The 1948 model was the final year Harley-Davidson produced the UL, which was the company’s 74 and 80 cubic inch models designed for police departments, over the road touring and sidecar duty in the military. Like most of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles of the era, the bike featured a 45-degree V-Twin engine later known as the “flathead.”

For Lange, his life can be summed up with “Flatheads Forever,” which he has proudly tattooed on his shoulder. This bike is just another reflection of that passion, and we’re glad he shared it with us.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

Custom Patina’d 1952 Panhead Harley-Davidson

During the 2023 edition of Fuel Cleveland, we were in the right place at the right time as builder Jason Hendrick pulled in with his custom-built 1952 Panhead Harley-Davidson. We spoke to him about what went into the build and the patina’d look. It’s our Ride of the Week!

During the 2023 edition of Fuel Cleveland, we were in the right place at the right time as builder Jason Hendrick pulled in with his custom-built 1952 Panhead Harley-Davidson. We spoke to him about what went into the build and the patina'd look. It's our Ride of the Week!

Custom Harley-Davidson Shovelhead

Whether you look high or look low on this custom Harley-Davidson Shovelhead built by Bubba Boley of Vintage Groove Paint Works, your eye is treated to something cool and custom. We talked to Bubba about his inspiration and what it took to make this bike a reality for Fuel Cleveland 2023. It’s our Ride of

Fully Custom Harley-Davidson Sportster

It only takes a few seconds for Kody Urig’s infectious attitude and love for motorcycles to wear off on you. He’s been getting more and more into motorcycling with each passing day, and has taken up a serious passion for Sportsters in particular. He recently built this custom Harley Sportster for all kinds of shenanigans,

Custom 1959 Panhead Motorcycle

We ran into Marcus Ellis of Terminal Speed at the 2023 Fuel Cleveland motorcycle show. Marcus had made the trip 2,600 miles from California to Akron, OH along with a custom 1959 Panhead motorcycle he had just finished for a customer. The project pushed Marcus out of his comfort zone, but the result is stunning,

Custom 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster

Assuming you were alive in the ’90s, who doesn’t love that decade?! Dan Dellostritto of Death Co Choppers enjoyed the 90s enough to theme a custom motorcycle build on it. We saw his 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster during the 2023 Fuel Cleveland show. We spoke to Dan to get the details of this Ride of the

Other Posts

S&S Cycle Releases New Finish for MK45 Slip-On Mufflers

Elevate your ride with S&S Cycles’ renowned MK45 slip-on mufflers, now available in a striking Lava Chrome finish.

S&S Cycle MK136 Crate Engine

A new generation of performance: the MK136.

MK136 engine
Introducing Rekluse’s All-New Manual APEX Clutch System for Harley Models

This clutch system is the result of Rekluse’s commitment to filling a void in the V-twin clutch market.

Rekluse APEX clutch system
2024 Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival Kicks Off in 100 Days

Tickets are on sale for Veterans Park headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jelly Roll and HARDY.

Nitro Circus, Harley-Davidson Homecoming