Andy and A shovel's tale

Story: Andy Schenck

Images: Mark V

The story of this bike starts approximately five years ago. I’ve owned many bikes over the years, but I always wanted to find a shovelhead that I could rebuild and make my own. I started scouring the ads on several sites to try to find the bike I wanted to build.

Then one day I saw an ad for a 1977 FXE up in Lake Hopatcong NJ and gave the guy a call. This was as close to a barn find that I was going to get. The bike was stuffed in a shed on the back of the man’s property. He made claims that the bike had been rebuilt four years ago and had low mileage but I took that all with a grain of salt considering the condition it was in when I first saw it. We rolled it out of the shed and up onto the street and started to see if we could get it to turn over. After putting a battery charge on it and playing with the carburetor we finally got it to turn over, and I was able to actually ride it up and down the street. It obviously had its issues, and I knew I would have to address them eventually.

This guy and I went back-and-forth on the price and came to an agreement. A number I could live with knowing that I would probably have to rebuild it again. Since the bike was in a shed and I didn’t trust it to ride home I went up with my trailer and brought it back to Long Island.

so It Begins..

Now it was time to stand back and think about what I wanted to do to the bike to make it my own. I went with more of a resto mod than just the restoration of the bike as it sat. Now it was time to find someone that I could trust to help me with the build. I had known a mechanic that was working in the area for quite some time and heard he had made the move to a local shop in Mineola. I went to go see him and as it turned out he was on his way out to start his own thing. I was so impressed with the shop and the men that ran it I decided to stay with them and see what we could do. Hans, Curt, and Billy ran the shop and each specialized on different parts of the build. Hans was the paint guy; Curt has a machine shop there and took care of the engine work and Billy specialized in all the electronics and wiring.

I decided that I wanted a special color and I wanted to black out the bike as much as possible. I always loved root beer brown and wanted to go with that color on this bike. Hans started mixing different variations on that color and came up with a totally custom root beer brown over a black pearl that I fell in love with.

Once we started pulling the bike apart, we realized how much of a project this was going to be. There had been a family of mice living in between the gas tanks that we had to clean out first and as we started looking at the engine, we realized that it would have to be a complete tear down and rebuild. So started a year and a half project to get the bike to where I wanted it. I started adding some custom parts to the bike like the handlebars, headlight, tail lights and seat. The tanks in front fender are original. The rear fender originally came as an original split fender, but I replaced that with a single piece fender. We completely tore down the engine and rebuilt it from the ground up as well as the transmission. I wanted to make everything other than the tins black, but Hans and I went back and forth with it and he convinced me to keep some chrome accents to offset the black. He also incorporated his custom Harley Davidson logo on the tanks instead of putting the badges back on.

After a few more obstacles such as finding a period Correct front brake caliper, we were able to finish Powder coating all the parts I wanted black and keeping the chrome accent parts down to a minimum but with enough contrast to make me happy and keep Hans from bitching at me. Now the time had come to put it all together. I decided to go with straight pipes for the exhaust which gives the bike that signature Shovelhead sound at an idle.

Needless to say, when it all came together, I was more than stoked about the finished bike and couldn’t wait to go for its maiden ride. The bike runs great, sounds great and ended up having just the look I wanted. Give the guys at Second Street cycle a call if you’re in the market for a custom build or repairs on your current ride (516) 315-1841. This bike is just what I was looking for and I plan on riding it for many years to come.

I have know Andy for many years, watched him become a grandfather, love his beautiful wife Ann, who also rides and is a great family man, as it should be! 

It’s always great when you can have a friend share their story with the world.  Enjoy the ride Andy and keep the rubber on the road -RC


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