Still Greasy: A turbocharged 80 cubic-inch hand-shift Shovelhead…
All over the world, every night, unsung men and women are hard at work in cramped garages and sheds, overcoming limited funds, daily stresses, sore backs, busty knuckles, even broken hearts to transform wrecked and forgotten machines into their own visions of beauty and speed.
Back in 2012, Bear and the crew at Ohio’s Old Bike Barn organized The Greasy Dozen Collective in order to support such builders and the garage-built motorcycles they create. The concept was simple: each year, sponsors would help a dozen builders kick-start their projects, giving them a deadline to compete their builds. It would culminate in The Greasy Dozen Run, an organized ride along some of Ohio’s best backroads, leading to a campsite with food, music, games, and the dozen bikes on display:
“We want to give back to the people who help keep these small shops and business afloat in a world run by large corporations!”
That very first year, mechanical engineer Christian Newman (@ctnewman), who works out of his home garage, built this stunning 1978 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Turbo, a turbocharged 80 cubic inch hand-shift bike with a staggering array of one-off pieces: hardtail frame, mid controls, triple trees, chain adjusters, exhaust, intake, turbo piping, fuel tank, oil cooler, oil tank, bars, risers, brake mounts, headlight, fender, and more. The fork tubes are GSXR units, the engine was rebuilt with forged internals, and the bike is running 6 psi of boost:
“It’s not insanely fast, but still gets going quick. I’ve ridden it a lot though and it’s very reliable, and once you get the hang of it, pretty easy to ride.”
Fast forward to 2020. When Bear and the Old Bike Barn crew learned that Christian had decided to start his own parts business, they took action:
“We felt compelled to do something special since the bike was a first-year Greasy Dozen build. We commissioned Olivia @pipedreamillustrations to do this sweet illustration of his bike and for the next 30 days, we are selling a limited run of 18×24″ prints with 100% of the proceeds going directly to Christian’s new parts venture!”
Click on the image below to grab your illustrated poster and help support garage-built motorcycles in the USA and beyond!
Below, we get more details about this turbocharged “Harey Davison” (explanation below 🙂 ) and some absolutely stunning shots from photographer Brandon Fischer (@soulofire_).
Turbocharged Shovel: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Christian Newman and I’m a mechanical engineer who builds one-off bikes in my spare time. I’ve been building bikes for about 10 years and this was the second bike I built. I work out of my home shop now, which I built two years ago. I tend to really spend a lot of time on making things function well in a new way.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1978 Harley Shovelhead Turbo.
• Why was this bike built?
This bike was built for the first Greasy Dozen collective. It’s really cool to see what that has grown into over the years!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I try to stay away from letting too many things influence my designs. I usually try to just let my imagination run wild. I also always keep my eyes open for non-motorcycle things that I think are cool, and then try and incorporate them into my builds.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Hardtail frame, mid controls, triple trees, chain adjusters, exhaust, intake, turbo piping, fuel tank, oil cooler, oil tank, bars, risers, brake mounts all were one-off pieces.
Engine was built with forged internals. Transmission was rebuilt.
The wheels are custom builds. It uses GSXR inverted fork tubes. The headlight and fender are one-off, as is the seat suspension system. The shifter arm and knob were custom pieces.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“Harey Davison.” That’s what the 3d printed badge on the tank says. I’ve got a thing for misspellings.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
A bit scary. It’s a turbocharged 80 cu in hand-shift bike with no front brake and no rear suspension. It’s not insanely fast, but still gets going quick. I’ve ridden it a lot though and it’s very reliable, and once you get the hang of it, pretty easy to ride. It’s running 6 psi of boost.
• You’re in the process of starting a new parts business – can you tell us a little about your plans?
A lot of people ask if I’m going to quit my day job. That’s not the case. I’m going to make a few boutique parts that that will fill small needs in the market. Some builder tools, some hub parts, some magneto things. I don’t expect to make a ton of money doing it but it’s exciting and feels good to help people make cool bikes. Most of it will be machined parts, that’s the space I work the best in.
Follow the Builder @ctnewman
Follow the Photographer @soulofire_