Mid-North Coast Harley Road King Convertible

"There was one episode when I gave it a handful and I ended up on the luggage rack, fingertips on the end of the handlebars..."

I GOT THE name Trackles when I was riding across Australia to Perth with a few mates. We stopped at a pub somewhere in the outback and the barmaid said I looked like Tacklebury out of the Police Academy movie—the name stuck.

I bought my first Harley in 1976. It was an old Panhead that I built up; I was only a kid. I bought as a brand new Sportster in ’79. After that I bought the first Heritage into Australia. It was the first one of only three to come to Australia in 1981; Skol at Ozbike had the second one. I also had the first Softail in Australia. I had to wait 18 months for that one in ’84. Then I had a Wide Glide for a few years before I purchased a Road King in ’93 which I kept for 10 years. I did 180,000 km on that bike without putting a cent on the motor.

Then I got a new Anniversary Road King which is the one featured here.

Early in the year the gearbox in the Road King shit itself. I had heard about the new six-speed Jims gearbox and had decided to get one.

I hadn’t been on the mid-North Coast for long so I went around all the bike shops looking for someone to do the work. Cyco Custom Motorcycles in Coffs Harbour was the most helpful so I gave him the job.

While I was waiting for the new gearbox to arrive, I decided not to waste the down-time and them to start putting in a 200 arse-end.

When the gearbox finally turned up, we had to work out how to realign the motor and drivetrain. They hadn’t done a wide-arse conversation before so manufactured their own kit from scratch. When they come across a problem they hadn’t allowed for, they thought it through and solved all the issues.

They also worked out the unique set-up with the bags. You’ll notice when the bags are removed, there are no brackets—it’s a good clean look.

The bike took a little longer than I expected and I was itching to go to Phillip Island races. They finished it one day, and I was gone the next—2500 km on its maiden voyage. The weather wasn’t all that good but the bike handled fantastically, even in the wet, no problem at all.

I now decided I needed more grunt so I got them to rebuild the motor. East Coast Custom supplied an S&S 124 hot-up kit for the Twin Cam; the crankcases were sent to Ollie in Brisbane who did the modifications for the stroker kit. The motor now puts out 133 horsepower.

There was one episode when I gave it a handful and I ended up on the luggage rack, fingertips on the end of the handlebars, and by the time I regained control of the bike, I was doing over 200 km/h.

I have been with Harley since I was a kid and I never thought I would ride anything else but I’m very impressed with the S&S motor. It’s fantastic. I would recommend these motors to anyone.

Harley-Davidson Road King Convertible

pics by Brian White; words by Tackles

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