softail conversions

The Archives Page

This page is an entirely gratuitous display of Pre-CCD bikes from Megacycles days and before. Will add to this page when time allows.
Pics not always that great quality; mostly scanned ancient prints.
We only have pics of about half the stuff we did. If you have a bike we built, we'd love to hear from you.


The Shov-UL
When we visited the US for the first time in '88 we went having heard many tales of making good money bringing Harleys back to the UK, so when we got to California, we kept our eyes open for deals only to learn that much better deals were to be found in other states. We didn't see much, but in San Francisco, we visited a shop called ' Hole in the Wall' run by Spade George. There he had an old 'canyon racer' which he would let go for $2000. It was a flathead 80 motor with shovelhead heads & barrels measuring 86 inches in a panhead rigid frame which had been modified for more ground clearance. It had hand change and suicide clutch and was very dilapidated. We bought it and shipped it home paying rather more for the shipping than was the proper going rate. 

By the time it was here I was in the process of winding up Megacycles so the rebuild had to be done in 'reduced circumstances' I dumped the whole front end which was off an early superglide and used a GS1000 one with a 21" wheel. A sporty tank replaced the ugly thing that was on it. Other than that it was chrome & paint (done by Loco). Took a chance on the engine being OK, which surprisingly, it was. Riding it was a learning experience; they don't call them 'suicide' clutches for nothing! Rode it for a while and sold it on. The bloke who bought it also had to learn the clutch quickly - nearly drove it thru a wall first time out!

Oh yeah, 'good money'? we just about broke even...

Loco's Z1100
Here's quite a radical frame we did during the final days at Mega for a Z1100 shaftie. Incorporating the same monoshock setup as on my Blackbird (below).
Old friend Loco (an airbrush genius) made a fine job of this outrageous chop. When Loco moved to LA in the early nineties he took this with him. It proved way too much for the surprisingly conservative Americans; the cops pulled him all the time, and fellow bikers treated it with suspicion.

Loco died in 2013. RIP mate.
The bike is still in LA. Hoping to get some sort of tribute feature done.

The Blackbird

Originally built in 1985 (top pic) when we were 'Megacycles' as a bit of a 'state of our art' kind of thing. We rode fast in those days, so starting with a Z1100 shaft Kawasaki bottom end and a GPZ1100 head, we used a Wiseco 1393cc cylinder block & pistons, smoothbore carbs, special cams etc. we built the frame from chrome moly and devised our own rising rate monoshock suspension using a GPZ shock. This was all cutting edge technology back then. we made the fork tubes out of chrome moly too and machined up our own fork sliders from solid ally (remember, this was before the word 'billet' was in common use) At the rear is our very first solid wheel anodised black with a 'massive' 150 tyre- as big as you could get then. The front wheel is not a Kawasaki one, its a Hagon magnesium wheel originally made for sidecar motocross outfits. 

The finished bike was massively, unbelievably fast; at least back then, it was. These days, of course, you can go and buy a whole range of stock bikes that will easily see it off, including the bike that Honda nicked our name for! (Grrrrr!)

The Blackbird was featured in 'Superbike' magazine in 1986.

Second pic shows it as rebuilt in 2000. Now has a 200 rear wheel, we dumped the sissy bar and the ugly plastic front fender, and bright-chromed the pipes.

Sold it to Carl in 2007

Garys Green  Z1100

One of the last frames done at Megacycles was this swingarm stretched chop for old mate Gary. A shorter than usual shaft stretch, (1.5" as I remember) and more stretch in the front downtubes than was usual then, gives the bike a nice stance.  Still on the road today; now painted purple and with a GPZ motor. Ran a 12 at the Pod.


Porkys XSessive
Another example of the swingarm XS1100 frames I was doing in the mid 80s. Old mate Porky went the extra mile and turbocharged the engine. Was featured in BSH at some stage I think.
Porky is a born salesman and set about sourcing used XS1100s for fellow NCC members to chop. I ended up doing the frames for most of them!

Blue Panhead

Our first Harley. Bought as an abandoned project in 1985. It needed everything doing to it. A bit of a learning experience. Like; just because a part is in a major catalog doesn't mean its going to work! And 6 volt electrics suck!  Eventually sold on to a bloke who was going to buy a Suzuki. Which perhaps wasn't the wisest decision.

