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Old 06-10-2009, 11:44 AM   #1
camoback
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Default Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Looking into getting a shovel when i get back and remember reading somewhere that certain years were more reliable or sought after. whats the thought process on that and why or does it really matter?
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

The first years, 66-69 (generator bottom). They are the most sought after and will demand more dollars to purchase.
70 -84 (alternator bottom) were mostly AMF years and can be had for less dollars.
Reliablitiy depends on who the previous owner was and how he treated the bike and what modifications he did.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Got to say 69 was the best...AMF had a foot in the door and was doing some R&D to the Big Twins...69 has the good Timken bearing (sprocket shaft) that is still being use today on all single cam motors.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

66... mainly because that is what mine is....muahaha!!
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

66s' rule!
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Aside from the obvious desirability of generator motors, it's often been said that the last couple of years were very well engineered as they were increasing quality (compared to some of the early AMF years) in advance of Evo production.
That said, they're all pretty old now, and I'd rather have a properly rebuilt '73 than a fucked up '83.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

hope this didnt start anything. so the jest is pretty much shoot for something in the 60s because of the generator or something in the 80's for better quality control during the AMF years. im sure i'll get bashed for this but whats so great about the generator verses alternator?
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

66-9 if you want the chiks to think your "cool"
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by camoback View Post
whats so great about the generator verses alternator?
Well, they're older, see?
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Speekin' of the shovel.... Mr. Benway, don't you have one that you're fiddling with? Haven't seen a pic of that thing for a while... start a new thread and story us...

(thread jack over, now on to your regularly scheduled program)
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Quote:
than a fucked up '83.
agreed, the later ones are a bitch to find parts for, because they are bits and pieces of a lot of stuff.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by image1 View Post
agreed, the later ones are a bitch to find parts for, because they are bits and pieces of a lot of stuff.
does that mean from the factory or from owners doing their own thing to them?
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

I have shovels from 73 to 83. anywhere from 30,000 to 130,000 miles on them and have never had a problem finding parts for any of them. I can get most any engine part at my HD dealer in Fargo. Strangely, the best running is my 74" 73 over the later 80"ers, and it's faster, or seems to be, but I don't have any dyno numbers or anything. Any of them is faster than my evo.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

well i have and still own both generations of shovels and i prefer the 60's versions because i like their look better and they are sort of a morphing of what was the pan earlier on.....for the shovels in the 70's i like them as well and they seem to be pretty plentiful lately and fairly inexpensive to start with .....the newer 80's are easy to find as well but for some reason just don't appeal to me....gen vs alt......generators seem to be easier to me to work on and look really cool compared to the alt motor....the alt version of course with the newer charging system seems to be more trouble free as far as maintenance goes but alot more common out there and i like it that my 68 FLH isn't one of 20 on runs and parties....but its your call in the end...good luck...
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

I own a 66 generator Shovel and as people have said they are easy to work on. Just this weekend, I drove from Ottawa Canada to Sudbury, a 15 hour ride and back. Only problem I had was a clutch cable adjustment. Yes they look cool as hell and chicks dig em. Now if I could only post a picture on this site!!!!

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

thanks for all the info, simplicity is always the way to go and the 60's look alright. this is something posted from where im from. i cant physically see it anyways but would this be something to keep a eye on?

66 rebuilt shovelhead motor only $3500 obo
Flywheels Balanced an Trued
New Rods and Crankpins...
All new bearings and seals
Heads flowed and intake manifold trued and matched to carb S&S B carb
Heads and intake ported and polished..
10.5 to 1 Hi Comp Pistons
S&S oil pump gears and breather gear
Aftermarket engine case
All new valves, guides, springs, seals and rocker arm shafts Manley
Accel coil and ignition system
Has generator to alternator replacement.
would the generator/ alternator replacement be a bad thing?
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Quote:
does that mean from the factory or from owners doing their own thing to them?
factory, there are some half year parts, and changes in production as they made the transition to evo. Maybe not hard to get parts, but hard to get the retards behind the counter to get you the right parts is a better way to say it.
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by camoback View Post
thanks for all the info, simplicity is always the way to go and the 60's look alright. this is something posted from where im from. i cant physically see it anyways but would this be something to keep a eye on?

