Purple Haze

1970 Honda CL350
Leaf Spring Bobber

My personal opinion is that if I said, ‘I built this bike,’ then that is exactly what it should mean.

Jan Sallings

Jan Sallings' first build, the 1970 Honda CL350 called 'Purple Haze,’ exhibits his build philosophy to a level rarely seen within the world of custom motorcycles. Virtually every component of the bike has been fabricated or customized—all by the builder himself, no less. The result of Jan’s efforts is a motorcycle that exemplifies the characteristics which attract so many to the custom motorcycle industry: craftsmanship, resourcefulness, thoroughness, and personality.

A motorcycle enthusiast since the age of 13—and a mechanic since basically the age of 10—Jan had ridden and performed maintenance on motorcycles pretty much all his life, but he had yet to dabble in building a custom motorcycle. That changed in 2007, when Jan bought the antique military spotlight that would one day bedeck Purple Haze. “I was looking on Ebay and found the light, and I thought it could make a really cool headlight,” Jan said. Two years later, after attending Bikes, Blues, and BBQ in 2009, Jan was determined to build his first custom motorcycle.

I was wandering around at Bikes, Blues, and BBQ in Fayetteville, Arkansas, looking at the custom bikes, and decided I should try to build one. I started a week later, got some tubing and started bending and forming the frame.

Jan Sallings

Inspired by the frame of an antique Schwinn bicycle, Jan fabricated Purple Haze’s frame from metal tubing. With his background working as a mechanic at an engineering firm, he had the knowledge and experience to discern where the engine should be mounted to the frame—and he fabricated custom engine mounts specific to the custom frame he built.

Purple Haze embodies key virtues held within the custom motorcycle industry—namely craftsmanship and resourcefulness. This build was achieved not through money, but through skill, hard work, and perseverance. Jan had a vision for this CL350, and he was not willing to compromise on that vision unless he absolutely had to. It’s this attitude that resulted in Purple Haze’s beautiful front end.

I wanted a leaf spring front end, but buying one was way beyond my budget, so I got more tubing and built one myself!

Jan Sallings

Not only did he fabricate the front end himself, but also the fuel tank, electrical and battery boxes, exhaust pipes and heat shields, foot controls, foot pegs, seat mount, and kickstand. In addition to fabricating parts, Jan modified several unique components in order to achieve his vision for Purple Haze. These parts—specifically the replica antique bicycle seat, antique military spotlight, and antique Schwinn bicycle front fender light—nicely compliment the build’s bicycle-inspired frame, and provide for unusual, charming details to gawk at.

One of the components which Jan modified to fit the CL350 carries with it a certain sentimentality and meaningfulness that is seldomly seen in other builds. Purple Haze’s rear fender is from the first motorcycle that Jan ever owned, a 1976 Harley Davidson Superglide.

While the creation of Purple Haze went largely according to plan, some of the finished bike is the result of a ‘happy accident,’ like so many other builds. Jan says, “I had originally decided to powdercoat the bike a metallic orange, but there were continuous problems, bubbling, discoloring, and just looking crappy in general. I was in the shop one day to check on the progress, and they were powdercoating some parts purple. I immediately changed to the purple color, and there were absolutely no more problems. The bike simply wanted to be purple!” The intense purple color indeed seems like it was destined to be—such a unique color is fitting for a bike as unique as Purple Haze.


1970 Honda CL350
Stock 5-speed
+1mm oversized
Mikuni carburetors
Air Filters
Velocity stacks
Custom exhaust pipes and heat shields fabricated by Jan Sallings
Custom frame and engine mounts fabricated by Jan Sallings
Front Suspension
Custom leaf spring suspension fabricated by Jan Sallings
Rear Suspension
Front Wheel
Hub machined to house perforated metal inserts
Rear Wheel
Front Tire
100/90 - 19 Dunlop D404
Rear Tire
120/90 - 18 Dunlop D404
Front Brake
Stock drum brake
Rear Brake
Stock drum brake
Rear Fender
1976 Harley Davidson Superglide front fender modified to fit
Antique military spotlight modified for 12V dual element LED bulb
Antique Schwinn bicycle light reshaped to fit fender and modified for 12V dual element LED bulb
Fuel Tank
Custom fabricated fuel tank and gas cap by Jan Sallings
Replica antique bicycle seat with spring susension system
Custom seat mount fabricated by Jan Sallings
1" drag handlebars
Hand Controls
Custom purpleheart wood hand grips by Mark Partain
Foot Pegs
Custom foot pegs with purpleheart wood accents fabricated by Jan Sallings
Foot Controls
Custom knurled and dimpled brass pedals fabricated by Jan Sallings
Custom Craftsman 19/32 - 13/16 combination open end wrench kickstand fabricated by Jan Sallings


Jan Sallings

Big thanks to

Whitworx Fine Metal Finishing, LLC
All chrome and polished metal components.
Custom Powder Coating Services, Inc.
Powder-coating on headlight bucket, leaf spring front end, wheel hubs, fender, and exhaust heat shields.
Comerz Rod Shop, LLC
Paint on the frame.
Mark Partain
Custom purpleheart wooden hand grips.