Shaw Speed ‘Flatliner’
When I think of a custom Heritage Softail, I think of a bike that has lost its way. You know the type: big bars, pointy grips and flames on the tank. But Steve Willis sees what he calls “the beauty trapped within”. Willis runs the spectacularly successful UK workshop Shaw Speed & Custom, and this is their latest build—called Flatliner. It started as a “rather tired” 2006 fuel-injected 1450cc Heritage Softail, a donor bike from a customer.
According to Willis, “The influences were 1930s and 1940s with a modern twist, using different materials and some anodizing.” After stripping the entire bike down, the engine was rebuilt with a 1550cc kit. Roland Sands Design covers were used, anodized silver for a more retro look. The air breather uses an RSD back plate and a brass marine drain cover—fabricated to match the Italian grips and pegs from Chops 76.
The rims are original Harley items, but from other bikes. Chosen for their clean profile, they were re-machined to take brass nipples, and respoked around a machined and painted hub. The hub is detailed with the colors of the cycling World Championship rainbow jersey, to signify Shaw’s past and present (and hopefully future) championship wins.
Far too much work has gone into this bike to be fully detailed here. But highlights are the rear fender, made in-house, and the leaf-sprung handcrafted single seat. The tank is from a 2011-model Harley XL1200, customized to add to the pre-War vibe.
SS&C’s own bars are wrapped with Performance Machine controls. A handmade number board hides a digital speedo, and emphasizes the offset front headlight. At the back, the brake assembly was relocated to sit sprocket-side, and the whole wiring system was overhauled and lightened.
The result is a completely new take on the bloated Heritage Softail, and possibly another show-winner for Shaw Speed & Custom. If you like this machine, you’ll like their earlier work too: check out the XLST3 Sportster and the Nascafe Racer Softail.
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