The Bobbed-Out Harley Dresser | Motorcycle Reviews, Forums, and News

By Charley Charles photos by Siwer Ohlsson
We shot this bike nine years ago, but since it looks totally different today, we don’t mind showing it again. It’s hard to believe that Conny Johns’ bulky bobber once was a normal 1982 Super Glide FXE.

The first time we went to the Finnish archipelago of Åland in the middle of the Baltic Sea to photograph Johns’ Shovelhead was in 2008. Back then, Johns told us he considered the fat silver-and-blue bike completely finished. It was perfect, and he would never ever change anything. So what happened?

“What happened was I had two oxide batteries in a row catch fire. I was so pissed off I went and bought a stock Harley-Davidson battery. But it was slightly bigger so I would have to fabricate a new oil tank. That meant my exhaust system wouldn’t fit anymore so I had to make a new pair of pipes, and by then the whole process just started getting out of hand,” Johns says.

So even though the guy had started building a Sportster custom just to keep his eager hands off the Shovelhead, the Big Twin was torn to pieces. The Sporty was a real treat, too, with leaf spring rear suspension instead of the usual shocks.

Like many of his fellow Ålanders, Johns works in the tourism business during summer and, among other things, runs a paintball ranch. When vacations are over and all the tourists have gone home, he works in his own little shop where he mainly installs sound systems in cars and boats. His workshop is a chaos of stereo stuff and bike parts.

“I’m collecting parts for my next project, which I think will be an interesting mix of Husqvarna, Indian Scout, and BSA! But I’m going really slowly with that bike. I want everything perfect right from the start and think everything through several times before making a move.”

But Johns hasn’t always preferred old V-twins. At 16 he rode a Yamaha TZR 125— until a car pulled out right in front of him. Johns swerved and almost avoided the crash, but his right leg took the entire force of the collision and was pretty much turned to mush.

“The doctors almost had to amputate, but after six operations and four years of hopping around on crutches I could walk again, even though one leg is an inch shorter than the other and full of metal junk. I thought I’d better get a slow old Harley barge if I wanted to survive.”

Johns bought a 1982 FXE Super Glide, the E meaning it was an electric-start model. A kicker was out of the picture because of his bum right leg. He changed the rear suspension into a kind of upside-down version of Harley’s Softail.

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About Craig Ballantyne 18632 Articles
I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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