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  1. #1
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    Default Shovelheads: Slabside vs Cone

    Looking to get a shovelhead for my next project. Aside from the obvious charging system difference, what should I be considering in one compared to the other? I'm leaving this open for fact, fiction, experiences and opinions. What do you guys like and why? Would love to hear from some of the ol' grey beards who really know their stuff.

  2. #2
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    your gonna spend more on a good running slab side.

  3. #3
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    You'll pay far more for Gen cases than Alt cases, as well as all the gears.

  4. #4
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    I got an 81 FLH with the 80Ci cone shovel. I like it, You can pick up cones cheaper than a slabside. There is a slabside and a cone shovel for sale at panheadcity. It all in what you want to do and how much you want to spend !
    Last edited by DOTY; 07-16-2012 at 9:33 AM.

  5. #5
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    Also thing the alternator shovels have a better crank bearing set up and better oiling, but not 100% sure on thats

  6. #6
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    Let's not forget that ALL come shovel heads were AMF motors. (no, I don't hate AMF)
    You my point is that you will need to invest BIG $ to get this this to be reliable.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    Let's not forget that ALL come shovel heads were AMF motors. (no, I don't hate AMF)
    You my point is that you will need to invest BIG $ to get this this to be reliable.
    Not exactly, AMF years were '69 to '81.

  8. #8
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    i have a 74 cone motor, had no problems with the engine these past six years other than small oil leak from the rockers. i have'nt even changed plugs in the past 5 years. generator shovels look better, hold there value better and u can put it in any frame an maintain the harley title, if u get the title with the engine.

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't beat myself up over reliability. If you dont know the history of the particular motor, both cones and slabs should be checked from top to bottom by a reputable (harley) mechanic. I have 2 cones that I would cross the country on tomorrow with out worry, and I wouldn't hesitate for a second if they were slabsides and had the same treatment that was done to mine.

    You can buy either and roll the dice on reliability, or you can buy either and spend up to $1500- $2000 for a total rebuild and never look back.

    my $.02 anyways.....

  10. #10
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    I've jut got my first shovel. It's a 78 cone. So far, touch wood, it's been spot on. Spat oil everywhere but that's because I over filled it. The other issues was carbs, I listened to an older couple of riders an they were telling to adjust this and that. I shouldn't have listens. It took me a day to get it back to running well. Best thing about the shovel I've learned is go with your gut feeling on most things.

    The best thing of all, they rock.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    Let's not forget that ALL come shovel heads were AMF motors. (no, I don't hate AMF)
    You my point is that you will need to invest BIG $ to get this this to be reliable.



    NOT all AMF is crap,,was just some times where things were "lacking",, all Harleys had there issues

  12. #12
    ARBY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    Let's not forget that ALL come shovel heads were AMF motors. (no, I don't hate AMF)
    You my point is that you will need to invest BIG $ to get this this to be reliable.
    That statement is nonsense. I've had my '77 for over thirty years and have never experienced a catastrophic failure of any component. Any machine will break if you abuse it, fail to maintain it or have jackballs wrench on it.

    You gotta take care of things. When it was time for a top end, it got done. I didn't wait until the pistons blew the heads off. When it needs brakes, I change them. I don't wait until the rotors get chewed up and grooved. When it needs a clutch I replace it. I don't drive it until it self destructs, wipes out the tranny and locks up the whole show tight as turtle pussy! That's how shit gets expensive.

    I have no doubt that my Shovel will be on the road long after all these "reliable" motorcycles are dead an rusted.

    Last edited by ARBY; 07-17-2012 at 8:32 AM.

  13. #13
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    Slab side for looks and nastalgia. Cone for the win. Abundant parts. Everything has been done to these engines and there is a ton of info on them. There's not a thing wrong with an amf engine either. It seems to be a statement that most people that do not know a whole lot about bikes clutch to.

    You know how it goes;

    "Hey nice Harley"
    "knucklehead right?". - no shovelhead
    "oh, cool. My dads got a sportster too...."
    " ya,... I heard amf really about killed harley. Junk huh?..". - uhhh

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARBY View Post
    That statement is nonsense. I've had my '77 for over thirty years and have never experienced a catastrophic failure of any component. Any machine will break if you abuse it, fail to maintain it or have jackballs wrench on it.

    You gotta take care of things. When it was time for a top end, it got done. I didn't wait until the pistons blew the heads off. When it needs brakes, I change them. I don't wait until the rotors get chewed up and grooved. When it needs a clutch I replace it. I don't drive it until it self destructs, wipes out the tranny and locks up the whole show tight as turtle pussy! That's how shit gets expensive.

    I have no doubt that my Shovel will be on the road long after all these "reliable" motorcycles are dead an rusted.

    I know you are bat shit crazy about shovel heads, and hate all other bikes, but this actually makes sense. I'm lookin to pick up a cone shovel here pretty soon. In my opinion they look just as cool as a gennie.

  15. #15
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    i bought my 76 cone a few months ago and love it, it was well maintained tho and will continue to be. i didn't steal the bike but i paid a fair price for what it is...if you buy i shit box hacked up bike to begin with your probably either going to sink a lot of $ into it or be working on it all the time or both!
    just my opinion, better to start off with something decent and you'll probably save in the long run...

    i like the slab's but were out of my price range

  16. #16
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    Highway to the cone zone. Slabs are cool, but six grand for just a motor? Fuck, these dudes must have forgot that most of us are blue collar family men. Someday, but till then- i think cones look sick as hell! the only nice thing is if you have a slab in most states you are exempt from a lot of nonsense i.e. directionals, horn, headlight during the day, all that shit. It would be nice to do away with that shit and not have to pay fines out the ass.

    Somebody buy my sportster so i can buy a more unreliable, leaky no good piece of shit shovel.

  17. #17
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    the no headlight during the day rule is for 56 and older motorcycles.

  18. #18
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    it is funny when some dipshit has to make a remark about amf being the worst ones on the road. they don't realize there are still a bunch on the roads today. its all about how well they are taken care of. u don't work on them like they are farm equipment, it takes a person with skills and pride. look at it this way if u keep one going along with a new bike, u are better than the guy who bought a new one and brags about how much he rides.

  19. #19
    dazegoneby
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    Quote Originally Posted by panheadjay View Post
    i it takes a person with skills and pride. look at it this way if u keep one going along with a new bike, u are better than the guy who bought a new one and brags about how much he rides.
    same goes for the triumphs the t 140s get critisized becauseof the short stroke eng ,,all i can do is smile while i stroll down the roadall bikes need someone to care about them and maintain them,,nuff said

  20. #20
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    Is it safe to say that the "don't buy that year, it's an AMF bike" doesn't apply anymore?

    I mean all the shortcoming of the "AMF years" are 30+ years ago, haven't all those "problems" been resolved?


    I'm not arguing, just trying to enlighten myself.

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