Gust of Nostalgia Harley-Davidson Shovel

Luke reckons riding his Shovelhead Harley-Davidson is awesome… and it’s a great bike to work on, both mechanically and in appearance.

I BOUGHT a Harley-Davidson Buell from a bloke which I turned it into a street fighter; it was a cool ride. I changed the belt drive to a chain drive which gave it better torque. I changed the headlights and front fairing with small halogen lights; twin one-inch diameter. Also changed the rear fairing which I got from a 2002 Yamaha R1 and modified. Handlebars were changed to clip-on drop bars. Front-end lowered an inch; and I made a new exhaust and muffler system for it. This made it louder and more crisp. At 3000 rpm it ran at 96.8 decibels. And at 6000 rpm it ran at just under 118 decibels. It had a nice black paint job. I sold this and looked for my next toy.

I bought my 1983 Harley-Davidson Super Glide from a guy in Queensland off the internet. I was very pleasantly surprised when I went up to look at it: it had a nice basic Riviera blue pearl and blue violet pearl, 50/50 mix paint job; and a large box of spare parts, both new and second-hand, some of which hadn’t been taken out of their boxes.

Since then I haven’t stopped playing with it and changing things on a pretty regular basis. It’s a great bike to work on, both mechanically, in appearance, and of course, the riding is awesome.

The frame has received a 40-degree rake, and four-inches-over on the forks, which were also changed to Wide Glide with twin disc floating calipers. It has six gallon tanks.

The engine’s a 1340 with an Andrews cam and a B-series carby which isn’t the best for around town but works great when you twist ya wrist.

The gearbox is a standard four-speed with big gears so I can get a great top-end range.

Now the wheels: good old Harley front, 19-inch spoke; and the rear 16-inch solid that’s been drilled out.

For comfort, the seat is custom-made and has some flame stitching on the front; the rear has a flame stitched insert.

The hand grips are Custom Chrome with rubber strips and Harley eagle bar ends. The controls are all chrome, and to top it off, the Maltese cross mirrors.

Other work that I’ve undertaken includes the electronic ignition supplied and installed by Dean in southern Sydney.

I’ve changed the handlebars a couple of times, from the original western-style bars to 14-inch apies with six-inch risers, then changed them to 18-inch apies with three-inch risers which now look much better and is comfortable to ride, even though I’ve got a screwed back from a car accident nearly 20 years ago.

In December I changed the rear guard to a street-bob style and then decided that the paint could do with an update since it would be hard to match.

I got it resprayed to copper pearl with a cherry red pearl highlight by my mate, Shipo, who is a well known custom artist in the local area for cars, bikes and anything else he can throw his art on; and I added some custom pin-striping and skull and tribal flame decals.

Then I changed the front and rear guards to custom gravel dragger guards which I had to widen myself to make fit. Shipo came to the party again to do an absolutely brilliant paint job airbrushing the copper colour ghost flames over black, and adding detail that looks amazing.

I’ve changed the pipes twice. The first time I had to put on Screamin’ Eagles to get it registered in NSW; the amount of rules for rego in NSW sucks compared to other states. Anyway, since I’m a metal welder and fabricator, I decided to make some custom twist lock pipes — designed, manufactured and fitted by yours truly—with black header tape and chrome tips.

It’s getting to a good point now, but you never know… I’ll keep in touch with any major changes…

Photos by George; words by Luke

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