Generation Gap | Custom Harley-Davidson Shovelhead in VL Frame

Majik Mike’s VL framed Shovelhead

The bike you see here is nothing short of me trying to build the best bike I’ve ever built. After winning the Hot Bike Tour Build Off in 2014 with a trike, I knew the “returning champ” had to build something even better for 2015.
I had no idea what I was going to do this time. In my basement was an old 1933 Harley-Davidson VL frame that was cut in half, raked out about 34 degrees, and covered in rust with some really bad repairs. It was a frame I was doing for a friend that we never got around to finishing. I asked him if he would sell it to me to use for the build-off, and needless to say that was the beginning of this bike.
In search of an I-beam springer front end, I found an old long beard in Madison, Wisconsin, who was willing to drive halfway to make a deal with me. Once again, it was an old, crusty front end but looked in fairly good condition, so I bought it. Bobby Middleton at King’s Kustoms replaced the front legs for me, and it was good as new again.
A week went by, and I got a call from Racine Harley-Davidson about a Shovelhead they just got in on trade. I went down and instantly knew whose bike it was. It was a friend of my dad who traded it in for a trike. I told them I would take it and ended up using that motor for the build.

Knowing I was going to have to keep up with the other bikes on the tour, I wanted to get something better than the four-speed transmission. I got a hold of Baker Transmission, and they agreed to help me out by supplying the polished hydraulic six-speed. That pushed me in the direction of tearing down the motor and polishing the cases, heads, and rocker covers. My local polisher, Terry Sheckles, was real accommodating of my time restraints and helped me out tremendously with all the polishing.
Once it was a roller, the fender was trimmed and mounted, but I still had to figure out the gas tank and oil tank. While I made the oil tank, my buddy Dan Vice helped me with the gas tank. I made a wire buck on the bike so I could eyeball the lines. I gave him the buck, and he worked off that. He knocked it out and brought it over a few days later for fitment for the tunnel and hidden mounts. Once the tank was done, the headlight was mounted and the seat was shaped.

I made the fiberglass seat pan, foamed, and shaped it myself before handing it over to Adam Nisiewicz for the upholstery. I drew the stitch line design, and he covered it for me that day. Under the seat you’ll find a small four-cell Antigravity battery used for the headlight and taillight. Lock Baker makes the coolest kickstand out there, so I integrated his leaf spring kickstand on the bike because I thought it went well with the old frame.
Fitment of the positioning was next, and I needed to make mid-controls and handlebars. The handlebars were bent and built, spending more time than I expected. Having a hydraulic brake and clutch, I needed to integrate master cylinders for both sides. That was a tricky part, but it ended up working out after doing it three times. Frank at Speed Dealer supplied me with another set of grips and pegs, so after some modifications I was able to get them to work with the internal throttle. After Hours Choppers hooked up the glass shifter knob and LED taillight.
Once the bike was broke down, I wanted to chrome the frame and front end. Terry once again dropped what he was doing and polished my frame and front end for chrome. The frame came back from chrome and still needed to be painted black. My buddy Herman helped me out by sanding the rails and molding the frame before spraying it black, leaving the neck, axel plates, and cradle chrome.
Chris Graves was the man who helped me out by assembling my motor. We used Throwback rocker covers, a Morris Magneto, and S&S Super E carb with a Bare Knuckle Choppers Velocity Stack, which were all fully polished before assembly.
Kendall was given the tin to paint whatever he wanted as long as he added some purple. He showed up with the tin just in time. He went with a subtle paint scheme with a classy look, highlighting just the edges of the lines with a purple pearl paint with a gloss black base. I was happy to see he didn’t go overboard and was stoked on how it turned out.

Getting this bike back together after chrome, paint, and powder convinced me that this was the best bike I’ve ever built. I didn’t win the tour, but showing up a second year in a row to ride along some of the best builders in the world is winning to me.
Big Thanks to Kira America for funding this build and Jeff Holt for including me once again. I’m already looking forward to next year’s tour.

Bike Owner Mike Rabideau
Shop Name Majik Mike Designs
Shop Phone (262) 880-1211
Shop website
Year/Make/Model 2015/Full Custom
Fabrication Majik Mike Designs
Assembly Majik Mike Designs
Build Time 6 months
Year Manufacturer 1982/H-D Shovelhead
Type/size 80 in.|
Carb. S&S Super E
Air Cleaner Bare Knuckle Chopper Velocity Stack
Exhaust Majik Mike Designs
Year/Manufacturer/Type 2015/Baker/6-speed in 4-speed case/Hydraulic
Clutch Primo
Primary Drive H-D 1.5-in. open belt
Year/Manufacturer VL Frame Modified
Rake 28º
Stretch Not much
Manufacturer Front RL Springer
Length Stock
Manufacturer H-D
Front Wheel/Type 21-in. 40-spoke |
Front Tire/Size Avon Speedmaster|
Rear Wheel/Type 16-in. 40-spoke
Rear Tire/Size Avon 150/80-16
Color Black with Purple/Blue Pearl
Painter Kendall Kustoms
Graphics Pearl Purple Stripes