Ben’s Bling-Free Harley-Davidson Softail

Ben didn’t want all the shiny stuff because it was going to be ridden everyday.

I WANTED a Harley-Davidson Softail. I thought about the Softail Deuce and the Softail Custom but the missus liked them more than I did. I wanted less shiny stuff so there was less to clean. Eventually I bought the Softail Standard with the matt finish even though there was still a bit of chrome on there. I don’t mind seeing a bit of bling but I don’t want too much.

I changed to a lower Skinner seat that’s better because it gives you more feel on the bike and makes it easier to ride.

Adding the fork brace on the front was the best thing I did. You’ve gotta have one of them. It stiffens up the whole bike and makes it ride so much better.

I changed the handlebars. It’s more comfortable with the Burleigh T-bars instead of the standard ones. I can ride eight hours and get off feeling alright; but I reckon the fork brace is the best bit.

It’s had a lot of work done to the engine. The heads were all done with Evo valves and guides, all ported and polished by Dale at K&M Motorcycles. It’s had a big bore kit through to bring it up to 103 cubes; had the exhaust done — it’s got the staggered Vance & Hines Big Shots with the balance pipe inside so they breathe better. It’s also got 625 gear-drive S&S cams which make it go a lot harder. The heads were shaved so it’s got higher compression now.

It had a Power Commander and I had Neville Lush dyno it. It went really well but then the Power Commander shit itself and I ended up getting a Dyno Max computer put in instead. Hyperformance did that and it seems to run pretty well now.

I took it down to K&M for a service once and they gave it such a good detailing; it was all shiny and I almost slipped off the seat. Pimp Daddy did it this time for the photo shoot.

K&M pulled it all apart so Ben Reid from State of Art could paint it, then they put it back together again. I gave Ben the idea and he made it look pretty good. A lot of people will say to put flames on it but I wanted it to look different without going too far and this is how it came out; looking old school. Originally it just said Harley-Davidson with a line down the tank. Ben looked at it and said, “What colour do you want it?” and I said, “I want it that colour,” which was the colour that it already was. He put a little more pearl into it but basically the colour is just the same.

From the factory, I suppose Harley-Davidson could have given it a bit more power but you’re always going to want more power than you started off with. There’s always going to be that time when you hit the rev limiter and just have a good time, but mostly I ride around pretty sensibly. I do a lot of country riding too and you tend to get up and motor along through the hills, which is good.

It runs hot in the hotter weather so I’ll have to put an oil cooler on later. I don’t like riding it if it’s over 35 degrees but otherwise I’ll be riding at least 100 km every day.

There’ll be changes later on of course; where do you stop? This is where it’ll stay for a while; it looks good and it rides really well. It’s got 20,000 km on it now. It’s got 120 horsepower at the rear wheel, does rolling burnouts no worries, and it takes off really well.

Harley-Davidson Softail Standard

Pics by Chris Randells; words by Ben

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