66 rebuilt shovelhead motor only $3500 obo
Flywheels Balanced an Trued
New Rods and Crankpins...
All new bearings and seals
Heads flowed and intake manifold trued and matched to carb S&S B carb
Heads and intake ported and polished..
10.5 to 1 Hi Comp Pistons
S&S oil pump gears and breather gear
Aftermarket engine case
All new valves, guides, springs, seals and rocker arm shafts Manley
Accel coil and ignition system
Has generator to alternator replacement.
would the generator/ alternator replacement be a bad thing?
Your listing mentioned aftermarket engine case. Do you know if it's the left side or right side? Left side is what would determine if it's a '66 or not.

Generator Shovels are titled to the motor numbers. Alternator Shovels are titled to the frame numbers.

Have a plan up front on what you want to build because buying an engine that has an aftermarket left case may make things harder.

Something to keep in mind.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

yeah i think if you are going to pay that kind of cash for a generator shovel it should at least have the original matching cases to start with....it would be a must to have at least the number side to keep it real....my opinion of course but i would pay substantially lower for aftermarket cases on an older shovel motor if it came thru my doors over one that had original matching cases....and hey creepyman.....are you telling me you actually have a hd dealer in your area that will order or stock shovel parts ?? wow....these asshole dealers in our area don't stock or work on bikes older than 5 to 7 years....period....they won't order any older parts and barely stock necessities for an evo....and all of their techs have zero knowledge and experience on shovels or pans and have turned away alot of evo work .....must be nice man....
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:59 PM   #20
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

what years can you run evo guts in ie pistons, flywheels, etc.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:19 AM   #21
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As a rule, all year model Shovels (slabside and cone) are old enough that they have very little in common with the way they were when they arrived at the dealer. Some were well maintained. Most were not. I prefer the 74" models, as I don't much care for the later 'cowpie' trannys. Also, as I haven't done whole-bike servicing for years, every Shovel that I have had in my shop has been treated to an engine/tranny teardown and rebuild. They all had some ailment that required such. Some have been in really good shape, considering their years. Just as many were really trashed. All were given a fresh start on life. I prefer stock builds, but gave some stroker wheels, aftermarket cams and carbs, and electronic ignitions. Mostly at customer requests, though I'm a firm believer in the electronic ignition technology of today, and recommend it over points.

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Old 06-11-2009, 10:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

My '79 was wrecked when it was three years old and sat until two years ago.
All I have done to the engine is re-ring it when I had the top end off for bead blasting.
It does not even leak oil!
Not bad for being one of the bad years.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:56 AM   #23
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My '79 was wrecked when it was three years old and sat until two years ago.
All I have done to the engine is re-ring it when I had the top end off for bead blasting.
It does not even leak oil!
Not bad for being one of the bad years.
'79 shovels are the best!

Agreed!
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:29 PM   #24
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1977 Shovels rule.

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Old 06-11-2009, 08:19 PM   #25
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

i will have to go with 1981 a freind and custmer has one with a bizzlin miles on it and the only time i have to fix it is when he trys to fuck with it!!!
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:47 PM   #26
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1974 thats what my cases are so they must be the best
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:58 PM   #27
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

My cases are 71, the heads cast date is 66, man it's a mess, but runs like a raped ape! all this in a 57 straight leg frame....
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:01 AM   #28
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

STD cases in a 82 FLHP frame, Mines the best cuas I got it and yew dont!!!

.........HAhahahahah!!!!! Roach.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:17 AM   #29
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STD cases in a 82 FLHP frame, Mines the best cuas I got it and yew dont!!!

.........HAhahahahah!!!!! Roach.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:34 AM   #30
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

I'm gonna go with 73... as it's both my birth year and the shovel I got...lol
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:15 AM   #31
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1968 is the best year!
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:19 AM   #32
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so the jest of it is whatever year you own is the best year. somewhere between a 66 and a 84. ill just go spin a bottle and what ever it points to i'll get. thanks for the factual help! hehe
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:36 AM   #33
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There are no bad years, really. AMF saved H-D from the grave. My '76 is an AMF, and one of the finest road machines a man could ask for. Specs say 800 miles per quart, oil consumption. I managed to get by at around 1000 miles per quart. On a good cross country trip, you can get by without an oil change, as it was always fresh. 74 cu-in pulled all day long, loaded heavy with gear.

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Old 06-12-2009, 05:39 AM   #34
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so the jest of it is whatever year you own is the best year. somewhere between a 66 and a 84. ill just go spin a bottle and what ever it points to i'll get. thanks for the factual help! hehe
If that's the case then '84 gets my vote!

