IT’S A Shovel, mate. I bought it off a bloke in Darwin. I shoulda bought one already done; woulda been a lot cheaper.
I’ve always liked Shovels. I had an old Walla, then I went to a Shovel, then I went to a new Road King. After a month I was bored shitless. I went back to a Shovel.
It wasn’t that long ago I was looking through a catalogue to build my bike and I got no satisfaction out of it. There’s 20 other blokes doing the same thing. I had my heart set on something really low and long. You see a lot of people (in the States) building them low and long but I kept going back to Swedish chops. That’s what got me sucked in, you know? The minute I saw them I freaked. I saw this green Swedish chop called Absinthe in a British magazine. Mate, that thing was beautiful.
The whole bike is based around the front-end. I had no intentions of doing all those changes to the frame until I got the girder. A fella at a bike shop said, “Oh, you’re gonna die on that. You’ve got no idea what a girder front’s like. They bounce. They get into a really uncontrollable bounce.” Well, it’s never happened and I’ve been riding it for six months.
I’ve got a feeling it was one of those Santee frames, just the looks, and I’ve seen a fair few of them in magazines. I raked and stretched it. It was a weird stretch. To get the lines and everything, so the bottom frame rail was sitting right, it ended up a 45-degree-rake with five and a half inches in the backbone and four in the bottom. I’ve always thought it should be six and four but the whole idea was for the front-end to actually work.
Nothing this cool comes for free, and to ride a bike like this you’ve gotta work for it… like kicking it over for instance. It’s like, “We’re gonna get another drink, you go and start your bike.” Most people think I can’t start it because I usually give it a couple of kicks first.
I had a lot of bad luck, motor-wise. It’s seized three times in the space of two months. I’m a car/truck mechanic. I rebuilt the top-end the third time a week ago. Today’s run was the first time I’ve made it back.
It stops surprisingly well. It’s just got a single-pot caliper on the back but it pulls up grouse. Master cylinder’s off some Jap thing. The only time it gets scary is if you’re in one of these big rides and everyone stops all of a sudden—you just pull into the emergency lane. Besides that, normal riding is fine.
I wanna give the tank a bit more capacity. I wanna get rid of the tunnel to make it useable. I don’t get 100 km out of a full tank. But, besides the tank, I’m happy with it.
Everyone said, “Get a Wide-Glide.” I don’t want a Wide-Glide. I’d be just like 8 million other people around here. What do I wanna do that for?
words by Serg
pics by Wasko