Harley-Davidson Shovel Metamorphosis in Coffs

Dick came up to Coffs Harbour to get his bike serviced about five years ago and it turned into something else — an FXR with a Softail rear-end — now that’s different!

THIS HIPPY guy purchased this Harley Shovelhead brand new in 1981, and all he ever used it for was rounding up the cattle. It had never gotten into second gear. When he passed away — he died from some brain disease — many years later, the wife sold it to me. She told me she had this terrible old bike in the shed, and when I saw it, I thought, ‘I can build a really great bike with this,’ and I did.

I left with Frank it at a Harley shop in Coffs Harbour for a minor service but then got this idea to modify it. I had another bike to ride so it didn’t matter how long it took.

I wanted a real good rake and a real good fat arse on it — I really like that really low look.

It’s an original FXR frame that’s been raked; and Frank put on a Softail rear-end with the shock absorbers underneath.

That’s a 240 rear tyre with belt-drive. To my surprise, and to everyone else’s who’s taken it for a test ride, it’s amazing how well it handles in the corners. It’s perfectly balanced.

I still have the kicker on it — Frank had to fit the six-speeds inside the old box — which meant trouble getting any aftermarket pipes so he put those small ones on.

The very flash Ned Kelly paint job is the work of Skin by Finn, a local Coffs Harbour spray painter.

I took the bike to the photo shoot and got pulled up by the police. They reckoned the bike was stolen and went on and on about it big time. I explained that I had owned it for five years and that I had just let it run out of rego, but because it had the Softail rear-end, they reckoned we had re-birthed it. Eventually, they just booked me for noisy mufflers and slapped on a defect notice for the handlebars.

photos by Brian White; words by Dick

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