Special '79's 1981 Shovelhead


Most hacks might talk themselves out of doing something because it's difficult, or from a fear of failure. Jason Roche of Special '79 is a fabricator who isn't afraid of much. He can beat, bend, heat, form, cut, grind and weld just about anything, so he's been hacking and welding on this swinger shovel since the day he got it, and will probably do so indefinitely. It may be a work in progress, but it's got some neat stuff to admire in the mean time, and it's a rider!

Like most of us, I'm building this bike on a budget. I specifically used much of the stock pieces off the original FXE so I could build it quick and get it on the road. Everything else was traded for. Almost nothing was bought for this bike except the swap meet tanks that I chopped, and the taillight. Here's something I learned along the way: don't use shitty can-opener-style baffles in drag pipes on a shovelhead, and don't weld them into the pipes before you take your bike on a highway run.  



Owner: Jason Roche, Special '79 Fabrication 

Bike name: Unfinished

Engine, year and make, model, modifications: '81 80" shovelhead, freshened up with .010" over pistons and rebuilt heads 

Frame: Stock '81 FXE swingarm frame, no real mods to speak of 

Fork: '84-'99 41mm Wideglide with modified nacelle pieces

Tire/wheel size and style: Stock Superglide mags, 19" front/16" rear (the rear mag might be off a Sportster.) I didn't want to screw around with spokes on this build

Favorite thing about this bike: The rear suspension. My back has been killing me and the shocks made it possible to endure the GR4 this year with no issues

Next modifications: I never know, thoughts on function and aesthetics change so often for me this could be a Mr. Potato Head bike. The seat and sissy bar setup will be changed, those pieces were put on the bike to get it on the road. I'll paint it at some point, too

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc.: Handmade narrow stainless apes; chopped and flared random stock fenders; narrowed flatside split tanks (now rubbermounted after cracking a mount on the GR4) with small fuel sight gauge; modified junk fender struts and sissy bar welded together with silicon bronze rod; chopped stock inner/outer primary used to support stock mids; drag pipes made from old pipes laying around Bench*Mark kicker pedal and points cover

Thanks to: My beautiful wife Ann-Marie for putting up with my obsession; the 50WT Love crew, a great group to ride with; Biltwell, for their continued support of my tiny fab company; Kim and Pat at Bench*Mark; Brian at JEM Cycle for letting me dig through his bins of old parts; Pitoniak Cycle for rebuilding the heads

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Commented on 10-11-2010 At 09:29 am

That tank is fokking sick

Commented on 10-11-2010 At 01:48 pm

Good stuff there Jay!

Commented on 10-11-2010 At 02:59 pm

Nice looking bike, I love the tank and all the little details.

Commented on 10-11-2010 At 03:37 pm

ya Jay is always a cool dude to chat back and forth with!

great dude!

Commented on 10-11-2010 At 06:29 pm

pretty sweet welding and cutting. It shows that you have the ability to jump right in where most of us might not. It is crazy cool.

Commented on 10-12-2010 At 06:50 am

not a huge fan of the fxr style, but that chop makes me think twice

Commented on 10-12-2010 At 06:56 am

Thanks for the kind words fellas! Please forgive the "cool guy standing next to his bike" pose, Bill made me do it. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not cool.

I forgot to thank Tyler and Kyle @ Lowbrow for their support also. They may not have had much to do with this bike but they've been a ton of help with the upcoming Triumph project.

Commented on 10-12-2010 At 08:19 am

Jay, This is a nice execution of "Your Style". I am looking forward to seeing many more bikes with your flair. Nice Job, Tim

Commented on 10-12-2010 At 12:35 pm

We know your cool level Jay. Don't worry about that. The tank releifs are my favorite but there's a lot of little tricks on the bike that come together to make a slick bike. Anyone can make an awesome show bike but let's see them ride it.

What's with that a-hole's face in that one pic?

Commented on 10-12-2010 At 01:27 pm

Lot of cool touches, not digging that double headlight thoughm looks awkward.

Commented on 10-12-2010 At 02:30 pm

Sweetness on the tank!

Commented on 10-13-2010 At 07:29 am

From a distance its got a classic stance, then you look closer and notice the unique chops and features. Thin but curvy in all the right places, nice touches!

Commented on 10-16-2010 At 11:47 pm

I gotta love that boardtracker style tank on a kicker shovel!! Saweet!!

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