Harley Bobber Build
Paul and Mike, the owners of Rebellion Speed & Chop in Lurgan, Co Armagh, turned out to be top notch guys and helped me out with a huge amount of stuff. They loaded me down with a couple of huge, drop-from-a-height-and-kill-your-granny-sized books full of aftermarket parts and pieces. The search was on for the bits I needed, and, trust me, it was a lot.
While my search continued for parts, I decided to take all the rust and crap off the frame and engine and then attempt to spray it myself. I looked at what needed to be done and thought that a few weekends would be plenty enough time.
I will say for Harley-Davidson is that its paintwork is damn good quality. That shit is hard to get off. I hit the frame with everything from heavy duty wire brushes to wire cleaning drill bits and I still seemed to be getting nowhere.
Now, remember, I am trying to do this on the super cheap, so I don’t want to pay for powder coating or anything like that. Stripping the existing paint was a DIY job of the cheapest measure, but, with the amount of wire brushes I was shelling out for, I was no longer sure just how cheap it was going to end up being.
After about thirty hours of brushing, scraping and a hell of a lot of bitching, I finally had the job completed. My forearms were twice the size they were when I started and I had opened a secondhand wire brush shop. It was still not perfect by any standards, but it was good enough for me and I just wanted to get the thing painted.
I painted the frame first, which was fine because most of it will not be seen anyway, but, actually, the finished job turned out well. I bought the proper high temperature paint for the engine, and after three coats the job was done.
Next up were the engine casings. I had toyed with the idea of taking these off and getting them professionally sprayed but, after the success of the frame and engine, I said, ‘To hell with it, I will give it a go!’ I masked up and taped off the surrounding areas and got down to work. Again, I got the correct high temperature spray, closed my eyes and started to spray. And, you know what? With a little bit of coaching on the proper technique from my dad (and twelve coats later), it was looking really good. After the first few coats the matt black actually looked brown than black, but a number of further coats down the line and it was fine.
By this time I had ordered and received the following parts:
10” solid struts Solo seat with coil springs Front and rear tyres Trailer-type mudguard
I continued demolition by taking out both the rear and front wheels and getting them fitted with the new tyres. I then removed the rear struts and replaced them with the new solid 10-inch struts. If you’ve been following my videos of the build on the 100% Biker Facebook page, it might look as if I did this all in one go on the current film, but that’s the magic of the movies because it really took about three attempts to get them to fit. This was mainly because the bottom of the strut through which the axle goes had a larger diameter than the stock part, so the axle kept fouling the strut. I solved this problem by using two large washers on both sides, giving the strut just that little more clearance past the axle. I also took off the indicators as they won’t be going back on. What’s wrong with a good old hand signal to alert a eighteen-wheeled truck up your arse that you are about to turn?
Next up was the mounting of the Zodiac rear mudguard which would have to be cut and fitted.
I played safe on this and found a о mock piece of aluminium, shaped it by hand around the new fender, marked it out to where I thought it required cutting and then finally cut it to shape. Again, this took a few attempts to get correct before I marked the new fender with the required measurements. And no way did I cut it myself – this was way over my head and I had it done by a local machinist.
Now was time for me to put on my thinking hat and design some type of bracket for the solo seat.
I came up with an idea and shaped it from card with the dimensions required for the real thing. I sent this, along with measurements for a simple tank lift bracket, to my machinist friend who shaped them to my requirements from aluminium. The seat bracket needed a small adjustment, but otherwise it worked out perfectly.