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Old 06-12-2009, 11:08 AM   #35
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Comments on 1982 FX? I've got a line on one for a decent price.
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:04 PM   #36
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They're all nice but I prefer early....
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:34 PM   #37
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1980 -80cu.in. shovels have it all day
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:58 PM   #38
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me dad had an 80/80 flh.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:12 PM   #39
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Gots to say 81 .Yea Com On..Shovit Man
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:14 PM   #40
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I have a 72 and I like it. For looks I like generator shovels. I'm proud of my conemotor though!
I have a conemotor club at chopper nation! Join up.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:28 PM   #41
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This 74 is my favorite ride:

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:54 PM   #42
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If thats what you call Bailys Irish creem!!!!
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:56 PM   #43
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Osprey - Your Pap's have good taste!
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:59 PM   #44
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If thats what you call Bailys Irish creem!!!!
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:32 PM   #45
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:38 PM   #46
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Well, I've always been a fan of the generator shovels and obviously my favorite is my ugly '68.
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:37 PM   #47
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hope this didnt start anything. so the jest is pretty much shoot for something in the 60s because of the generator or something in the 80's for better quality control during the AMF years. im sure i'll get bashed for this but whats so great about the generator verses alternator?
absolutely nothing. the alternater is better. gen shovels are just more traditional and look better. build a left side alt/rt side gen cased shovel with a magneto and an alternator. shaved left flywheel and an andrews ab grind cam.......priceless......put a bendix on it w/ adjustable mainjet and hide a thunderjet behind an s&s teardrop filter. 40"'x 2" pipes or 2 into 1 (pan type) pipe......good luck
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:38 PM   #48
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absolutely nothing. the alternater is better. gen shovels are just more traditional and look better. build a left side alt/rt side gen cased shovel with a magneto and an alternator. shaved left flywheel and an andrews ab grind cam.......priceless......put a bendix on it w/ adjustable mainjet and hide a thunderjet behind an s&s teardrop filter. 40"'x 2" pipes or 2 into 1 (pan type) pipe......good luck
While your compiling this mess,dont forget to change your transmission main shaft as well as your primary set up.
Nothing like creating a hemorphrodite,stick to the kiss method.
You will be thankfull later if you do.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:09 PM   #49
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While your compiling this mess,dont forget to change your transmission main shaft as well as your primary set up.
Nothing like creating a hemorphrodite,stick to the kiss method.
You will be thankfull later if you do.
Sorry but this mess you call it is a standard motor for people that are starting from scratch and want the best of both worlds. It doesnt sound like the guy is starting with anything so may not have to change much. this motor may be complicated for someone that doesnt know the shovel motor but in reality it is a simple build and most case manufacturers make these same cases, alt/gen. back to the best shovel really no such thing, some people like the looks of the generator motor some like the reliability of the alternator and lack of all the timing gears and such but really the inside of the motors is the same. i see alot of alt bikes for 5-6 grand but not many generator ones for sale and they are usually 2-3 grand more.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:26 PM   #50
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Im sorry but if you think the chicks know the diff between a early shovel and a cone motor you are mistaken. You will get way more gawks from old farts like me wit da early shov.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:52 PM   #51
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:37 AM   #52
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

I have had a 72, a 78, and now a 1981 FLH80Classic.
I have to say, Im most happy with the 81. It had 3500mi. on the rebuild when I bought it 3 years ago and it now has 20,500mi on it and I have not touched the motor other than oil change and some electrical components. Not even adjusted the valves..I beat the Hell otta' this bike. The only oil leak is the size of a silver dollar from the crankcase breather tube after a 400+ mile ride typically. It still has the original cylinders with the factory auxillary oil lines from the cylinder bases to the tappet blocks. I beat the Hell otta this bike!
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:01 AM   #53
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Is there any truth to the theory the last of the shovels had evo bottom ends?
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:56 PM   #54
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

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Originally Posted by GUSSOUND View Post
Im sorry but if you think the chicks know the diff between a early shovel and a cone motor you are mistaken. You will get way more gawks from old farts like me wit da early shov.
Obviously you are associating with the wrong types of chicks...
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:23 PM   #55
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Yep Slab side Shovels do it for me to"
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:47 AM   #56
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

1985,when they became EVOs.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:01 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by panhead_pete View Post
Is there any truth to the theory the last of the shovels had evo bottom ends?

