“The Wrench” – 1980 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Custom

In America, Cruiser, Custom by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Long before modern electronics were found inside motorcycles, it was just the rider, the bike, and a couple of wrenches. I’ve never been a huge fan of what I like to call “Gimmick Builds”, but this custom shovelhead gets a pass as far as I’m concerned. The build quality and attention to detail on this one-off Harley are nothing short of phenomenal, and despite it being a bit of a gimmick, the special theme and idea behind this bike are particularly cool.

The sentiment behind this build was to go back to a time when the entire machine was purely mechanical. To build a bike the owner could maintain themselves, reigniting that deeper love between motorcycle and rider that goes beyond just riding. The frame allows for the gorgeous 1200cc Shovelhead to be on full display. Certain components feature exposed inner workings, and the addition of a jockey-shifter and its exposed linkage furthers this mechanical theme.

This scoot is a celebration of a simpler time, as well as the sentiment and relationship frequent maintenance would forge between man and machine. Riders were more in tune with their bikes, and like a spouse, you did what you could to keep the bike happy because when it was happy, you were happy. While I don’t personally love the use of wrenches on the jockey-shifter and pedals, they do add character and keep in line with the build’s theme. The entire thing also has a very top-shelf feel to it, boasting tremendous fit and finish.

The custom front fork is similar to a girder unit however wears a slightly newer look. The handlebars are very much a throw back to early Harley racers, as is the large painted rear-fender and the steep angle it’s fixed to the bike at. The dual-sprung bobber saddle is a nice tip of the cap to earlier Harley-Davidson models, and its stitching results in an awesome blend of modern and vintage. This feat is shared by the license plate holder which is mounted at the very end of the hardtail on the right-side. A single circular antique tail light is also mounted with the plate holder, again mixing old and new. A small leather tool bag sits just in front of the rear fender, because obviously this build is going to have a tool bag, kit, or roll.

As much as this bike harks back to yesteryear, it does sport a handful of contemporary touches, resulting in an overall mix of modern and vintage that the motorcycle world cant seem to get enough in recent years. The winding custom exhaust pipes running along either side of the build are clearly modern touches. The welds look beautiful and add a bit more flavor, but don’t prevent the build from remaining relatively clean and minimalistic. The custom paint on the tank and fender definitely aren’t of an old-school aesthetic, but they were clearly done by someone very skilled and look fantastic.

This build is supposedly powered by a 1980 1200cc Shovel head and the ad states that earlier this year the V-twin was broken down and completely restored, having only around 150-miles put on it since. As you probably won’t be shocked to learn, this example took home – what I expect was a best in show – award at the 2017 Bike Week Contest in Faaker See, Austria. The price tag on this professional build is admittedly pretty steep, though this build boasts far better quality than most customs as well as an expert execution, outstanding fit and finish and a ridiculous and meticulous attention to detail on every inch of the build.

This bike was built by MG Customs who are based in Slovenia and have churned out some wildly impressive one-off builds that are all of this same caliber and like this one, many are really fun and creative customs. Though the shop has built a good deal of Harleys, it’s also seen cafe builds, scramblers, and several other genres of scoot roll out of its shop doors. There is an endless sea of custom Harley’s all over Craigslist and in every newspaper’s classified ads, but this bespoke H-D blatantly sets itself apart from the vast vast majority of custom two-wheelers from the Milwaukee-based moco. The bike is awesome and it was built with a great idea behind it, paying homage to what came before, and ending up with a pretty epic bike.

You can find this beautiful one-off Shovelhead, which had been named “The H-D Wrench”, for sale here on TheBikeShed in Slovenia with a price of $50,000. You can see more photos of the H-D Wrench as well as all of the other bikes MG Customs has built at their website, which is well worth a bit of your time.

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