Textured Ebony Softail

“I don’t store it, I ride it,” said Maurice when he was telling us about his new blacked-out Softail.

I’VE BEEN riding and building bikes for as long as I can remember. I’ve been lucky enough to built 14 bikes, mostly chrome Harley-Davidsons to date, but as good as they looked, I was sick of the three hours of polishing that had to be done after an hour of riding. Hence the idea of a low maintenance bike was born.

I had the FLSTSC Springer for close to a year when I decided to customise it. I started off with some engine work by massaging the heads, fitting SE203 cams, SE adjustable rods, SE air filter and Bubs JugHugger pipes. These all helped it breathe, then I threw in a ThunderMax ECU so I could make a suitable map for this combo.

Now happy with the performance I took a long look at what I wanted it to look like. I decided a 23-inch front wheel was what it needed so I ordered Fat Daddy spoke wheels in 23 x 3.5 inches for the front, and a 19 x 6 inches for the rear, in black and chrome from the States.

Once the wheels arrived the bike went back onto the chop table to correct the rake and trail as fitting the 23-inch front wheel would upset the balance of the bike. I worked it out by shortening the forks and adding three-degree neck-cups to achieve the trail I wanted. 

I then ordered a Russ Wernimont steel guard, modified it and fitted it to the springer front-end—but it didn’t look right to me—so I went back to the shed and pulled out a spare set of Fat Boy forks and had Chris from C&R Engineering shorten the tubes by 63 mm with complete new Progressive springs.

Being a Springer it only had a 150 mm rear wheel, so I fitted a 200 mm swing-arm with the lowering bolts and a new rear guard off a late model Softail Standard, all to accommodate the new wider 19-inch wheel.

I had the idea of a matt paint job with a kind of metallic/pearl through it and set about trying to achieve it; wound up painting the tins four or five times with metallics, candy colours and pearls to no avail. After consulting John at CompCoat Race Coatings in Granville, he suggested we could powder-coat the whole lot!

We decided on Ebony Texture Powder and they set about delicately blasting the chrome off the tins, forks, engine covers, primary, and what ever else we could. They even blasted and hi-temp ceramic-coated the JugHugger pipes all with no distortion. I have to hand it to the boys at CompCoat Race Coatings, they really know their stuff and delivered a tough faultless finish.

Arlen Ness Fusion Series grips, foot pegs, covers, mirrors, and horn suit the look of the wheels.

The headlights are an idea I had. They are Cree combination flood and spot lights with LED auxiliary lights in the custom bracket that I made and I think they work really well.

Grant at AirSide Interiors at Bankstown Airport reshaped and shaved a standard Harley seat and stitched up a suede skin for it.

I recently rode the completed black bike to the Illawarra Bike Show, and not wanting to leave it in the car park, I entered it into the show. A few hours later to my surprise it won Best Bike of Show.

So I think I achieved what I wanted from a bike as it is a ride hard, wash, wipe, put away wet bike!

words by Maurice; photos by Huck Finn

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