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  1. #1

    Default First timer shovel question

    Hello, long time lurker here, first time posting. I wanted to get some advice from some folks experienced with shovelheads. I'm 21, no motorcycle experience at all, I have hardly any tools, all I have is motivation. One of my favorite ways to pass the time is reading about old Harleys, anything I can to learn what I can without physically having a bike. The shovels have my heart, it'd be my dream to own one. I'm 100% willing to learn how to work on one, and spend the time with her in the garage.
    I am rambling on, I just want to get my point across to get some input. Anyway, I might finally have the chance to financially be able to get a shovel. There's a guy I follow on Instagram down in Charlotte NC, fastlanepan is his username. He seems to get some super clean and stock old bikes, and for what seems to be damn good prices. I've seen a few shovels go from around 4-5k. I want to know if any of y'all could give me some info I should know, after all I'll be driving right in and going straight for the shovel. I understand I'll be spending way more time with just regular maintenance, but I want to know ahead of time some of the things I might have to do, or that I should look out for.
    I'd like an FX or FXR, nothing too big, I just want an old shovelhead to learn on. Sorry for such a jumbled up post, I hope someone can make some sense of all this and give me the info I'm seeking. I'm very excited and anxious about this, it will be a new experience for me. I could even end up absolutely hating riding a bike, but I doubt it haha.

  2. #2
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    A big difference between an FX and an FXR lol, I personally can't stand FXR's but that's why they make different bikes right?

  3. #3

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    Stuff like this is what I'm looking to learn. I don't know much about the different models of shovels. I've seen some charts before about Harley's abbreviations but I'm not sure on that one's accuracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VApatriot View Post
    Stuff like this is what I'm looking to learn. I don't know much about the different models of shovels. I've seen some charts before about Harley's abbreviations but I'm not sure on that one's accuracy.
    Goggle is your friend.... It's amazing what you can lean if you will take time to look around and read...

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    Anyone you know in your area that rides or works on the old shovels if you need some advice or get in over your head ? See if there is a local chapter of the A.M.C.A in your area . With the Covid 19 crashing the economy you may save yourself $1000.00 or more in the upcoming months on a purchase.
    It's easy to get excited and run headlong into a nightmare. It would be best to have someone with some experience go with you on your first time out.
    Last edited by 47str8leg; 03-30-2020 at 8:30 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    Goggle is your friend.... It's amazing what you can lean if you will take time to look around and read...
    Absolutely. I know this was a foolish post, I'm just asking for myself, looking for some personal response. I need to just stop talking and get the bike.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 47str8leg View Post
    Anyone you know in your area that rides or works on the old shovels if you need some advice or get in over your head ? See if there is a local chapter of the A.M.C.A in your area . With the Covid 19 crashing the economy you may save yourself $1000.00 or more in the upcoming months on a purchase.
    Lol that's actually what's motivating me to bite the bullet soon.

  8. #8

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    Get one with a matching HARLEY title!

  9. #9

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    Take your time and familiarize yourself with the different models. The production history is long, with a lot of different models produced. When you settle on a model or models you like (and you have already expressed an interest in FX or FXR, but that covers a lot of models), look for the most original, low mileage example you can find. They are all relatively inexpensive at this time, and as has been pointed out, may get cheaper yet.

    Needless to say, matching numbers and a good clear title are essential.

    Main thing, take your time, and if you can find someone you can trust, who has some knowledge, that would be a big help, bigger than you know.

    Good luck, and welcome to the crowd,
    Jim

  10. #10

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    As someone who was kinda in your position a few years back I'll offer my thoughts and do with them what you will. I'd been riding for like 16 years and always into Harleys but only started riding/owning them a few years back.

    Do you want to spend more time riding bikes or working on them? I'm not saying this goes for everyone but for me, don't get me wrong I enjoy a weekend on the tools but riding is way more fun. Even the finest Shovelhead will get boring if it's just a garage ornament. If you end up discovering that you prefer riding to working on bikes, then without any maintenance experience I'd be almost certain you'll end up resenting a Shovel. Even minor repairs are gonna take a newcomer time to do. I mean even just this weekend I had to change the throttle/idle cable on my bike which is about as basic a repair as they come... but I still had to drain the tank, remove the tank, scramble around for the cable ferrule that fell off and rolled down the driveway, fit the cables, set them up. Over time that'll become second nature and you'll get it done in half the time, but when you're fresh to riding, the suns out and all you want is a bike to jump on and ride, it's easy to get frustrated with a bike that isn't running.

