Skin Tight Harley-Davidson Shovelhead 

Skin loves being able to combine his passion for riding his Shovel with helping the charity events that motorbike riders participate in.

CURRENTLY SPLITTING my time between Tamborine Mountain on the Gold Coast and Melbourne in Victoria, I now keep a bike in each state which enables me to get out on the great rides in both areas.

 After owning a couple of road bikes, I self-diagnosed a mid-life crisis and decided to purchase the 1976 FXE in late 2002. I’ve had other Harleys since, and at one point did consider selling the Shovel, but it is a bike I love to ride, despite the fact that as age creeps up, it’s getting harder on the body on longer rides.

This bike was originally modified by Geelong Harley, and whilst in Melbourne was maintained by the team at HD Development. Now the bike is with me in Queensland, I take it to Roscoe’s Performance Motorcycles (RPM) at Nerang on the Gold Coast.

The Shovel has been on some long trips since I’ve owned it including riding it back from the National HOG Rally on the Gold Coast. The first day was a long one on an old bike, travelling 750 km; difficult after a full-on rally, especially around dusk in kangaroo territory near Dubbo. Unfortunately, my work then required me urgently in Sydney so I headed east but blew the motor at Wellington, just out of Dubbo, so it came the rest of the way on a truck.

Since owning the bike she’s had the top-end rebuilt twice plus an upgrade from 1200 to 1340 cc, the original four-speed gearbox rebuilt, and the bike has had a complete makeover and tidy up. Consequently, it now runs great, is reliable, and even has no oil leaks!

The burgundy/black marble paint work attracts plenty of attention, and I’ve also made cosmetic modifications including the solo seat, twisted spokes, alarm, grips, and a few other shiny bits and pieces.

During the time I’ve owned the Shovel, I’ve also had a Dyna, a Road King, and now also have a Ultra which I rode across the Nullarbor to Western Australia and on numerous other interstate trips. The Dyna travelled to the HOG Rally at Uluru, which included a marathon ride of 1200 km in one day on the ride home.

The bikes are often used to promote charity events I support, including the EJ Whitten ‘Stick It Up Prostate Cancer’ motorcycle event in Victoria, the ‘Long Ride to WA for Prostate Cancer’, motorcycle events for ‘Shave for a Cure’ (Leukaemia), and ‘Christmas Ride for Kids’ who are supported by the Mirabel Foundation (which supports children who have lost parents due to drug addiction, amongst other things).

The best bike event I attended was in Sturgis USA when a group of us hired bikes and attended the rally (which attracts up to 500,000 bikes) and then went cruising around the USA. This is something I recommend everyone should do at least once in their lifetime.

The best rally was the SA HOG Rolling Rally where every day was spent on the bike, stopping in a different state each night. After dressing up for a ‘Priscilla night’ at Broken Hill, I was challenged to ride in the skirt and fishnets to Mildura. I agreed if the challenger donated the $50 bet to the Make a Wish Foundation. A collection was then taken up at the end of the day and almost $1200 was collected for the Foundation. I ended up with a fishnet suntan, which wasn’t a good look, but it was well worth it, given the money raised through the generosity of other Harley riders!

Words by Skin; pics by Rod Cole @ Orlando Images

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