Medusa – Josh Sheehan’s Wild ’48 Pan

Josh builds bikes out of his home garage in Minden, Nevada. This particular panhead was built over the last two years and put together for the Born Free Show. “I really tried to put my all into this one,” Josh tells us. “There are so many cool details on it.” We’d have to agree.

From the badass Medusa paint job to the killer one-off custom frame, this chopper is badass. “I tried not to leave anything untouched on this one,” Josh laughs. “I messed with the wheels, the seat, the front end and bars… all of it. The frame started as a bull-neck knucklehead that Josh and his friend Kyle Brewer turned into a 45-degree rake Swedish-style rigid with three-inches out and seven up. “My favorite part of the bike is the engine, though,” Josh confides.

This 74-cubic-inch work of art was built by Duncan Keller and Josh says he is the only dude he would trust with building his engines. “This is what separates this bike from the rest. We decided to do something different and used dual rear heads, but we didn’t just stop there,” Josh says. “The exhaust and intake ports were cutoff, reversed and repositioned in order to have both exhaust on the left side facing forward, and both intake ports on the right side facing the rear.”

The panhead motor is unique because it allows this to happen without too much work around the valves and combustion areas. Since Duncan switched the intake and exhaust ports he also needed to have a special cam made to connect the dots from the lower end up to the rockers and valves. “We used an Andrews ‘B’ grind cam made for a dual front head configuration.”

Confused? That’s okay, Josh says the tech at Andrews couldn’t wrap his head around it either. “Many changes needed to be made to the position of the pushrod angles,” Josh says. “We had to machine and relocate the position of the pushrod tube seats in each head to allow for the angles of each pushrod to sit correctly without any interference.” You can bet it’s not easy to make something this custom look kinda stock.

Speaking of, the oil system was another total one-off. “In order to feed oil to the front head and allow it to drain properly into the lower end, we had to make some modifications to the oil passage ways,” says Josh. “New oil passages for the front-rear cylinder had to be drilled into the cases and an external oil line was added from outside of the front-rear head to allow for drainage back down to the lower end.” Perhaps these were small things that normally would not be noticed, but lots of time and care was taken to be sure that this dual rear head configuration would work flawlessly.

When it came time for paint, Josh explains how the Medusa theme came to be. “After the bike had taken shape and I realized that the exhaust, cables and fuel lines all looked like snakes coming from the bike, I named the bike Medusa.” Josh gave the painter @hypnoticair pictures of his wife and he turned her into Medusa on the gas tank. “It looks just like her!” Josh exclaims. “This little detail really finished the whole theme of the bike for me. There are so many small details in the paint job that I love. Especially the purple smoke that adorns the entire bike from the neck to the axle plates. Everyone does flames and that’s still cool, but I just wanted to be a little different.”

Josh is working with the folks at Paughco to come out with a line of Dirty Biker parts including the sweet springer front end seen on this scoot. Check out for more details.

See more of Josh’s amazing work on Instagram @DirtyBiker.

—Dave Nichols and Josh Sheehan

Photos by Ken Nagahara (@kennagahraphoto)



    hey how’s it going mate?
    i’m sending this message to inquiry about my orders I did earlier, one digital issue and one hard copy order. Will I receive the digital issue today? And, will you send out the hardcopy order as soon as possible, please?


  • mark w ebert

    This is a different build alot of hard work and thing went in this hats off to everyone a work of art thanks for sharing this mark ebert

  • Scott Ross

    Andrew of Triples Paint Works needs to be mentioned for his Paint work on this bike.

  • Curt

    What about:

    You know what I’m asking?

  • Gerald

    This bike is one of those bikes that define the art of choppers. The motor is a work of engineering art. The lines, the stance… perfection. Josh, Kyle and Duncan have my utmost respect. I salute you and thank you for bringing this vision to reality. I’ve seen it in person a couple of times… it doesn’t disappoint in any aspect.

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