January 1, 2009

Harley Shovelhead Motorcycle

Harley Shovelhead as a collector motorcycle? It was not long ago that most Harley collectors viewed the Harley Shovelhead as little more than another cheap, used motorcycle. But things have changed in the last few years and some models of Harley Davidson Shovelhead motorcycles are climbing in value and in desirability.


Harley Shovelhead Engine

As is typical of the Harley Davidson Motor Company, the Shovelhead is basically a new top end grafted onto the Harley Panhead bottom end. The nickname Shovelhead is due to the rocker box looking a bit like a coal shovel design. Harley Shovelhead engines powered Big Twins from 1966 until the introduction of Harley Davidson’s Evolution engine in 1985.

The shovel engine does not have valve covers, as such, but rocker boxes and rocker arms which pivot on shafts. The design gave this Harley engine a very different look from the Harley Panhead it replaced.

Harley Shovelhead Dresser

Harley Shovelhead Dresser

Some believe the Harley Shovelhead design was created for the Harley Sportster. As rumor has it as the popularity of the Panhead declined with Harley riders wanting more power. So The Motor Company basically bolted the new top end design on top of the Panhead engine and – voila – the more powerful Harley Shovelhead. There was some concern about the increased weight of the new model and some steer away from the Shovelhead configuration as they feel it is slower and less powerful than some of the other Harley motorcycle models.

The Harley Davidson Shovelhead was a popular with many police departments and law enforcement agencies. They were also the star of the “Electra-Glide in Blue” feature movie starring Robert Blake as the law enforcement officer who rode the blue Electra-Glide.

Now, more than 40 years after first being introduced, the Harley Shovelhead engine is gaining in popularity among classic motorcycle enthusiasts. And many parts for Harley Shovelhead are still readily available as NOS, used and reproduction, including entire reproduction Shovelhead engines.

Unusual Way To Ride A Custom Harley Shovelhead

Unusual Way To Ride A Custom Harley Shovelhead

Harley Shovelhead motorcycles were avaible in a number of models. These included:

  • Harley Shovelhead FLHFB – Electra Glide Super Sport with foot shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLHB – Electra Glide Super Sport with hand shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLFB – Electra Glide with foot shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLB – Electra Glide with hand shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLHF – Super Sport with foot shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLH – Super Sport with hand shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLPF – Super Sport Police with foot shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FLP – Super Sport Police with hand shift
  • Harley Shovelhead FX – Super Glide
  • Harley Shovelhead FL – Electra Glide
  • Harley Shovelhead FL Police – Electra Glide Police model
  • Harley Shovelhead FXE – Super GLide with electric start
  • Harley Shovelhead FLHS – Electra Glide Sport
  • Harley Shovelhead FXS – Low Rider

Filed under History, Motorcycles by Staff Report

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Comments on Harley Shovelhead Motorcycle

January 1, 2009

2vls @ 1:50 pm

Also the FLT touring model introduced in 1980 with a five-speed trans, fully-enclosed (live forever) drive chain, fairing, bags and twin headlights. According to Cycle World, one of Harley’s best-handling road bikes at that time.


February 5, 2009

jcp66208 @ 12:44 am

As a Shovelhead own I can tell you that they are one of the most reasonably priced colectibles in a HD available today. They can be found in good working order between 5000 and 10000 dollars. Shovelheads sound just a little different than a modern HD. Shovels built in the AMF years have a bad rep they really do not deserve.

February 9, 2009

panman62851 @ 10:29 pm

I purchased my 79 low rider for the piracy laden sum of 2700. The previous owner was convinced he had broke the connecting rods. After replacing the shorted out single fire ign. system with a 34 dollar point set up I have had nothing but go very fast fun with my 80 in shovel. Check my photo album out.