I’VE NEVER had a Shovel before this one. I like them. My first Harley was a Street Rod, then I went to the ’07 Fat Boy, and now I’ve got a ’09 V-Rod Muscle.
I started off just buying bits and pieces. I wanted a Springer front-end so I got one from the States, bought a couple of wheels, and that’s where I started. I basically knew what I wanted—the 36 degree rake and everything like that, sort of a bit of a bobber—and it went from there.
It’s a 80 cube Shovel engine. Got a cam, bit of headwork, pistons; we rebuilt it three years ago here at Wild Rhino Motorcycles in Geelong. Gunner’s the whiz on Shovels; he drags one so he knows all about them. He’s made custom everything. Made the handlebars, made the frame. He started from nothing and took about 18 months to build the bike up.
I ordered the air-filter after the bike was finished, and when I got it from Crime Scene Choppers in the States, they sent me a book and they had a matching primary cover. So I had to have one.
Actually, when I first built it, it had the original late ’70s enclosed 1-1/8-inch belt and I snapped a couple of them because of the higher compression, so I ended up replacing that belt drive with a BDL 4-inch. Then I had to change from the four-speed gearbox to a five-speed because the starter motor wouldn’t fit, so it was an expensive exercise in the end. I had to buy a new starter, new gearbox, and new primary. Rhino at Wild Rhino got all that in for me.
Because I solid-mounted the tank the first time, the vibrations cracked it and it leaked fuel. I didn’t realise… I could smell fuel and then it bubbled the paint. I had to get it redone so I changed the colour along the top from a dark blue to turquoise. It was still a silver frame, the bottom half of the tank and the guards and everything was all silver; I just changed the top of the tank from the dark blue to the turquoise it is now. The paint was done by Barry Fowler; he’s a car painter just down the road from work so that’s quite handy.
The exhaust is off my ’07 Fat Boy, modified to fit the Shovel, and it’s got the old Panhead style covers over it. I had it heat-wrapped at first, then saw these covers off the early Panheads that sort of cleaned it up a bit better.
The wheels are just a 60-spoke DNA type from the States.
I’ve just put some rubber fuel hose in-between the springs on the seat so you don’t get the pogo effect. You hit a bump and it’d bounce your arse off the seat. I’ve been past Rhino on Barwen Heads Road with my arse off the seat, feet off the pegs, and trying to hang on to the bars as I’ve hit a bump. Up the highway it’s great to ride, and the seat should be all right now; should be a lot better.
There’s no more modifications planned for this one. I think it’s just about all done.
We’ve started on the next one: shorter rake, bigger wheels, front and rear, and maybe not a Springer. I’ll probably keep this one: park it, like I’ve been doing lately. I used to ride it a fair bit when I had the Fat Boy, but now I’ve got the V-Rod Muscle that gets ridden a lot more.
Pics by Chris Randells; words by Chris Kelly