Stewarts XS650 Trike

Never ventured into the trike thing much, not really my bag, but have done a few; Stewarts XS being one of them.
A modified standard frame here. I just did the framework.
Later on, we modified it to take a XJ shaftie lump.


During the Megacycles years, I probably did more XS1100s than any other bike. This was a very typical Mega bike built for Bernard Sheil, who's just rebuilt it (2018)

Another XS1100

Another typical Mega bike of the period. Big Jap stretched-shaft hardtails were bread and butter at Megacycles.

Dave Diamonds XS1100

This time with spoke wheels which was accomplished by using GS850 shaft drive parts  & some jiggery pokery.
Dave's in the Bracknell Chopper Club.
This was a complete frame build rather than a modified stocker.

Another XS1100

I built this one for a bloke in the west country. It was a budget job. More so than I realised as I never got fully paid for it!

Yet another XS1100
This was Kevs bike. Done whilst still in Bournemouth.

Pink XS750

Cant remember  exactly how I ended up doing a pink bike. I think it was supposed to have been more lilac or purple. Didn't really take much notice when I picked up the parts from the painters. Suffice to say, it got resprayed black


A very 'stereotypical chopper' built for a customer who asked for just that. Even insisted on it being a 650cc engine, but as he wasn't exactly a mechanic, opted for a Japanese engine.

Pre unit Triumph

I built this one for a guy from Germany. Ended up slightly more radical than he had in mind. Hope he got it registered OK.

Royal Enfield Bullet Chop

I built this at the same time as the above XJ650. The bloke brought us an engine & most of a frame, if I remember right. The amazing thing was that when finished, it started first kick - we never touched the engine- whereas the XJ above took about a week to get running properly.

Jims B33 BSA

These days you'd call it a bobber. In 1986 I'm not sure what we'd have called it. Jims B33, probably. Jim had it kicking about for ages. Unfinished wasn't the word, more like just started. He didn't have time, so gave it to us to finish, Unfortunately, in the years since Jim had started the project, he had -ahem- 'grown' a bit! and the B33 was a bit too small for him. Sold it on after a few months. Wonder where it is now?

650 Triumph bobber

Another in a similar style, although the seat is all wrong. Built it in 1987 for a German customer. Had to make it look plausibly 'original' in terms of its major parts. Frame was made from the castings and sections of 2 or 3 old brit bike frames. Not sure how plausible the Yam forks were though.

The Sorcerer

Another 'milestone' bike for me. And yes that is me sitting there with hair and fledgling beard! My second custom build shown here out the back of Alf Hagon's old premises where I worked for a few years. 

Quite a lot of the parts for this bike were made here when Alf wasn't looking, or when he was away on holiday! 

Based on a plunger BSA A10 engine with many mods, it was a light and quick bike.

 The T45 frame was my first full frame build, with help from the other Hagon guys, and Alf himself who loaned me an oxy-acetylene welding set.

Forks were a combination of Betor yokes & legs with CB500 sliders. Headlight came off an Indian. Pretty much everything else was one-off.

 This must have been 1978. Bike was my only transport for 3 years, and took me to the south of France twice. Seen here before the sidepanels came back from chroming.

In the winter of '79 the timing side main bearing seized solid. So a conversion to end-feed oiling became a complete rebuild. Motor was taken out to 750 via a Norton crank and a bigger-than-is-wise overbore. Made a one off cast timing cover.
This is the only shot of this incarnation. Much longer front-end made from scratch, frame is a couple inches longer, bigger sissy bar. AP front brakes (which were TOO good; locked up easily!)
This version of the bike was a bit of a disapointment. I'd used W&S valve springs which shagged the cam out in short order. An attempt to improve oil tightness in the feed lines ended up cracking the case slightly which meant much worse leaks. Duh!
Tank was a modified Bantam one and Loco did a brilliant paint job with a pic of a monstrous dragion. Bike now renamed the 'Wurm' Unfortunately after leaving it parked under a tree, sap got to the paintwork & ruined it. Tank ended up on the CB500 chop below.
After I got the GS850 on the road in '81 it sat in bits until '85....

