Motorcycle: Hardware - Shovelhead, 1966 - 1984
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:06:22 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Shovelhead, 1966 - 1984
According to Harley lore, 1965 is notable for two things. The first was the unveiling of a new generation of Shovelhead engines, replacing the venerable Pans. Second and ultimately far more momentous was the decision to list the company on the stock market. What no doubt seemed a good idea at the time would ultimately lead to takeover by American Machine and Foundry (AMF).
Popular opinion now says that AMF neglected the company, that it didn't understand motorcycles and that quality went rapidly downhill. Much of this criticism has an element of truth to it but AMF actually sank millions of dollars into its new project and actually tripled annual sales. If Harley had a problem it was probably as much to do with being part of America as being part of AMF for, like many other sectors of American industry, it was overwhelmed by the tidal wave of sophisticated new products pouring in from Japan. As the British motorcycle industry learned to even greater cost, the 1960s and 1970s were no place for leisurely updates of a 1930s design. Put simply, the Shovelhead never had a chance.
First seen on the 1966 ElectraGlide, the Shovelhead followed the usual Harley practice of bolting a new top-end on to the tried-and-tested crankcases developed during the course of the previous generation of engines. There were minor revisions to the right crankcase half and a fin-less timing cover, but the bottom-end was essentially that of a 1965 Panhead, including the external oil feeds reintroduced in 1964. An all-new top-end included aluminium alloy cylinder heads and iron cylinder barrels. Light alloy was also used for the rocker boxes in place of the Panhead's pressed steel. These were derived from the XL Sportster engine and enclosed redesigned rockers and exhaust valves. Although this rendered the Shovel top-end slightly reminiscent of the Sportster range, the latter was a quite separate family of unit-construction engines. Equally striking was the Shovel's "Ham-can" air cleaner cover, mated to a constant velocity Tillotson diaphragm carb from late 1966 onwards. The "Power Pac" head design gave around 60bhp in FLH specification, 5bhp more than an equivalent Panhead. The standard FL developed 54bhp. Observers described the new heads as resembling the backs of coal shovels, hence the nickname. Like all Harley Vs, the ohv engine runs forked con-rods with both cylinders in the same plane to eliminate rocking couple. Primary drive is via chain to a four-speed box (with a sidecar option up to 1980, of three forward and one reverse). The Shovel received its new bottom-end in 1970, in which a crankshaft-mounted alternator replaced the previous generator (and made the engine even wider) -hence "generator" and "alternator" Shovels. The later type, also called "cone motors", are recognized by their cone-shaped, right-side engine cover. The ignition points assembly was moved from its original external position inside the timing case and the timing gears simplified. Originally produced in 74cu in (1,207cc) form. Shovels grew to 80cu in (1,340cc) with the FLH-80 of 1978, when electronic ignition was added. Two years later, the first five-speed gearbox appeared, firstly on the FLT Tour-Glide, and was also the first of Harley's rubber-mounted engines.
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