Bargain Harley-Davidson Softy

Mick’s new motorbike had a few problems—and it would take a complete rebuild to fix them.

MICK IS YOUR average, hard-working, small business owner who needed a new shop truck for his spray painting and panel beating business so he sold one of his toys—his much loved Sporty—and he swore he would buy another Harley-Davidson later when he had a few dollars to spare. That time came when a mate decided to sell his ’89 Softail because he had a kid on the way.

“He had ridden it all over the country and spent a lot of the last part of his trip up in the Northern Territory,” Mick said. “He got back to Sydney and parked it in the shed and it sat there for three years until I bought it in a rough but fairly original state.”

The many and widespread use of zip-ties as opposed to proper fasteners and hardware was never-the-less an interesting feature.

Mick started to ride it around but there were a few things needed fixing so he took it down to Rusty’s Bayside Custom Cycles for Rusty to check it out and that’s when Mick found out the bike, especially the engine, was in a worse condition than he thought.

“Mick first came to me with a leaking exhaust,” said Rusty, “but the more I looked into the bike, the more it became apparent that it needed a lot of help.”

 After a detailed discussion with Mick, a full rebuild and a custom job was decided on and the bike was completely stripped.

First on the job-sheet was a wide rear-end so the frame was sent George McKenzie to have it checked, straightened and a few degrees of rake added to the front-end. George then performed an amazing modification to the left-hand side of the frame extending the rear leg outwards that allowed the German wide-arse kit to fit perfectly.

The use of a 25 mm Zodiac tranny off-set kit, and no engine-to-frame-offset required in this instance, greatly assists in the handling department with the wide rear tyre used.

Since the engine drive-side case was shot—the bearing race being loose and expensive to repair, Mick got Rusty to source an aftermarket engine. They chose an 88 cube RevTech to do the job. The fact is quite a few companies that build bikes in the States us them, the good warranty, and the overall package that includes a 42 mm Mikuni carb and single-fire ignition for a great price, made it a winner.

The gearbox housing also was cracked along the main bearing housing but this turned out to be good in one way as the ’89 models are limited by a not-so-great clutch and the tranny and case were upgraded to ’94 and later specs.

An electronic speedo were introduced into the rebuild as well as an optimum-ratio starter drive/ring-gear combo and later model primary.

A new stainless 60-spoke front wheel and the wider 21 x 31/2 inch rim is fitted to a rebuilt front-end including bushes, dampers and tubes.

 The rear is also fitted with stainless 60 spokes on an 18 x 8.5 inch rim using a 240 Metzler tyre. Both wheels are covered by robust one-piece Kraft/Tech steel guards with the rear being held up with blind struts.

The rear tailight is recessed into rear guard and incorporates LED turn signals and makes a tidy and uncluttered rear fender.

Calipers are Mid-USA units clamping on DNA super spoke discs with a matching rear pulley. The forward controls are also Elite style units from DNA.

The paint was handled by Mick in-house at his business in two-pac and the detailed wiring by Holger of Zap Electrics.

To finish it all off, Rusty said there was a lot of detailed work to make it all come together. The result, however, was very satisfying and worth the effort.

Mick said he loves the finished bike and the job Rusty did on the rebuild, He’s on it as much as possible, and even though the only original parts are the frame, handlebars, tanks, seat, exhaust and number plate, he still thinks he got a bargain Harley-Davidson to replace his Sporty.

Article submitted by Keith Cole

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