LEIGH HARDING has been riding bikes from the early age of 13. He’d had a few Harleys before so when he decided to progress to the finer style of a custom bike, it was just a matter of finding the right combo. A shopping list was worked out, but when he started talking to the bike shops around Hobart, the list started getting a bit big on the budget line — so it was back to the shed for a few drinks of Cougar to try to sort things out.
It was during a brain-storming session in the shed that someone suggested the internet, but more specifically, eBay in Australia.
A 2001 Softail Twin Cam frame was quickly sourced on eBay from the North Island, but since Leigh liked the Evo style motor, the frame was modified to fit a RevTech 88 ci engine with a 9.7:1 compression ratio along with a five-speed RevTech transmission. Now things were heading in the right direction with Leigh getting the parts at an excellent price and keeping within the budget, which allowed for a few more Cougars at the bar in the shed.
Now eBay Australia was fast becoming the shop of choice as the parts were there and the delivery quick. Some shops put on specials to get customers interested in coming to their shop; others know you live a fair distance away so they bend over backwards to sell gear before it gets unpacked.
Another source of parts was Raleigh at Ultima Australia (0408-231-731). Leigh had some long, late night conversations over the phone with Raleigh discussing what would fit what.
To match the rake at the front there had to be a stretched tank; Leigh ordered a Zodiac tank with a 2-inch stretch along with flush mount, pop-up fuel caps. Forward controls were courtesy of Mayhem Custom Choppers. The headlight is a 4.5 inch custom from Ultima Australia. The switch blocks and master cylinder are standard RevTech Chrome.
The pointy handlebar grips on the 1.5 inch drag bars blend nicely with the 8-inch-risers. The reflective glass is from Zodiac. To cover all the multi-coloured wires, braided hose was used. The Dakota digital 6000 speedo//tacho sits on the opposite side from the Mikuni HSR48 carby which uses a Forcewinder air cleaner. To keep the rear guard clean, Leigh chose a side-mount tail light and number plate bracket from Zodiac.
After some initial guidance from Leigh, the painter, Jeff Elliot, was given a free hand with the style. A candy apple green paint was laid over several coats of gold base, but it took Jeff several days to get the right effect to allow the skulls to stand out; an effect which is carried through to all painted parts on the Harley. Do the skulls coming out of the long grass let you know that something happened in the area years ago?
The finished Softail Custom is very schmick — thanks to many Cougar-induced brain-storming sessions in the shed.
words & pics by Wayne Burrows