Good Ol Girl

Article And Photos By: Chris Callen

Originally Published In The March 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Randy Fels is the type of man I had the pleasure growing up around in the western Pennsylvania part of this country. He’s done the same thing for most of his adult life for work, he’s raised a family, and in his off hours, he’s lived his life around a motorcycle. Randy worked on the railroads in this part of the country to make his living, starting as a trackworker early on, then moving up to the shops as a welder for the remainder of his time before retiring. In those early days, he was on the crew that laid the tracks down around the now famous Horseshoe Curve in Altoona. I met Mr. Fels the day we had our bike show at Thunder In The Valley this year, and as soon as I saw him, I knew he was a man with a story, the kind of story I like to bring our readers. It turned out I was right, and I’m thrilled we presented him with our Best Shovelhead Award that day. Randy got his first bike right out of high school, a 650 Bonneville. Although it looks a lot different from when he got it, he spent very little money on it over the years. That’s the thing about being a working man raising a family back then. First, you didn’t have a catalog to buy parts, and second, you didn’t have money to buy them anyway. Randy was raising four kids… three of them were daughters so there was always someone who needed shoes or clothes. Not to mention with three girls, the garage provided a much-needed sanctuary at times, so like many of us, Randy just figured out how to make parts for his bikes.

 

Somewhere along the storyline he wrecked the Triumph and bought a BSA to ride for a bit since it was totaled. About this time, Fels decided that he was in a good enough spot to go ahead a buy one of those new-fangled motorcycles and went into the dealer in Altoona and helped them uncrate his brand new 1976 Superglide, yes the one you see pictured here before you. Of course, it looked a lot different back then, with its rubber strap single tank and narrow front end. He’s proud to say however that to this day there hasn’t been another living being who has put a wrench on this bike but him. Through the years he’s made his changes to the Ol Girl, swapped the tanks to five gallons for a spell when he used to do a lot more traveling. As a matter of fact, he still has the old Liberty Edition Superglide tank packed away from when it was brand new. Before the light ever got to it and turned it green like so many that were victim of UV rays from that time. Although Randy’s riding has slowed considerably now, at 65 he still has no problem taking the Ol Girl on as many shorter rides as he can. It’s so much more than a vehicle or form of transportation after all. This bike has been his best friend over all the time, his riding partner, therapist, a lifetime looking through those bars until finally striking a deal that they wouldn’t try to hurt each other anymore. It is indeed the story of an epic adventure. He and the ‘76 have been coast to coast more times than he can remember, from Canada to Mexico quite a few and the bike probably knows the hills and valleys around Altoona better than he does at this point. There’s a ton of little “Nick Knacks” as he calls ‘em on the tech sheet. Stuff that he’d improve over the idle months, that’s how we say winter here. At the same time, he learned a hell of a lot from owning the bike. Learned to paint, polish, work leather, make seats, even gave engraving a shot and while there may be those out there that might be better at it, this one is his, and there’s nothing better than riding down the road on something you built. Today you can find Randy more often than not spending time with the grandkids. He says that he has a short window of opportunity there since he will never be as important as he is right now to those young boys. Either way, you look at it, the “Good Ol Girl” will be sitting there waiting for whatever time he has to take a spin, just like she always has been.

 

Good Ol’ Girl Tech Sheet

Owner: Randy Fels

City/State: Hastings, PA

Fabrication By: Owner

Year: 1976

Model: FXE

Time: 41 Years

Value: Priceless

ENGINE

Year: 1976

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Owner

Ignition: Points

Displacement: 1200

Pistons: Wiseco

Heads: Harley-Davidson

Carb: Bendix

Cam: Andrews BH

Air Cleaner: Yes

Exhaust: Cycle Shack/Owner

Primary: Harley-Davidson

TRANSMISSION

Year: 1976

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: 1 Down, 3 Up

Frame

Year: 1976

Make: FXE

Builder: Harley-Davidson

Rake: Stock

Front end

Type: Softail

Builder: Harley-Davidson

Triple trees: Harley-Davidson

Extension: Stock

WHEELS

Front Wheel: Harley-Davidson

Size: 16”

Front tire: Dunlop

Front brake: Harley-Davidson

Rear Wheel: Harley-Davidson

Size: 16”

Rear tire: Firestone

Rear brake: Banana H-D

PAINT

Painter: Owner

Color: Black

Graphics:

Powder Coat:

Pinstripe:

Chroming:

ACCESSORIES

Bars: Harley-Davidson

Risers: Harley-Davidson

Hand Controls: Harley-Davidson

Foot controls: Harley-Davidson

Fuel tank: Harley-Davidson

Oil tank: Harley-Davidson

Front Fender: Harley-Davidson

Rear Fender: Harley-Davidson

Seat: Owner

Headlight:

Taillight:

Speedo:

Photographer: Chris Callen