THE East Coast Replica is very hard to categorise. It’s somewhere between a ‘bobber’ and a ‘chopper’, and it’s almost a ‘custom’. Whatever you decide to call it, this unique little Shovel is beautiful to behold.
The guys at East Coast Custom are regularly seen supporting the various custom bike shows and the drag races around the country. This means they are almost constantly travelling to the venues, setting up displays, etc. Then one day, Greg Shepherd (Managing Director and company founder) said, “Hey, instead of lugging this S&S Shovel engine everywhere, why don’t we build a motorcycle to showcase the products we wholesale?”
And so began the story of The East Coast Replica—the ultimate company bike.
They started with a 1953 replica frame. “You can buy a brand new replica frame like this reproduced down to the last detail,” said Neil Bolam (East Coast Custom’s National Marketing and Racing Manager). “The steering neck, the axle plate, etc, are all castings like the original. If you were to sandblast a genuine frame from 1953, put it on the bench next to this one, I would defy you to pick which is which. It’s that good.”
The motor looks like a Shovel motor but it’s an imitation job. “It’s S&S’s interpretation of what a Shovel motor should be,” said Neil. “It bolts straight in and everything lines up. It’s 93 cubic inches and it’s available on low compression or high. We chose low because it’s a kickstart-only bike and it’s not going to be out on the race track.”
Greg wanted the styling of the Generator motor but with the practicality of late-model electronics. Look closely and you’ll see the oil filter has been fitted where the original generator should be to keep up the illusion; the primary houses the alternator.
Interestingly, the Shovel rocker-boxes split horizontally like an Evolution and contain the roller rockers. “To improve on the old Shovel,” said Neil, “we first went through it and looked at its flaws. We decided to fit Evolution style cam timing, lifters, lifter blocks, push rods, and rocker gear. So it’s basically an Evolution that looks like a Shovel.”
The petrol tank forms the perfect background for the EC logo. “We had a chap who worked for us, Pete McGovern, who assembled a fair bit of the bike,” said Neil. “Pete came up with the concept of the tank. He managed to emulate the dish behind the front wheels of an early 60’s Corvette.”
Even the front-end looks completely period. “The front-end is JMR, a budget line we do. It’s a nice practical useable front-end for a road bike. It’s got JMR hubs, wheels, discs, but it does have a GMA brake caliper for a little difference.”
East Coast Custom is a wholesale-only business; it don’t have any retail outlets. It represents about 35 manufacturers and offers those products to a range of dealers across Australia. “We have gone for ‘performance’ and ‘custom’,” said Neil. “We tend to think the two marry up nicely. Also, I’ve been to the USA recently and I predict the huge, long, expensive show bikes will slow down. The trend is going towards bobbers and choppers—a more practical short wheelbase bike.
The East Coast Replica is the type of bike we’ll be seeing more frequently in the future.”
pics by Walter Wall