I GOT THE name Trackles when I was riding across Australia to Perth with a few mates. We stopped at a pub somewhere in the outback and the barmaid said I looked like Tacklebury out of the Police Academy movie—the name stuck.
I bought my first Harley in 1976. It was an old Panhead that I built up; I was only a kid. I bought as a brand new Sportster in ’79. After that I bought the first Heritage into Australia. It was the first one of only three to come to Australia in 1981; Skol at Ozbike had the second one. I also had the first Softail in Australia. I had to wait 18 months for that one in ’84. Then I had a Wide Glide for a few years before I purchased a Road King in ’93 which I kept for 10 years. I did 180,000 km on that bike without putting a cent on the motor.
In ’03 I got a new Anniversary Road King which is the one featured here.
Early in the year the gearbox in the Road King shit itself. I had heard about the new six-speed Jims gearbox and had decided to get one.
I hadn’t been on the mid-North Coast for long so I went around all the bike shops looking for someone to do the work. Frank, at Cyco Custom Motorcycles in Coffs Harbour, was the most helpful so I gave him the job.
While I was waiting for the new gearbox to arrive, I decided not to waste the down-time and got Frank to start putting in a 200 arse-end.
When the gearbox finally turned up, we had to work out how to realign the motor and drivetrain. Frank hadn’t done a wide-arse conversation before so manufactured his own kit from scratch. When he come across a problem he hadn’t allowed for, he sat back, thought it through, and solved all the issues.
Frank also worked out the unique set-up with the bags. You’ll notice when the bags are removed, there are no brackets—it’s a good clean look.
The bike took a little longer than I expected and I was itching to go to Phillip Island races. He finished it one day, and I was gone the next—2500 km on its maiden voyage. The weather wasn’t all that good but the bike handled fantastically, even in the wet, no problem at all.
I now decided I needed more grunt so I got Frank to rebuild the motor. East Coast Custom supplied an S&S 124 hot-up kit for the Twin Cam; the crankcases were sent to Ollie in Brisbane who did the modifications for the stroker kit. The motor now puts out 133 horsepower.
There was one episode when I gave it a handful and I ended up on the luggage rack, fingertips on the end of the handlebars, and by the time I regained control of the bike, I was doing over 200 km/h.
I have been with Harley since I was a kid and I never thought I would ride anything else but I’m very impressed with the S&S motor. It’s fantastic. I would recommend these motors to anyone.
pics by Brian White; words by Tackles