Shovelheads Ect.
By JiveBunny

Rufus wrote a bunch, which I have snipped here and there, but tried to leave with his feelings unchanged...his stuff in italics...

Shovelheads were a decent bike in their time, taking into account that they were directly associated with the lowest point in Harley history, the AMF years.

Were the AMF years the lowest point? what about the 30's or just after WWII, or the late 80's?

What I find amusing is the reaction shovel herders have toward the Evo, which until the TC88 was the finest motor produced by the motor company.

So the XR750 (to name but one) was shit?
My objection to the evo is that is has followed the trend to the japanese yamaharley whoriental hog lookalikes, all plasticky looking alloy and CAD optimised fin profiles, much of which has to do with reducing production costs. The ally barrels on an evo still have steel liners, but have much higher thermal expansion than iron shovel barrels, el problemo for solid lifters. Just one point of many.

In the early 70's the Shovel was looked down upon by the Pan riders and with good reason. The bowling ball company continued to try for more production at the expense of quality resulting in an undependable machine. So the Pan achieved a sort of mythical status as the last real Harley.

Used to be the sidevalve was the last real harley, guess we wait 10 years and the evo will be the last real harley. You're talking fashion here, I stick with shovel because I like it best, not for fashion, but because it does what I want. Anyways, my current (incredibly long running and slow moving) project is what you would call a shovel, but doesn't have a HD component in the motor. Is it shovel you hate, or AMF, or WillyG, or what?

Nobody wanted to buy a new bike, then have to basically rebuild it, so we just bought pans and laughed at the Shovels.

Didn't everyone strip 'em as soon as they got home _anyway_? isn't this a part of the individual / custom scene? I don't mean Ness stuff, but the individual small changes that kept the basic shape of the bike, but to the owner's tastes, SU carbs, bob fenders, quickbob tanks, belt primaries, that sort of stuff.

As the motor company pulled its head out of its ass and improved its product the status remained the same, of course we were putting Shovel heads on Pan motors, but that was ok , they were still Pans.

Seeing as many bottom end componenets are interchangeable, and the motors were named after the head/rocker box design, putting a shovel head on a pan lower must make it at least shov/pan, if not shovel, it sure as hell isn't still pan...why didn't you just put an evo head on your shovel and call it an evo?

Then comes the Evo, now the Shovels and Pans have something in common, laughing at the new motor. It doesn't matter that it has basically the same lower end as the real motors, it is the new motor and real bikers ain't buying it.

Maybe "real bikers" aren't buying into the whole deal, just your real and wannabe Bruce Willis's and yuppies. New HD has fallen under the spell of the marketing dept, with "real harley davidson motorcycles" down to 883 cc and sporty's up to 1200 cc. This bit about "new" HD marketing/image/range is hard to explain, but you either get what I mean or dont.

As time wears on and the Evo proves itself as the most dependable motor the mo-co ever made the Pan's are fading out of the mainstream picture, leaving the shovel herders in the moment they are waiting for, Pan status.

The evo "most dependable"? You must be keeping the good stuff and exporting the crap then.

Well guys it ain't happening, you can sprout your Shovels rule and the rest of your tired nonsense but personally I ain't buying it. It is still the bowling ball motor and will never be Pan or Knuckle.

"bowling ball motor"??? So you tell a guy in a Ferrari it's just a Fiat Tipo??? If a shovel rider wanted something that "was" a pan or knuckle (or flat etc) why not trade for one? What do you say to someone on a WLA?

Frustrated Shovel herders take a great deal of sastifaction in trying to slam Evos as yuppie rides. Well I had my Shovel for 9 years and put 126,000 miles on her, rebuilt the motor three times and did a total of 5 top ends, I have had my Evo for 8 years and did a top end at 60,000, proving at least to me that the Evo is a far superior ride.

  • One, you can't compare the reliability of a used vehicle of unknown service history / quality with a new vehicle.
  • Two, I rode shovel from above the arctic circle in scandinavia to north africa, and from portugal to turkey and russia, in many different trips, over many years, I rode shovel from UK to Turkey and back in 8 days (4000 km, all sorts of fuel / terrain / climate), I could go on, but _apart_ from ripped tyres, blown bulbs or fuses, and the odd bit of damage due to accident or misuse, I NEVER had a "couldn't fix it by the roadside" breakdown.
  • Three, when your electronic ignition evo goes down in bum-fuck-nowhere, let's see you fix it with bits of tape and stuff in the bottom of your saddlebags...shovel was the last motor made with owner servicing as a prime factor.

    Take a stock Evo, get the EPA out of it and it will blow away all but the most radical Shovels.

    and a V-Max will blow away all but the most radical evo's, and so on all the way back to 31s

    Guess it all depends if you have a bike to ride, or take pictures of.

    for me it's if I have a bike to love, or transport.
    JiveBunny (who'd sell an evo if you give him one, or prefer a HD/Cagiva 250 to an evo)

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