Bottom Feeder

Article and Photos By: Missi Shoemaker

Originally Published In The February 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Chris LeDuc’s custom Shovelhead during Sturgis Bike Week 2019, Sturgis SD © Melissa Shoemaker 2019

Chris Le Duc started riding about eight years ago, when a friend of his met builder Nick Pensabene of MadPen Cycles and fell in love with motorcycles. That love affair began a trickledown effect and it wasn’t long before Le Duc had his first bike, a Harley-Davidson Sportster. After a few years Le Duc decided it was time to build a custom of his own. Chris picked up this 1976 Shovelhead as a roller in 2013 from his mom’s friend. He had seen it sitting in the back of the garage for quite some time and finally asked if he could buy it. A deal was struck, and Chris found himself the proud new owner of the ‘76. He thought the Shovelhead engine represented what an old Harley was, and he knew he needed it.

Chris LeDuc’s custom Shovelhead during Sturgis Bike Week 2019, Sturgis SD © Melissa Shoemaker 2019
Chris LeDuc’s custom Shovelhead during Sturgis Bike Week 2019, Sturgis SD © Melissa Shoemaker 2019

The Shovelhead came to him as ratty bike that didn’t run, built on a Paughco frame. He brought it home and immediately tore into it. Not knowing anything about building or restoring bikes he found that he was left with a pile of parts. Around the same time, Nick had just picked up an old Ironhead, so he transferred his pile of parts to his dad’s garage. Pensabene brought his project over and they began building their bikes together. The bike itself has gone through several transformations in the six years that Chris has owned it. At one time the Shovel sported a springer front end, and it has had several different paint jobs.

Chris LeDuc’s custom Shovelhead during Sturgis Bike Week 2019, Sturgis SD © Melissa Shoemaker 2019

Le Duc now works in HVAC but has always had a job where he worked with his hands. Chris was eager to fabricate and make his own parts and so he learned how to weld. He acquired a lathe, although I am not sure I am supposed repeat the story of where it came from, let’s just say he went dumpster diving to get it after it was actually thrown out…he and his friends were given the heads up in advance that is was going in the dumpster. With some coaching from a few friends, including Matt Paris and Mike Hendricks of YardRatzFab, he started working with the lathe. Chris started out by learning how to make handlebars and sissy bars and now makes other parts in his shop that he shares with a couple of buddies. They  just do it as a hobby, in their spare time, making parts for each other and their friends.

Chris LeDuc’s custom Shovelhead during Sturgis Bike Week 2019, Sturgis SD © Melissa Shoemaker 2019

Chris’ Shovelhead, in its current state, was finished in April of 2019 and has many of his own custom parts on it. The handlebars, mids, passenger pegs, top motor mount, taillight, exhaust, seat pan and sissy bar were all fabricated in house. He reworked the Paughco frame, changing the backbone and replacing the front gusset for a cleaner look, and also narrowed the tank. The engine and trans were sent out to Gary The Dutchman who upgraded it to 84ci. The current paint job was done by John Vorrhest of Huntington, NY, and powder coating by Jason at On-Point Powder Coating. The seat was done by Counterbalance Cycles. Having a full-time job, this  bike is a labor of love, putting in long nights after work and lots of weekends. As it sits right now, he is pretty happy with it, and he says this is one bike he will never let go. You can keep up with Chris and his fabrication on his Instagram @LeDucweld. Heck maybe you’ll even score some bitchin parts from this home builder! I know we are looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next!

Chris LeDuc’s custom Shovelhead during Sturgis Bike Week 2019, Sturgis SD © Melissa Shoemaker 2019

BOTTOM FEEDER TECH SHEET

Owner: Christopher Le Duc

City/State: Long Island New York

Builder: Christopher Le Duc

Year: 1976

Model: H-D Shovelhead

Value: 100 bucks

Time: 1 Year

ENGINE

Year: 1976

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Garret TerHaar “The Ducthman”

Ignition: Dyna S Electronic

Displacement: 84 inch

Pistons:

Heads: Stock

Carb: S&S Super E

Cam:

Air Cleaner: Velocity Stack

Exhaust: One Off

Primary: BDL 1 1/2 inch Belt Drive

TRANSMISSION

Year: 1976

Make: Harley-Davidson 4 speed

Shifting: 1 Down 3 Up

FRAME

Year:

Model: Paughco

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock

Forks

Builder: Harley Davidson

Type: Stock

Triple Trees: Mullins Supper Narrow

Extension: None

WHEELS

Front Wheel:

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon MH90 21 56H

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel:

Size: 16”

Tire: Dunlop MT90B16 74H

Rear Brake: Harley Davidson Softail

PAINT

Painter: John Voorhest

Color: Teal/White/Gold

Type: Custom

Graphics: Free Hand

Chroming: N/A

ACCESSORIES

Bars: One off Tee bars

Risers: N/A

Hand Controls:

Foot Controls: One off mid controls

Gas Tank(s): Alien Tank Narrowed

Oil Tank: Acme

Front fender: N/A

Rear Fender: Gas box 16 inch

Seat: Counterbalance Cycles(Wes)

Headlight: Led

Tail light: One Off 1 1/4 LED

Speedo: None

Photographer: Missi Shoemaker

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