    I don't mean to sound harsh but I've known a few people who were new to bikes, rode brand new Harleys for a bit and then traded them for Shovels because they're cool, ones that ran too, got the Instagram likes they were looking for and then just couldn't deal with the fact they didn't have a first-kick bike.

    Also, and again not to discourage you because there's a lot of reward from working on your own bike, the type of stuff you might end up dealing with on a Shovelhead isn't like a quick carb-clean and new plugs and off you go. It can be involved work that requires a comprehensive set of tools. When you know what you're doing and have a decent set of tools, then I'm not disputing a Shovel can be a cool engine to have in the frame but as a first-timer, I can see it being enough to very quickly put you off riding and then you've dropped thousands of $$$ on a bike, tools and riding gear and might give up long before you would have had you got something less maintenance-intensive.

    You said you like FXR's. You might be able to find an Evo engine FXR which short of the actual motor, still looks like an FXR, and one you'll be able to spend more time riding. Failing that, an Evo Sportster or Dyna will give you reliability but enough of a challenge when they go wrong or more likely when you want to change/upgrade parts.

    I've rambled so to put this another way. Buying a Shovel as your first bike with no maintenance experience is like buying an abandoned building with no roof as your first home without construction experience. Once the novelty wears off it's going to suck for a long time before its fun.

    Not sure if that helps but good luck.
    Last edited by TeeJayE; 03-31-2020 at 6:36 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeJayE View Post
    Harleys for a bit and then traded them for Shovels because they're cool, ones that ran too, got the Instagram likes they were looking for and then just couldn't deal with the fact they didn't have a first-kick bike.

    That's damn hard to do for even the best mechanics.... It took me YEARS to understand the ins and outs on how to set up a bike to do that... That's why I discourage people to even try.....

    2 or 5 kicks is just fine....

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    That's damn hard to do for even the best mechanics...
    For sure, I just mean people coming to carbureted, kickstart-only bikes from EFI for the cool factor and realising they're not just gonna roll out of bed on any given day and fire it up in an instant.

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    But what if it's #onekickwednesday?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeJayE View Post
    For sure, I just mean people coming to carbureted, kickstart-only bikes from EFI for the cool factor and realising they're not just gonna roll out of bed on any given day and fire it up in an instant.
    I was agreeing with you..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatchet54 View Post
    But what if it's #onekickwednesday?
    My guess is there will be very very few people involved...

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    I was agreeing with you..........
    Ah sorry. I’m not good with communication skills in the real world let alone on the internet

  17. #17

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    Thanks for your input. You made a really good point. I guess you could say I'm in the position where I'd love to chase the cool factor of having a shovel, but it'd most likely be too big of a spoonful for me. I've got my eyes set on a couple old ironheads in the area, a little over 2k, great looking condition. I may go with one of those just to get a cheaper and old bike to learn some basics on, or even get a early 2000 Evo. Time will tell, I'll definitely be posting more when I finally get one

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by VApatriot View Post
    Thanks for your input. You made a really good point. I guess you could say I'm in the position where I'd love to chase the cool factor of having a shovel, but it'd most likely be too big of a spoonful for me. I've got my eyes set on a couple old ironheads in the area, a little over 2k, great looking condition. I may go with one of those just to get a cheaper and old bike to learn some basics on, or even get a early 2000 Evo. Time will tell, I'll definitely be posting more when I finally get one
    Just to let you know a Sporty of any kind ain't a Shovel as far as cool goes... Since you brought it up...

  19. #19

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    Trust me I know haha. But it will still get me some experience with tinkering and maintenance. I'll work myself up to confidently say I'm ready for my shovel.

  20. #20

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    Ironhead sportsters might be cheaper in the initial buy in but can cost as much, sometimes, more than a shovel to repair and fix. Ironhead sporty or bigtwin evo, go evo 2 cents

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