Bike Reviews.

Phatt Bits

Words & Photos by Stonefeather

The unmistakable rumble of a V-Twin Harley Davidson off in the distance echoed up the sleeping northeast Tasmanian valley. It was shortly after dawn, and a light, soft white mist hung lazily across the road in the corners alongside the Ringarooma River, near Derby, as the punch of the approaching H-D grew louder and louder.

Then as if on que from a Hollywood movie director the glow of the large round headlight pierced the fog and this vivid black Fatboy-Lo majestically appeared against a natural white backdrop. It could have easily been a scene from a late fifties film, however it was, in fact, autumn 2010.

Moments later it rolled by, affording a brief profile glance, as the rider bowed his head in acknowledgement as he passed. Then before it disappeared around the next bend I caught a glimpse of the rear and instantly the custom number plate "PHATT" caught my eye.

How appropriate I thought. A quick search on Google a few days later revealed that PHATT basically means, even cooler then cool, or pretty hot and being wide ass-ed.
Not too far up the road, I spotted the bike and rider at a quaint little coffee shop. It was an opportunity that couldn't be passed by, needless to say I stopped and introduced myself.
Even though this 2010 Fatboy-Lo was only a few months old, at the time of writing, it already had a tad over 4000 kilometres on clock. The owner of this cool dark Fatboy-Lo is a local guy, Shanksie, who is quick to admit that the real Tasmanians still call him a "mainlander", because he only shifted down from Queensland a few years back. Understandably one of the deciding factors to relocate was the great motorbike riding the island state provides.
Shanksie was adamant about two things when he started specking up his new ride, first it had to look cool, and second it had to be practical enough for the odd tour or two. Although, he admitted he'd almost settled on a Crossbones when by chance one night he was checking out accessories on Harley's website and spotted some information on the impending release of the new Fatboy-Lo.
It was definitely love at first sight, is probably the best way to describe his initial reaction to the impending release of the new 2010 Fatboy-Lo and he reckons he spent the rest of the night wading through Harley's website making a wish list.
The next morning, he called Chris Travers at Richardson's Harley Davidson (RHD) in Launceston to see when they'd be available. "I've got one coming in about eight weeks," Chris said. "Should I stick your name next to it?"

"Yeah you'd better," Shanskie recalled.

Over the next few weeks, with the help of RHD's Mark Proietti and Ben Grunfeld, the pieces literally came together bit by bit.
"I had spotted a picture of the black denim model on the H-D website with a few extras and it was basically what I after," Shanksie explained. "The all black look appealed to me as I really wanted something that would be bit easier to clean while touring compared to a fully chromed version."

"One thing we see all the time here in Tassie is where blokes come down here for a two week tour of the island and end up spending a week of that keeping their bike clean. That's not for me. When I hit the road touring I want to spend it touring not polishing."
So having settled on the black theme, it was matter of ensuring that all the bits would work together and Shanksie reckoned that's where Mark and Ben from RH-D played a big roll, their knowledge of Harley Davidson's accessories and what would or wouldn't work was invaluable.
Because the bike would spend a bit of time up in tropics, Shanskie decided an oil cooler would help keep the big 96-inch cube V-twin running sweet.

He also specified the front bullet spoiler. However mounting the oil cooler could be a problem according to the 2010 accessory catalogue. Not so, RHD's head technician Matt Curtis, said he'd make up a custom bracket and finished off the installation with some neat braided hoses. Just goes to show that you don't necessarily have to believe everything you read in books.
"One thing which appealed to me about the H-D oil cooler is it features a unique "Turbulator" system that evenly distributes oil across the cooling chambers," Shanksie explained passionately. "Basically how it works, is there are a series of small tubes inside the main tube which disperse and mix the oil up as it travels the length of each cooling tube meaning that cooler oil is not allowed to remain along the walls of the oil cooler as it does in conventional oil coolers."
Another little extra that's hidden away, is the tailored Snap-on tool kit which fits neatly into the teardrop-shaped toolbox that's located on the left hand side of the bike.

The list of cool bits on this Fatboy-Lo is rather extensive, and one of the first things that stand out is the Street Slammer handlebars, with the Tribal grips and mirrors that are complimented with black levers and smoke turn signal lens. The original cables have been replaced with black diamond cables. Meantime a set of detachable mounts for a windscreen were fitted to the triple trees.
Further down the front end, are the black fork sliders and classic black brake rotors. Although not obvious at first glance, it is fitted with the low profile front that lowers it almost 50mm (2-inches). Gloss black axle nut covers and chrome spacers finished off the front end.
Around the engine, there's the black finned timing and derby covers and the addition of the black finned head-bolt covers really neaten the left side of the engine. The standard pedals have been replaced with a black billet brake lever with a Tribal pad to match the handgrips and mirrors. There also is a billet heel/toe shift pedal again with Tribal pads that is connected to a black slotted gearshift linkage. All the standard bolts were replaced with chrome cap screws.
The standard silver console has been replaced with a gloss black console and flush mounted fuel caps with an LED gauge all add a touch of class to the fuel tank.

The rear end also received a work-over with detachable mounting brackets for a sissy bar and saddlebags. The standard licence plate mount was replaced with the chrome lay back licence holder. A smoked LED taillight compliments the smoked indicator lens. Again a classic black brake rotor was fitted along with black axle nut covers and chrome spacers to the rear wheel.
Performance wise Matt fitted a Screamin' Eagle "Ventilator" air cleaner and hooked up a Screamin' Eagle Pro Super tuner then got the 96-inch V-twin cracking with a stage-1 race tune.

The only non-genuine H-D item on this Fatboy-Lo is the black Vance & Hines big radius exhausts pipes. While they're great looking pipes, Shanksie admits there functional as well. He believed the standard H-D pipes would be uncomfortable for a pillion passenger, because the rear cylinder's pipe is above the pillion footrest.

Shanksie summed up his PHATT ride as an example of what can be achieved on a limited budget while still succeeding in building a clean custom H-D without going over the top. It is a rideable as a stocker but it has an individual style that makes it stand out on the road as much as full blown radical chopper.

He also admits that without the help of Ben, Chris, Mark, Matt and Simon from Richardson's Harley Davidson in Launceston this Fatboy-Lo along with all its' "PHATT" bits couldn't have come together to be such a great ride.

August 14, 2011