Instagram: @el_lobo_cycles

Location: Copdock, United Kingdom

Bike Year / Motor: 2023 / 1979 Speed&Science Shovel

What have you done? Pulled my hairs out, cursed the gods of stainless and burned the midnight oil few times. But I have almost finished the bike, which is good, because if it makes it to the final, then shipping from the UK to California is going to take some time. I am proud to say that 95% of the bike has been build with custom parts, and almost nothing is off-the-shelf-bolt-on stuff.

Below you find what has been done, with the ‘ELC’ connotation referring to design, work, and fabrication that was done in-house.

Frame & Bits: ~ ELC: stainless steel Shovel/Pan frame
~ ELC: stainless steel lowering swingarm
~ ELC: aluminium oil-tank, integrated battery-box, rubber hung
~ ELC: Tokyo/Frisco style tank

Engine: ~ ELC: Engine build: - 1979 Shove cases
- Speed&Science big bore 3-5/8” cylinders,
- Speed&Science heads and rocker boxes
- EV27 Andrew Cam
- S&S Evo Lifter blocks, tappets,roller rockers
- S&S Big Bore pistons
- Morris Magneto/FNA
For all the obvious reasons, this was not just a bolt together job. The cases had to be bored to accept the big bore cylinders. The cylinders had to be bored and honed, and as this is a standard stroke, the base plate had to trimmed by 5.7mm. Last but not least, the crank was trued. All if the work was done in-house.

Trans: ~ Baker 6-in-4

Drive: ~ Tech Cycles primary chain drive - modified to work on this bike
~ BDL clutch-pack

Front-End: ~ fork legs: ELC - shaved and custom made aluminium dust caps
~ triples: ELC - designed-machined after IL triple trees, narrow.
~ risers: ELC - designed-machined brass risers after IL risers.
~ handlebars: ELC - 11” stainless bars
ELC - integrated brake/throttle lines for clean look
- internal throttle by Mueller
- hydraulic controls by K-tech
- grips by Biltwell
~ headlight: ELC - aluminium, 4-1/2” headlight

Wheels: ~ front: ELC - stainless laced 21”- 2.15
~ rear: ELC - stainless laced16”- 5.00
~ Shinko rubber in front, Avon in the rear

The rest: ~ ELC - stainless steel forward controls with ISR master cylinder
~ ELC - brass footage and shifter
~ ELC - stainless floating rear calliper bracket
~ ELC - stainless fender struts
~ ELC - stainless front, rear and swing-arm axle
~ ELC - stainless top and bottom shock mount
~ ELC - seat-pan,tolling done by good friend Jun Takakuda
~ ELC - stainless steel seat hinge with brass slider bushings
~ ELC - stainless steel 2-in-1 exhaust with cone muffler
~ ELC - top engine mount and carb stabilising bracket
~ PM brake callipers and EBC floating brake rotors
~ Kellerman mini rear lights

What do you have left to do? I still need to fabricate an oil-filter mount and put the lines in. And then there are a bunch of fasteners that I want to replace by 12 points. And then I want to put some miles on it to see if anything breaks, as I don’t want that to happen in California, if I am lucky enough to make it to the final 6.

Any problems so far? Of course, that is part and parcel of building a bike like this. A lot of small challenges, like getting the domes on the side of the oil tanks done right. I thought I could press the aluminium into shape, made a really nice jig, only to find out it didn’t work. That was 5 days of work I never get back. Another one …. taking out the chain slap for the primary chain, without the ability to move the transmission (tight in the frame), and not wanting to compromise looks with a tensioner.

And then there was the general issue of working with stainless, as this is a different beast. From welding up the frame and making sure it stayed straight, to machining all the parts out of this drill-bit-eating-tool-destroying material.

But in general I can’t complain. The build actually went relative smooth and there were no issues that compromised the quality or look I was going for. That being said, it can still go horribly wrong on the first ride …….. but I’ll keep you posted, hahaha.

Favorite part of the bike so far? To be honest, mostly the complete picture of the bike. It looks like a ‘standard’ shovel-head that was chopped, but in reality just about all parts are hand-made. But when you start taking in the details, you start picking up on all these unique parts.

If I had to pick one part though, it would be the swingarm ‘casting’ that had to be designed in order to even contemplate building this bike. It is not a casting that anyone makes, and CAD designing it and getting is milled is something I am particularly proud of. Most people who look at the bike won’t see it, as it blends into the bike and resembles the original part, but I think it highlights that you can incorporate modern engineering and machining while maintaining the feel of the original design.

Favorite part of the competition? What I like about this competition is that is shows that it doesn’t matter whether you are a builder from France, New Zealand, California, Pennsylvania or the UK, there is this common mutation we have on our DNA to build and chop bikes. It has been very cool to see the other guys build their bikes and I have had the pleasure to talk to a few of them, and I think I speak for all of them when I say that their primary goal is to do justice to the bike and the build, and the competitive aspect comes second.

For me, I have simply enjoyed building this bike. It has been hunting me in my dreams for years, but I never had the means to build it. I am very happy with the bike, and would love to ride it to the final in California.

Want to give any shout outs? For starters, to the Biltwell crew for having this competition and to my fellow builders, who all put their hearts and souls in their builds. And then there are there are the manufacturers of high quality parts that we all depend on, like CT Newman, Baker, BDL, Speed and Science, Hardtail Choppers, Tech Cycle, S&S, PM and many others.

But mostly I want to thank George, my shop-partner, who had my back during all stages of this build. A rock-solid guy.

Jeff Cochran for being a great source of inspiration and allowing me to use some parts of his design.

And let’s not forget all the local guys (Paul, Paul, Matt, Aaron, Alasdair, Duncan, Neal, Luke, Jun) here in England who elevated the craftsmanship on this build.