Chris Callen of Cycle Source Magazine – Flat Broke Chops & Rods
Chris Callen has been the Editor-In-Chief of Cycle Source Magazine since he started it nearly 20 years ago out of his small aftermarket parts shop in Pittsburgh, PA. While many people know him for his writing and contributions to the motorcycle scene from behind the camera, paint brush and computer, the passion for customizing motorcycles started at the end of a wrench. While the only issue of Cycle Source that has ever featured one of Chris’s bikes on the cover was the very first issue, building his own machines for fun has been was the foundation of why he started the magazine in the first place.
One of the first magazines Chris did get ink in was Iron Works, who gave him a quick nod back in the late nineties for his wicked fast S&S equipped Shovelhead that had a hand built mill by the world renowned Jim Libonati of Mega-Flo. That bike was fast enough to get in the 11 second club, a patch Chris wears on his vest to this day.
Several bikes and many years later Chris built, with the help of some great brothers what may be one of the most iconic bikes of our time. A 1949 Panhead named “The Ticket” short for Hunter S. Thompson’s famous quote “Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride.” This bike has been pictured in almost every magazine in the world and was featured in a now famous Sturgis wedding picture by Michael Lichter from when Chris married his long time sweetheart; Heather.
The latest build from Flat Broke Chops & Rods, the shop Chris refers to as his retirement package, is a simple 1973 Ironhead Sportster aptly Named “Board To Death.” While people think that it’s been misspelled Callen explains that he wanted to build a bike that paid tribute to the board track style bikes and the Wall Of Death Machines.
At the same time, he was just literally bored from seeing everyone build the same damn skinny bike out of old Ironheads. So in this build he went away from convention and not only put floorboards, a leaf spring front end and 19 inch wheels on it, he would also do a mechanical pass through to take the right side foot shifter to the opposite side and make it a gated tank style shifter. This was accomplished by a hydraulic foot clutch that is activated by an FLH style pedal and a KX 250 brake cylinder.
Everything from the cut down Superglide tank to the hard tailed frame and leather seat where done by Chris Callen and Heather Callen in their little retirement shop just outside of Pittsburgh. Taking it over the top the incredible paintwork of Steve Peffer of Steel City Choppers really embodied the old and new stylings contained within this build. The crowning glory was done at the final hours when Chris and longtime artist friend Seth Leibowitz pulled the motor out and engraved the theme over the entire bulk of it.