while back a mate asked me if I fancied going to a bike rally in the Brecon Beacons, the Rorke's Drift rally. Watching the bikes roll into the field, and wandering round the bike show on the Saturday, I was decided - after seeing all the shiny Harleys there I decided I was going to have one but, as I'm not good with spanners and engineering, I'd have to get someone to build it for me.
With something of a plan in mind, I started to look for just such a someone, and was recommended the now defunct Sledhead Bobbers who, even more conveniently, were located fairly close to where I lived. I called in to see what they were all about, with an idea of what I wanted - I'd seen a bike I liked on the front cover of an old motorcycle magazine, finished in copper and chrome. I chatted to the Sledhead guys, we talked things through and a plan was hatched...
Sledhead started by building one of their signature frames around an 883 Sportster engine (that's been bored to 1200cc using an S&S big bore kit), and powder-coating it so that it looked as though it'd been stove-enamelled just as they used to do back in the day. They fitted a set of DNA springers; 48-spoke fat spoke wheels (21-inch front, 16-inch rear) with Metzeler tyres; a K-Tech front brake (and a Harley rear); a chromed master-cylinder; wide beach 'bars with brass grips; a Bates-style headlight; a nickel-plated single-cap Mustang tank; forward controls with brass highlights;a sprung brown leather seat; a minimal chrome rear 'guard; and a side-mount 'plate with a small bright LED rear light.
As the build progressed, I popped in a few times to check on progress as I just couldn't wait for it to
H-D 883 Sportster, S&S 1200 big bore kit, chrome louvered air-filter, Vance & Hines exhausts
Sledhead Bobbers' rigid, powdercoated, Sledhead Bobbers forwards with brass accents
Metzeler tyres (120/70/21 front, 180/60/16 rear), 48-spoke big spoke wheels, vented discs, K-Tech 2 pot front caliper, chrome DNA springers, beach 'bars, brass risers/ grips, aftermarket speedo, chromed H-D mastercylinders, single-cap Mustang tank, brown leather sprung seat, round oil tank, Sledhead Bobbers rear 'guard, H-D rear caliper,
Bates headlight, aftermarket taillight
Chroming/nickelplating/powdercoating by Sledhead Bobbers
Sledhead Bobbers be finished, and after what felt like an eternity, it finally was. I'm really happy with the way it's turned out. It's a great head-turner and talking point wherever I go on it, and it's great fun to ride. It's won a number of awards at different shows in the year-and-a-half I've had it, and I'm still very pleased with it, and use it as much as I can. Oh, and other than adding mirrors and a few decals, it's exactly as it was the day it was built.
So was it worth the 35-plus year wait for my Harley? You bet it was!