MY dream of owning a Harley started at the early age of 15 when the shine on the chrome of a modified Shovel caught my eye. Nearly 30 years later my dream became a reality.

An old friend of mine (Bella) wanted to sell his bike which had been parked for some years. I went to his place to check it out; it was covered in dust and cobwebs. We agreed on the price and the deal was done.

The old girl was put on a trailer and brought back to my garage. I drained and cleaned the fuel tank and carby. All oils were checked. I fitted a new battery and fired her up… and she seemed to run okay.

After a short ride I rechecked the bike and found a number of oil leaks in the brake calipers and around the primary cover.

While the bike sat there I thought about that Shovel I’d seen when I was 15 years old. I thought I would like the old girl to look as good as that bike did. I suppose you can say that’s when the dream to own and modify my own Harley really set in.

I was not happy with the apehangers and these were the first things (in a long line) to be replaced. I started talking to friends with Harleys, buying all the mags and visiting the bike shops.

I replaced the 19-inch front wheel with 21 inch twin disc as the old one was rusted.

Next I purchased a second-hand Wide Glide front-end. I stripped it, machined and chromed the sliders.

The brake calipers and master cylinders were stripped and cleaned; the front caliper bodies were chromed and the rear one painted in black wrinkle finish while the master cylinders were chromed.

A friend gave me a pair of 5-gallon tanks which were perfect for this bike.

I checked out the usual mags about the fancy bits and pieces, then went over to Doc Hogs in Reservoir and started ordering new front and rear guards, struts and chromed hardware… that was the tip of the iceberg.

Soon I was back for mirrors, various lights and electrical stuff, lots of braided hoses and fittings.

I also fitted a Harley solid rear wheel which I buffed back to plain finish.

Next came the engine and primary drive. The heads were sent out for machining and porting. I replaced the crankshaft, conrods, pistons and barrels with a big bore kit, plus fitted a new cam shaft and pushrods; the heads were also sent to the chromers. All I was left with was the frame hanging from the garage roof.

After staring at the frame for some time I said I’ve come this far so I stripped and filed the frame and friends gave it a coat of black two-pac.

Many weeks went by as I tried to decide what the final colour would be. I went to a local bike show and there I noticed a bike with interesting flame work—in the flames I spotted the colour for my bike. I described what I wanted to a friend and he mixed up a few sample pots which he sprayed on old metal until he got it right. The tanks and guards were sprayed and the result was perfect.

Then came the assembly work which took a few months as this was my first Harley. There was a bit of trial and error. The clutch was replaced with a heavy duty type, the inner primary was polished plus I fitted a new outer primary cover.

The big day arrived—my first ride which felt great. After only a few keys and back to the garage where I checked for leaks and retightened a few bolts.

I was disappointed that the new chrome on the pipes had turned blue so quickly. I had heard about a company in Castlemaine who did aluminum-plating guaranteed not to blue so the pipes were sent there and re-done. It’s not a chrome finish but, after many keys, the pipes still look good.

Along the way I learned many things but, most importantly, it pays to have good friends and a very understanding family.

Who Done What
Owner: Sol
Model: FXEF (Super Glide)
Year: 1980 Shovel
Frame: H-D (sand blasted & deburred)
Bars: Western (hidden wiring)
Risers: 4 inches
Front End: ’84 Wide Glide
Lower Legs: Machined & chromed
Rear End: Std. Chromed
Front Wheel: 21 x 2.5 inches
Front Tyre: Avon Venom 120/70/21
Rear Wheel: H-D. 16 inch Centerline (satin finish)
Rear Tyre: Avon Road Runner 16/130
Brakes Front: 11.5 inch Twin Disc (polished)
Rear Brake: 10.5 inch (polished)
Front & Rear Calipers: H-D
Brake Lines: Braded stainless steel
Headlight: Grooved Springer
Hand & Foot Controls: H-D
Front & Rear Indicators: H-D Deuce
Tailight: Fat Bob
Carby: S&S E-type
Air Filter: S&S
Ignition: Accel coil & Zel points
Crankshaft: S&S
Conrods: S&S
Cam Shaft: Andrews A-grind
Pushrods: Crane
Pistons: S&S
Barrels: Zel
Valves: Black Diamond
Heads: Ported & Polished
Rocker Boxes: Chromed
Gearbox: H-D four speed
Primary Drive: H-D chain
Clutch: Barnett heavy duty
Final Drive: RK O-ring chain
Wiring: Re-wired by Jeff
Seat: Le Pera silhouette
Front Guard: Wide Glide
Rear Guard: Fat Bob
Fuel Tanks: 5 gallon Fat Bob
Exhaust: 1.75 inch drag pipes (Jet Hot alloy coated)
Painting: Shane from Watsmith Panels.
Colour: Black with blue overlay
Frame: Painted by Gerry

Special thanks to Craig at Carroll’s Chroming, and David & Jason at Doc Hogs.

sols bike

pics by Brian Borg; words by Sol