When it came time to focus on the drivetrain, we really wanted a true Harley-Davidson engine that had some time on it and a lot of soul, so we looked at our lowly '77 Shovelhead engine that was pretty much just a bottom-end gathering dust and thought. It was time for it to live on in infamy, so we offered it up for the build. The motor needed some TLC, so we called in Rico Fodrey of Hi-Bond Modified to take the bull by the horns.
Rico has been building and rebuilding H-D engines from Knuckleheads to Twin Cams since the '80s, so he was our number one choice to overhaul this mill. Once Rico checked out the motor, he told us that the top end was complete junk and that the lower end was going to need a total rebuild as well. Taking the news pretty hard, the bike build was almost completely derailed until the fine folks at S&S came to our aid with one of their ever-popular 93-inch Sidewinder kits with a Hydraulic Tappet upgrade. S&S also spiffed us with a set of Super Stock cylinder heads of the 3-5/8-inch bore kind.
Adding further to the retro feel of the engine, a ton of parts from Custom Chrome, Jammer, and the Motor Factory were opted for as well as a set of beautifully machined Stevenson's Cycle split rocker boxes, which are a sight to be seen. To bring spark to the motor and delete any sort of battery, a 1296 magneto setup from Joe Hunt with a set of clear plug wires and cap from Lowbrow Customs was employed along with a complete charging system upgrade from Spyke. Finishing off the motor build, Chopper Dave was nice enough to cast a one-off 40th Anniversary air cleaner for our S&S Super E carburetor.
In the drive department we went with Tech Cycle's Paul Cox-designed 530 Chain Primary Drive with one of Tech's legendary Cyclone clutches. The simplicity and good looks of this chaindrive are second to none. When it came time to decide on the bump box, we figured that to do any sort of justice to the new 93-inch motor, we couldn't run just any four-or five-speed tranny, so we went with none other than a fully polished 6-into-4 transmission from Baker Drivetrain. This transmission was a major turning point in the build, not due to what was inside, but the mirror-like finish on the outside that ended up spurring us to fully polish the engine cases, rocker boxes, magneto case, and just about every other aluminum part on the bike.
The Harpoon indeed came through when the paint was applied to the Detroit Bros. Friscoed Instigator tank. A silver base was candied over in a traditional way with shades of ruby red topped off with the perfect amount of pinstripes. With Harpoon upping the ante with the tank, we decided that no badass show-bike worth its rock salt and angel hair would ever be built with nothing short of a chrome-plated frame and fork.
With that in mind, we hauled a pile of parts over to South Bay Chrome and let them triple-plate the frame, fork, and Chassis Design oil tank in some of the shiniest chrome this side of the '70s. Jonesing for even more plating, we opted for a set of Paughco pipes lengthened with a Biltwell Pipe kit and topped off with a set of West-Eagle Mini-Trumpet mufflers. Upping the ante, a Spyke petcock, a Revtech oil pump as well and every single nut and bolt on the bike was ordered dripping in chrome. To finish off the orgy of shininess, a fully polished aluminum fender from West-Eagle was bolted to the crown jewel of the bike; a NOS AEE Choppers sissybar.
Once the bike was together, we babied it until we got it photographed, then kicked it over and rode the holy-hell out of it. The Hi-Bond built S&S-backed H-D motor ran like a champ, the Baker tranny shifted like a dream, and the rest of the bike followed suit. The geometry of the frame and offset of the fork was perfect for the look we were after, and it rode better than we could ever imagine.