IT’S A Shovel, mate. I bought it off a bloke in Darwin. I shoulda bought one already done; woulda been a lot cheaper.
I’ve always liked Shovels. I had an old Walla, then I went to a Shovel, then I went to a new Road King. After a month I was bored shitless. I went back to a Shovel.
It wasn’t that long ago I was looking through a catalogue to build my bike and I got no satisfaction out of it. There’s 20 other blokes doing the same thing. I had my heart set on something really low and long. You see a lot of people (in the States) building them low and long but I kept going back to Swedish chops. That’s what got me sucked in, you know? The minute I saw them I freaked. I saw this green Swedish chop called Absinthe in a British magazine. Mate, that thing was beautiful.
The whole bike is based around the front-end. I had no intentions of doing all those changes to the frame until I got the girder. A fella at a bike shop said, “Oh, you’re gonna die on that. You’ve got no idea what a girder front’s like. They bounce. They get into a really uncontrollable bounce.” Well, it’s never happened and I’ve been riding it for six months.
I’ve got a feeling it was one of those Santee frames, just the looks, and I’ve seen a fair few of them in magazines. I raked and stretched it. It was a weird stretch. To get the lines and everything, so the bottom frame rail was sitting right, it ended up a 45-degree-rake with five and a half inches in the backbone and four in the bottom. I’ve always thought it should be six and four but the whole idea was for the front-end to actually work.
Nothing this cool comes for free, and to ride a bike like this you’ve gotta work for it… like kicking it over for instance. It’s like, “We’re gonna get another drink, you go and start your bike.” Most people think I can’t start it because I usually give it a couple of kicks first.
I had a lot of bad luck, motor-wise. It’s seized three times in the space of two months. I’m a car/truck mechanic. I rebuilt the top-end the third time a week ago. Today’s run was the first time I’ve made it back.
It stops surprisingly well. It’s just got a single-pot caliper on the back but it pulls up grouse. Master-cylinder’s off some Jap thing. The only time it gets scary is if you’re in one of these big rides and everyone stops all of a sudden—you just pull into the emergency lane. Besides that, normal riding is fine.
I wanna give the tank a bit more capacity. I wanna get rid of the tunnel to make it useable. I don’t get 100 km out of a full tank. But, besides the tank, I’m happy with it.
Everyone said, “Get a Wide-Glide.” I don’t want a Wide-Glide. I’d be just like 8 million other people around here. What do I wanna do that for?
words by Serg; pics by Wasko