Big Red’s Harley-Davidson Sled 

Big Red blows it up, rebuilds it, smashes it, rebuilds it… but it’s all happy days and part of the experience as far as he’s concerned.

BIG RED is a hard working concrete cutter from the Gold Coast who loves his family and his work and is always there for a mate when they need him. His passion is his Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. He is a parts guy’s worst nightmare for pricing as he always has someone in the know up his sleeve, but as he always says, it’s all happy days, just don’t take him for a fool!

Big Red paid a visit to Heavy Duty Motorcycles by recommendation, and as luck would have it, the first man he met was a little Pommy, Steve Smith, the Head Tech. After discussing the requirements for his up-coming service and making the booking, the conversation turned to potential modifications. Then after a few sharp orders to the parts staff, a hot 103-cubic-incher was on the way. 

Once done, Big Red started pushing the 103 displacement capabilities. One fine Sunday, while trying to learn to wheelie his beast, the engine reached its limit as all street legal reliability based components do when stretched constantly to race track demands, and the OEM valve train gave up the ghost. Big Red didn’t get his name for being a light-weight. But it’s all happy days and part of the experience as far as Red’s concerned.

Then, after a few nights on the piss around at the local, Steve introduced him to a very humble and unassuming man by the name of Ollie Logan. Big Red later found Ollie drinking with another man, Stu Henry of Stuart Henry Designs, the very man who knew where to head next.

Stu directed Red to take care of the shambles that his Fatty had become by “Giving her some love, instead of ringing her neck, and if you want to do wheelies, at least use wheels that can handle the weight; shocks wouldn’t hurt either.”

Big Red took this advice to one of his vast array of contacts, Fair Deal Robbie, who did an amazing deal on some PM Heathen wheels, rotors and pulley.

Now he had given the love, Big Red wanted power—that is what Ollie gave him. Enough power to power-lift a bike that weighed in with rider on board at more than 450 kg. No mean feat.

Stu was left to come up with the missing pieces—a sleeper paint job, FLSTFB badges, PM controls, and get the suspension and engine sorted—and he approached the man to give Red control. Yep, the master himself, Kurtzo of Burleigh Bars.

What happened next really speaks for itself as to the absolute quality and strength of our Aussie-made bars. Big Red had another one of these Sundays. Popping into a power-lift at 80 km/h is enough for most to cringe at on a Harley-Davidson, but when a ute pulls out from a blind driveway straight in front of you and the wheel is just leaving the tarmac… well, if you live through it you are doing well.

But as Red said, “I broke, my controls broke, my pipes broke, my mirrors broke, my air cleaner snapped clean off. Hell, even my passenger pegs snapped, but bugger me if those bars didn’t hold up. Yeah, they bent a bit as they were pile-driven into the ground with 450 kg on top of them, but they didn’t snap. Because of the bars I was still able to crawl her home.”

Big Red had a full eight months without work with a full shoulder and knee reconstruction, and at this point, is still getting back on top of things, so if anyone needs concrete cutting done, you will not get a better job than Big Red’s Concrete Cutting Gold Coast (sorry, guys, but it’s his story and his work is actually quite good).

So with a few debts still getting paid and a lot of guts, he has resurrected his bike to what you see here. A big thanks to his mates like Ollie Logan and Stuart Henry; Kurtzo from Burleigh Bars again came to help out a mate with some bars; Mark Walker of QMPP sorted Red with a bulletproof paint scheme that is easy to maintain; and the seat upholstery work by Smart Trim.

Big Red, with keen business acumen, has brought this beast back to life. He is out again tearing it up and any excuse to ride will do. It’s all Happy Days.

Photos by Rod Cole; words H Macneil

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