Back Street Heroes - - WORDS & PICS -

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

EN­GINE:

H-D 883 Sport­ster, S&S 1200 big bore kit, chrome lou­vered air-fil­ter, Vance & Hines ex­hausts

FRAME:

Sled­head Bob­bers' rigid, pow­der­coated, Sled­head Bob­bers for­wards with brass ac­cents

STUFF:

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

FIN­ISH:

Chroming/nick­elplat­ing/pow­der­coat­ing by Sled­head Bob­bers

ENGI­NEER­ING:

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!

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