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Award winning homebuilt Harley Flathead from Fortyfivers Lifetime Member, Stephan.


This is the story of his build .........

"I am Stephan and I live with my wife and daughter close to Hamburg, Germany.

How I make my living? I work as a Project Manager in a medium size machinery factory. My background is actually electronics engineer.

Ever since, I was dreaming of riding a Harley. To me, it seemed something hardly reachable, but in 2015 (at the age of 34) I finally decided to do my motorbike license. My motto was no compromise, i.e. with American Iron. My first bike was a Sportster 48 which had a pretty short stock live. This is how I gained my first experience in customizing a bike.

After a while, I felt I required an upgrade and exchanged it against a Softail Slim. Also this beautiful lady had to shape up a bit into a Bobber. By doing all of this I discovered my real passion for oldschool bikes.

The idea was born to take the challenge and do a complete rebuild of a Flathead. I read a lot and became even more curious but also a little respectful. Luckily enough I found a good basis close to Hamburg area. The seller did hardly drive since oil seemed to be an issue. Well, nothing special in the age of 70+. I thought this will probably be just the start of several challenges to come."

"A dissemble of all parts was essential for me. The frame was sandblasted and powder coated by a local firm. Since I was determined to do as much as possible on my own I decided to do some investments such as a sandblaster, compressor, lathe machine, powder coater and two kitchen ovens. After first trials, the outcome was pretty impressive. Ok, the first compressor had a lack of power and ran all the time. To save my neighbors nerves I had to get another one.

My workstation moved several times from our garden house to garage and finally downstairs to our cave. Quite nice to have a warm working environment, despite the fact that overcoming the stairs can be complicated and only manageable with help.

The rims were crappy and needed to be exchanged. Lacing and truing the new wheels was a pain. The transmission was completely rebuild and cleaned.

The motor was refurbished with new pistons, heats precisely milled and cylinder honed. Now I started to re-build first parts.

Some did not really fit, so I refined and eventually started to do tailor made parts. Often enough, specific items took few trials to satisfy my expectation. Scratching the tanks to get rid off the old colour was a big task. After sealing I decided to invest in a professional paint job.

The saddle stems from Jimi (Spirit Leather). However, also here the connecting part was tailor made. The Fairbanks-Morse Magneto came fresh restored by airmail from the USA.

Just a few enhancements were necessary to achieve a decent ignition spark – and well – the motor started just after the 2nd kick! What a satisfaction."

"The aggregate breathes by the help of a Mikuni carburetor, hence I could make use of a regular throttle cable in combination with KustomTech handlebar controls. For a narrow racing look a handlebar was welded by a specialist.

From first start of the motor to the first test run it took several weeks. Regretfully the first ride taught me that foodclutch and Jockeyshifter require some learning.

The light machine is run by A 12V Generator, low voltage regulator and special battery.

The headlight comes from a dealer, but had to undergo some customizing. I also wanted it to be more nice. The license plate holder on the side was a must and it also produced by me. Think the battery box is one of the cool gadgets that I invented.

The cabling is very much in the original style with visible cotton braided wires along the frame.

Finally the bike was tested and approved by the German TÜV and nothing could stop me from my first official little tour."

"Amazing what can be achieved in a learning by doing process. The whole restoration took me 13 months. It´s a fantastic hobby for my work life balance, luckily my family supports my projects"

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