It’s Better to Burnout

I DID MOST of the work on this bike myself with help from a few mates. Pro Street in Adelaide did the mechanical finishing touches—the primary and the gearbox, and they set up the back pulley.

The engine’s a S&S 96 HC, a US import that Joe from Pro Street organised. Basically, I wanted it because it’s unbreakable horsepower. We’ve never put it on the dyno but Joe reckons it should produce 110 hp.

The dry clutch is either in or out so it can be hard to ride. When I first got it I did a big burnout I didn’t mean to do, right across the brand new paving at home. I’ve been through five clutches in six years on this bike and the dry clutch is the only one that lasts.

I smoothed the frame and welded up any weak points, and strengthened the swingarm, but otherwise it’s a pretty standard frame. I really like the ‘old school’ look of the Harley frame and Springer front end; it’s not the chopper look.

A friend of mine, Gary, did the paint. He works from home as a bit of a hobby but doesn’t want to do it commercially. He also made the tailight and surrounds for me and welded it all in.

The paintwork’s been done four times because of scratches and handlebars dropping into the tanks and things like that. That seems to happen when you’re getting the feel of a bike. When we were testing the new dry clutch it stood up at 12 o’clock. I was struggling to get back on the pegs when it came down and the handlebars went into the tanks. No other damage, though; it came down okay.

All the bike’s rewiring was done by Wayne who owns Frank’s Auto Electrics.

I made the seat’s frame and designed it to fill the gaps around the tanks, and an upholsterer in Virginia made it up.
The wheels are Australian made Dragway Centerlines; the back one was easy enough to get and the front one they had to make. Not many people go for the 21-inch front wheel because the wind catches it too much.

We started off with some custom pipes but they ended up glowing red and falling off the bike just from the motor’s compression. These pipes on the bike now are Vance & Hines Long Radius.

Because it’s a ‘show and go’ bike I don’t really want a chain; it’s too messy. I would have had a chain but I fell in love with the single pulley. Having said that, the next bike I build will have the old school look with a chain and a bigger tyre, and a suicide shift.

The belts don’t seem to last. They’re a changeable-but-expensive part and I keep losing them doing big power burnouts. If you hold the brakes on the belts seem to last, but revving it half way and letting the clutch go means the sheer torque breaks them.

It’s hard to ride and not forgiving in any aspect. As soon as you lean on the accelerator you feel the power and you can’t back off or it’ll just tank slap you.

With the open primary and dry clutch it’s hard to ride. When you take off at the lights you can feel the front wheel lifting off the ground, the vibration loosens bolts all the time; there were three missing this morning. But that’s what I wanted to build: a standard Harley-Davidson frame with a lot of horsepower; something that looked nice.

And as well as the people I’ve already mentioned, thanks go to Xenia, who put up with it, and continually puts up with it all.

pics by Chris Randells; words by Paul

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