This is the same bike in 1986

Now with a 21" on the front and shorter Marzocchi forks. Original tank back in place. And stock valve springs!
Featured in BSH in 1986 sometime, it made the front cover along with Jims (see above) Missus, Di. Sold it twice after that, kept coming home!

DVLA website shows it to be currently registered still.
Click the pic for more detailed images.

GPZ1100 Kawasaki

Built this one in early 1985 using up a stockpile of odd parts and a GPZ motor from a crashed bike. Shaft drive parts interchange on Kwaks so Z1000ST drive parts went on. 

The first bike I'd owned with a flame job, It caught fire from a fuel leak at Santa Pod. Fortunately there are a lot of folks with fire extinguishers at the Pod, so damage was minimal. Swore that I'd never have another flame paint job! 

The sale of this bike helped finance the startup of Megacycles.

Gerry's GS1000 shaft.

Another swingarm shaftie in the same vein as the Z1100 below. 

Done whilst still in Bournemouth, I seem to remember doing Gerry's frame in exchange for his doing some house painting that I was keen to get out of!

Gerry, a good friend, passed away in 1994. RIP ol' buddy.

Z1100 Kawasaki

My first suspension chop. Built from yet another crashed bike in 1984 as a 'tryout' of some of the ideas for the Blackbird (above). 

The bike was a revelation. A real fun ride; the torquey Z1100 motor made for an effortless ride and the suspension did what it was supposed to. 

White GS850. The Enterprise.

OK so I ain't David Bailey. I've no idea why I thought It'd be a good idea to photograph the bike at night. I bought a crashed GS850 from a friend in Cheltenham in 1983 and built this bike out of it. Hardtailed and stretched stock frame, stretched shaft drive, 4 over frontend, pearl white paint. I gotta admit, I liked this bike. Featured in BSH no. 4. 
Steve Myatt himself came down to do the feature, and because he used a dictaphone to take the details, succeeded in spelling EVERYONE'S name wrong in the feature!
The week before I was gonna sell it, I took a wrong turn on a foggy road and ended up driving across a building site and hit a sewage fitment which destroyed the rear wheel and did other minor damage. I fitted another wheel and straightened things up and offered Colin from the local Chopper club 200 off. He happily bought it and turned it into a trike.

Ramptons Yam

Rampton, (AKA Loco) was keen to get a big yam shaftie on the road and bought a damaged one as the basis for this chop. 

We did the frame mods in his garage as I was 'between' facilities at the time (about 1982) I also modded the CX500 Custom tank & did the side panels. 
Grundle- who pretty much pioneered the whole stretch shaft thing- did the shaft, the fork tubes and the yokes. Loco did the rest. 

Still on the road today after a couple of changes of owner and is now black.

Blue GS850

Lousy pic.  My first Jap chop built in 1981 as a black rat. Seen here prettied up in 1983 just before I sold it. The first bike built post - Hagons. I really missed proper facilities. My first short-lived attempt at a custom bike business was around this time; Custom Fabrications in Dagenham. Don't remember it? No surprise, only lasted 3 months- until we had to pay the second quarters rent! No money, no vehicle, except this bike! When I needed to re-fill the portapack oxy-acetylene cylinders, I would strap the cylinder to the sissy bar and ride down to the BOC depot.

Garys GS chop

Started out as a GS750; Gary & I did the framework on this in about 1980 and it was soon on the road.
It still is today albeit a bit changed.
It now has an 1100cc motor and a different tank & pipes.
Still recognisable as the same bike though.

CB500 Honda

Between Hagons and the above mentioned Custom Fabrications I did a spot of despatch riding on a stock CB500. After 6 months or so the Honda was shagged, effectively worthless. 

The only thing to do with it was to chop it. The engine was still sound, I hardtailed and top-tubed the stock frame. Turned out quite a neat bike.

'Starchaser' - ground zero!

It doesn't go back any further than this folks; my first chop- finished in 1975. 15" over springers and more filler on the frame than on a 20 year old Ford.  

Must have been chuffed with my efforts, if the silly grin is any indication. It got me to the '75 IOM TT, but not quite back again! After a bit of a re-do It took me to Germany with the NCC in '76, AND got me home! 

Then a couple months later the crank broke. Ho Hum.