Thats not a theory, thats a rummor.
I do know people that have put EVO guts in their shvl though.
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:25 AM   #58
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

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absolutely nothing. the alternater is better. gen shovels are just more traditional and look better. build a left side alt/rt side gen cased shovel with a magneto and an alternator. shaved left flywheel and an andrews ab grind cam.......priceless......put a bendix on it w/ adjustable mainjet and hide a thunderjet behind an s&s teardrop filter. 40"'x 2" pipes or 2 into 1 (pan type) pipe......good luck
this caught my attention for sure...
since i am still extremely wet behind the ears as far as interchangeability of hd motor parts and the only motorcycle i've ever wrenched on being my evo 4 cammer, i have a few questions...
with the genny RH case having no generator attached, does the space just get left open?
and by shaved left flywheel, are alt and genny shovel flywheels different and one would need to custom make a set to fit?
one last question... would it be a total pain in the ass to take an evo motor, and just put shovel tops and a right side generator case on it? im guessing its possible but just not sure what the difficulty factor would be.
very curious about this because i'm collecting parts for my first ground up project and really wanted to do a genny shovel but as it's been mentioned in this thread any slab side motor you're lucky enough to come accross is mega $$$, and im not afraid to compile a franken-motor, especially if in the end i have a bike with that gorgeous slabside/magneto combo hangin off one side.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:14 AM   #59
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

I have to say the gennys are the way to go but if you're like me and can't afford it, then I'd say 1981 is your year since it was the first year they went to the new (and better) oiling system. I purchased a nice 81 after an oldtimer mentioned that 81-84 take to performance enhancements better than the genny shovels.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:12 PM   #60
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

So I put this pic in the other shovelhead thread, but it really should have gone here...

The '69 and earlier bikes are definately cooler, but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the alternator bikes. This is my buddy's 1974 FLH which I have been riding around for the last couple of months. This bike is almost completely original, and it is an AMF. No rebuilds, no improvements to compensate for inferior contstruction, no nothin'

It just goes, and goes, and goes....



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Old 10-14-2009, 04:20 PM   #61
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1966-1969 Is my opinion!!
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:55 PM   #62
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

67 is the best, because I have one!

seriously though, pre AMF years for sure.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:46 PM   #63
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Shucks Guys....

After thinking about what I said with the 69 being the best year Shovel...

Going to make a retraction and say 52 is the best year Shovel...



Guess y'all can guess where that statement comes from...

(Been thinking about that for three years)

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Old 05-13-2012, 06:36 PM   #64
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

here's the thing to think about

none of the shovel engines runs the same
like mine its a 70's engine and a buddy of mine also has a shovel out of that same year ,same specs ,same carb and both with a M5 magneto ,they just don't run the same way .....and i'm sure that if you test 2 shovel engines out of the same year they act differently !!

so its up to what you want
i like the 66 to 69 shovels better lookswise ,but as been said before also more expensive to buy
the early nose cone shovels are good to and so are the later AMF ones .....but none of them runs the exact same way

you just need to find one that is in good condition and affordable
unless you want to start with a basket case and want to rebuild so you will now in the end that you have an overhauled reliable engine !!

and whats in a year then ?!

just my 0.2
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:35 PM   #65
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

the best shovelhead will be the one u buy and make your own
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:38 PM   #66
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Quote:
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the best shovelhead will be the one u buy and make your own
^^^^......... Best answer Award ........^^^^

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.....................We have a winner...!!!..................

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Old 06-28-2012, 09:41 AM   #67
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

1966 is my opinion, anyway 66-69
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #68
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

That bike looks great! I've got a '75 with a lot of the same parts- front end, etc. It's currently mostly stock (60's) looking but in the future I may for something like that ^^^
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:21 AM   #69
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

1975. Mine runs like a champ (thanks to a CV), doesn't leak and the chicks dig it (okay it's just my wife, but she does like it).
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:13 PM   #70
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

I prefer the 66-69 for its clean look. Here's mine which was completed recently.

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Old 06-28-2012, 09:13 PM   #71
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

66s and 67s are my favorites
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:26 AM   #72
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Quote:
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1966 is my opinion, anyway 66-69
I agree. 1966 was the "best" year
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:52 AM   #73
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Default Re: Best Years for a Shovelhead?

Me to on the 66
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:37 PM   #74
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generator shovels for sure!!
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:05 AM   #75
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As found
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