Snake-Eyes Softail

I RIDE THIS bike everyday, but it doesn’t always look this good; sometimes she looks like a pig farmer’s bike. 

I bought it from Dr Desmo’s about four years ago. It was a black Softail, very much as is bar the colour and a few personal touches, so whoever built the bike did a very good job. I believe he wanted to get into riding Ducatis, to change his style of riding, although I’m not 100 percent sure.

The mileage was about 2000 km from a total rebuild. It was bored out to 88 cubes and had a bit of work done to the engine, but unless you take it apart you take their word for it… I haven’t needed to take it apart yet and it goes pretty well. It’s done about 45,000 km; very reliable.

Every year I go on a trip to Phillip Island—a couple of weeks away with a few mates—and up to Albury through the snow-fields, maybe a 3500 km trip all round. We go on a few rallies and trips, but when I go for a ride it’ll be 200 km or so.

I was in the Show and Shine at Phillip Island and got beaten by a WLA with a coffin sidecar. It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since it was new. I have to give the guy credit, though, he rode it everywhere. 

The day we left was the coldest day in Victoria for 14 years and it started raining, and about 10 km outside Ararat, the bike decided to run on just one cylinder. I had to leave it there and get it towed home. I got a module under warranty and now she runs like a dream again.

It’s registered as a 1985 Harley Softail, but since going to Phillip Island and speaking to the Harley dealers there, it seems not very much of it is 1985! I think the registration’s about the only thing that is 1985.

I sometimes go to Hyperformance and buy a few parts there, although I mainly deal with Pro Street. All the dealers in Adelaide—K&M, Pro Street, Hyperformance—they’re all good guys; very helpful, good advice. If you can’t get your parts from one you’ll get them from another.

The Crane ignition system is from Pro Street. I put that in because the original Screamin’ Eagle module is the only thing on the bike that’s let me down. That failed on the way back from Phillip Island.

The seat was upholstered by Alan Smith on Regency Road. I had a snakeskin seat before but it was a clothing leather that didn’t handle the weather very well and he just happened to get this in as a sample the day I was there, so it all worked out well.

I especially like the colour and the seat; the way they work together. I think the whole bike, taken as a whole, has a nice street appeal about it. The guy who built the bike before did a really good job but I got a stone chip and that gave me an opportunity to change the colour.

I had the paint job done by Martin from M & J Auto Paint. Originally I wanted to get the Holden Effigy purple colour but Holden won’t release the colour codes on that so Martin said to go down to his good mate at Spray Chief where they’ve got a very similar colour.

I went down with my wife and we were looking at a couple of colours. She liked some different ones and I was saying, ‘It’s my bike, I’ll paint it the colour I want,’ when Mick came out with this colour and we both said, ‘Yup, that’s the one I want.’ I want to thank Mick from Spray Chief and Martin from M & J Auto Paint for their help there.

I put the seat on, the alloy strip on the tank, the paint, the mirrors, the polishing, and a few little things here and there. 

The wheels were on the bike when I got it, and the hypercharger; so were the pipes, Vance & Hines Straight Shots.

It’s an after-market frame. 

Some of the polishing’s showing a bit of age so I’ll have to get that redone.

I’m hoping in the future to put a three-inch open primary on it, and maybe a six-speed gearbox, and when the engine wears out maybe an S&S engine ‘cos I love the bike and don’t really want to change it. I don’t know any better ‘cos I used to ride a Shovel and I reckon it rides beautiful compared to that, although my mates reckon it rides like a pig.

pics by Chris Randells; words by Nick

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