Lowbrow Spotlight: Sam Long's 1969 Harley-Davidson FLH Slabside Shovelhead

General: Owner:Sam Long Year/Make/Model: 1969 Harley FLH Bike name: Swingdingin’ Mr. Beef

Fabrication: Tanks, sissy bar, rear fender, oil bag mounts, stainless moldings shifter, clutch pedal, brackets here and there, swing arm mount relocation. Swing arm Mounted fender. If I made it, it’s probably stainless steel. Build Time: 1 ½ ish years.

Engine: Year/Type/Size: 69 genny shovel with S&S 84” stroker kit. Carburetor: Super E Exhaust: 2 into 1 with an up sweep fishtail. Air Cleaner: Cast Bird deflector, I forget the name of them but I’ve only seen them twice before.

Frame: Year/Type:  69, FLH Swinger Rake/Stretch: stock frame

Front End: Type / Brand: Harley wide glide. Not sure the length. The lowers are modified and shaved softail lowers.

Wheels: Front Size: 21" Rear Size: 16"

Finish/Paint: Paint by: Bonedaddy with the help of Big Al over at Karls Kustoms Paints. Paint inspired by an old Schwinn bike I have. Plating/Polishing: I did the polishing. Kept it all a dull shine in the stainless. Powdercoating: N/A

Front Fender: Nope
Rear Fender: Narrowed Trailer Fender. Moulded with stainless at the tip and around the chain cut out.
Gas Tank: Split Mustang Tanks. Got these from Todd Asin. I think they are from the 50s. They were pretty nasty inside.
Handlebars: Ebay Bars. Said they were a stock Harley bar of some sort but they are stainless.
Grips: Cool guy chrome and Black.
Mirrors: Cycle Standard Rectangular Mirror.
Hand Controls: Chopper.
Foot Controls: Stock brake. Stainless Clutch pedal that Andy Carter at Pangea let me copy.
Headlight: Cycle Standard Unity Style Headlight, with added high/low switch.
Taillight: Webster Chicago microphone with LED Cluster from The Light Asylum.
Turn Signals: My skinny arms.
License Mount: Nothing special, whipped it out during lunch cause I wanted to ride that day.
Seat: Old Gold swing arm shovel seat that I shortened. Adam over at Pierce Street Seats knocked out the rad new cover for it.

Custom & Special Details or Accessories: Stainless moulding on front down tubes, on the frame around the oil bag, fender tip and chain cut out, and the bottom of the swing arm. I mounted the swing arm shock mounts to inside the arm itself to lower it with out having short shocks. Knuckle style oil bag. This required me to make a new mount on the seat tube to have it sit nicer. Doing this creates a space in the frame that looks ugly so I added some moulding to match the angle of the top of the oil bag to keep it tight. If I made something Its out of stainless. Mostly because I hate rust and I don’t want to deal with chrome.

The Story: I found the bike as a runner not far from where I was living. I was in the market for a shovelhead. I was only looking at cones, but this one came up for not much more. I checked out the bike with my good bud who is responsible for getting me into choppers. It had the S&S jugs and oil pump. Motor was clean and Looked like it had been taken care of. I brought the cash and we took it home after a couple push start attempts. 

It’s my first big twin and vintage big twin.  I’d call it 90s tough guy styled at the time. I was going to just change a few things and ride it. That never lasts, especially after an electrical gremlin was lingering. I ended up taking it apart. I had a rigid frame sitting around but decided to take the challenge of making a rad swing arm. I figured everyone hardtails their bike so why not try something a little different. I wanted a sissy bar so I had to mount the fender to the swing arm. My shop is my parents’ garage. I have don’t have anything to fancy just a Welder, grinders, drill press, mini lathe that I don’t know how to use very well, and hand tools.  The tanks on there were the result of failing to narrow some 5 gallon tanks. I threw a magneto on to avoid electrical problems.

Little did I know I had a 84” stroker. So there was a learning curve. Sometimes it’s a 30 kick bike and sometimes its 1. Also, never try to kick the kicker without the pedal. You will break your tibia. I used stainless moulding just to make it a little fancier. Molded the frame. I was going for showy, but not too showy. The shifter handle is my favorite part of the bike. That was also a second attempt. It took me 2 weeks to figure it out and make it. There are 7 pieces all welded together. And polished up. The bend on the arm was tricky. I just heated it up and bent it in a vise. The sissy bar is made of flat bar and 2 rods welded to each side. That created the theme of wrapping the outside of a part with a rod.

I wanted to get my buddies involved in the paint so Eric and Alec took care of all that for me and killed it, thanks guys! Over all I think it’s rad to ride an old hand built machine down the road, I’m always smiling on it, even after it took 30 kicks when it’s hot out to start. I would like to thank my fiancé, Tina for putting up with me building and painting it. She encouraged me through my most aggravating experiences of the build. Thanks to my parents for the shop space in the garage. Jimmy for shaving my legs, Andrew for picking up the bike with me and helping with various things. Alec for the photos and the helping hands. KARLS Kustom paint for the paint. Instagram for the inspirations, miller lite and wild Turkey for the liquid encouragement. Anyone and everyone else that was involved or has said nice things. And thanks to Lowbrow for the feature! Stay rad, ya dangus!

Words by: Sam Long Photos by: Alec Ozawa

6 thoughts on “Lowbrow Spotlight: Sam Long's 1969 Harley-Davidson FLH Slabside Shovelhead”

  • Yeah the HD's are good, but loves me some Triumphs. Old, new, the 1880's model bicycles. As long as it's a Triumph. More older HD's side valves, Knucks,Pans and Shovels. Not so much of those block heads or evos. Everyone has those!

  • Please pass this on.This comment goes out to Sam Long. I teally like your bike I really like the rear fender/attached sissybar setup. Does the seat pan have a flexible material? I notice it is bolted to both the frame and the fender. Any other pictures? Is the setup useful for a passenger?

  • great write up, thanks.
    just beginning to plan a build on a rubber mount sportster, looking at everything for inspiration.
    glad you guys are out there. keep it up!

  • I have the same comment/question as Steve. I read the whole thread looking for an answer. I have seen similar seat set ups where the shocks are replaced with solid struts. I have seen fender/sissy bar/swing arm set ups with solo seats. How'd you do it Sam?

  • From the comedy aspect us here in Milwaukee always get a kick out your pet names for shovels, pan shovels, slabsides, etc. Harley started the shovelhead in 1966 and guess what it was called? The Shovelhead, nothing funnier than a guy explaining these names and the look on their face when you say oh you mean a shovelhead.

  • Steve and Dennis, Thanks for noticing the set up. some people dont realize. The seat is a shortened seat by Old Gold Garage. its used on a stock fender setup. theres no hinge. I figured it isnt going to flex all that much under the swing arm. The fender is mounted to the swingarm with some tabs, and then up to the sissy bar. so the swing arm, sissy bar, and fender all swing. the seat just sits on top. Its really simple, not much trickery. I was inspired by Jason Ochoa's shovelhead. Same setup. I havent had any passengers but he said he has and its fine. I also lowered my shock mount so the suspension geometry is a bit off.

Leave a Reply