Copyright WWW.DBBP.COM | updated 2-June-2002

The story of the Superpan

Part 1

I first saw Ronnie Breuer's "Superpan" parked in the grass at the drag races in Lommel last year. I took some pics and was very impressed by all the homemade parts and original ideas used on this machine. One of the first things I noticed was that there were almost no cables anywhere. And where was the carb? Upon closer inspection it seemed that almost everything was handmade, including the cylinder heads!

I put the pics on my website with a short message that I wanted to speak to the builder, and a few months later I received an E-mail from Ronnie Breuer who invited me to come to his house to take some more pictures and do an "interview".

How it all began:

A couple of years ago Ronny had a very cool Swedish style Shovel chopper (see photo), and a nice little workshop behind his house where his mates and him worked on their bikes. After 2 of his mates bought Panheads, Ronny decided he wanted one too; only he wanted something very specialů.

The bike he sold to buy the milling machine

He sold his Shovel chopper to finance the new project and bought a professional vertical milling machine so he could make his own cylinder heads. The design of his heads was the result of studying original Pan-heads, aftermarket STD Pan-heads, Evo-heads and some tuning books he found in the library of the nearby Technical University of Eindhoven.
Ronnie made all the necessary drawings with a 2D CAD program (Autocad)

The RB heads use Evo valves and rockers, bathtub shaped combustion chambers and most importantly raised inlet ports. (The biggest design flaw in original Harley heads is the shape of the inlet ports) Ronnie also drastically improved the cooling of the top of the heads by incorporating a large cooling channel through the valve covers into the center of each head.

The connection between intake manifolds and cylinder heads was also beefed up by using 4 bolts per head instead of the stock panhead clamps. Anyone who has ever made his/her parts with a vertical milling machine knows that most of the time spent goes into planning, positioning and measuring and that the actual time spent removing metal is relatively short. In Ronnie's case this was no different.

Starting with a big block of UN-T-633 aluminum, he first milled 4 slots in the sides in order to attach the aluminum to the bed of the milling machine in such a way that he could remove a lot of material from one side of the block without the clamps getting in the way.
The next step was machining the head gasket face and the holes for the headbolts.

The holes for the valve guides and seats came next, after which RB machined the rough outline of the heads. After these jobs were done, RB removed the head from the bed of the milling machine and remounted it on angled table to machine the surfaces for the intake- and exhaust gaskets. Of course every time the head was removed from the milling machine it had to be pain-

stakingly repositioned so the machined surfaces ended up accurate in respect to one another, so the order in which the surfaces were machined was carefully planned in advance to minimize the number of times RB had to do this. The next job was cutting the cooling ribs, now this really is a great way to make a mess in your workshop. Judging by the photo's Ronnie must have been finding bits of aluminum everywhere for a quite a while.

At this point I must remind you that RB's milling machine is not a computer controlled marvel like one can find in the more modern factory's nowadays, but operated by manually rotating 3 handwheels; one for X (back and forward), one for Y (left and right) and one for Z (up and down). What this means in plain English is that if Ronnie had for instance turned one of these wheels left where he should have turned

right he might have had to start the whole thing over again from scratch! Talk about stress...... Anyway, apparently he made no such mistakes and after 250 hours of work Ronnie eventually finished the front cylinderhead of his Superpan. The photo on the right gives an exellent view of the Evo rockers and the large cooling channel to the center of the head

Where one original Panhead had two lower rocker blocks, two upper rocker blocks, RB's first head was a one piece unit. In the photo above you can see the difference between the stock system in the corner and RB's modern version. The photo on the left gives a good view of the finished combustion chamber.

Mounted on the engine and fitted with the tradional Panhead valvecover it is a magnificent piece of work. Just wait untill you see the rest of this bike; you ain't seen nothin' yet!