Published In The March 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article By: Roadside Marty Photos By: Darren McKeag
How many of you remember the first time or even any time that you visited a tattoo shop and saw at least one, but usually a few bikes lined up in either the employees or customers’ parking areas? Chances are when you walked in your artist was riding one of the sleds out front or he was building one at home.
Joe DelBuono is no different. You see, Joe earns his paper at none other than Willie’s Tropical Tattoo; yeah that Tropical Tattoo. The Tropical Tattoo where everyone wants to make sure they make the Choppertime bike show at Daytona Bike Week. At this shop almost everyone rides.
Joe had wanted to build a Shovel since he moved to the Daytona area in ’03. This particular build actually got going in the summer of ’08. Willie had heard about a Shovel that a brother named Tank told him about. After a few weeks went by, Joe ran into Tank who asked if he still wanted to go take a look. When they arrived, the guy had a whole bike — minus the transmission. It had been pieced together with an S&S motor that had a Super E which had never been installed. Since the guy had lost his job the “bike” had to go. Tank said he wanted the roller so Joe got the rest. As they were leaving, Joe spotted a set of short stainless shotgun pipes with turn outs that the guy also had. After working out a deal to tattoo the man’s daughter, they landed in the truck as well.
Around this time, Joe and his family went through a move that brought them closer to town, so the Shovel sat idle for a few months. The next piece came from e-Bay when Joe came across a Krafttech frame for sale with stock dimensions, but had the 1 1/4” tubing. Bob Mendoza at Chopper’s World in California had bought 20 of the frames and after selling a few at the swaps, he had 5 left. Five hundred and seventy-five dollars later, it was delivered right to the tattoo shop’s front door!
Joe’s wife suggested it might look good in red. Being a smart man, Joe had Will from Palm Coast Auto Body lay down a beautiful dark black cherry. The paint looks black until that sweet Florida sunshine hits it.
Now that Joe was making some progress, it was time to move it all over to Trailer Trash Choppers. Trailer Trash is a motorcycle hobby shop for Joe, Shaun and Marcus to build bikes, talk shit and drink beer with their friends while occasionally helping some out-of-town brothers fix their rides.
Destination Daytona has a swap meet that happens every 2nd Sunday of the month. Here, Joe was able to score a set of almost new Metzeler Marathons that he put on a set of Road King wheels picked up from the same swap a few months before. Hey, a good deal is a good deal no matter when it happens! The nice thick spokes on the late model wheels fit perfectly with the fat tubing on the frame. Marcus then came up with some tubes and lowers from his huge selection o f parts, and Shaun tossed him a nice set of 41mm triple trees. The frontend was done and mounted to the frame, and the roller was rolled up on the lift. Joe set the Shovel motor in just to get a visual of how the direction of the build was going.
After a few cold beers, he noticed a bit of base gasket sticking out from the cylinder that just didn’t look right. Knowing very little about the life of the motor or its history, Joe figured he better take it down and see what was going on. The more parts they took off, the worse it got. The piston in the front cylinder had the entire top skirt blown completely off and was hanging loose on the rod. The rings in the rear were completely destroyed, and during this fiasco, Joe realized the cylinders didn’t have the S&S logo on them. He thought that was a strange thing especially after they realized the imitation cylinders were .075 too short which didn’t allow the motor to reach its full stroke. Believe it or not, the one good thing about this was that the lower end was tight. After looking at yet another delay, Joe took the top end to Gary’s Universal Machine in Deland, FL. Gary is the go-to guy for everything from Panheads to Evos. After hearing the dilemma, Gary bored the cylinders to 40 over. Then, with a set of stroker plates from Cometic, some new pistons and rings, a valve job, seats and guides and the springs set for the new cam, the Shovel was ready to go back together!
Back at the shop, another great brother named Nuno rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Joe said he’s never seen a motor go back together so smoothly and perfectly as this one. Now that the motor was finished, Joe put a factory 5 speed that came out of his ‘98 Fat Boy into place along with a Dyna ignition that he had picked up. This baby was almost ready to fire up, but he still needed the sheet metal. This was around the time the Shovel earned the nickname “Lil’ Bitch” due to all the speed bumps they had hit during the build. Willie stepped up and said that he still had a set of tanks that had come off of the same Fat Boy he had sold him in ’05. Joe took those and a Fat Boy front fender modified to fit the rear and handed them to Joey Jr. at B&D Customs in Edgewater, FL. Joey laid down the garnet red and web lace with 3 different female silhouettes; get it — 3 lil’ bitches! Joe says he couldn’t be happier with how the paint came out!
Finally, with everything back and bolted up, Joe turned the key and hit the electric leg. She bumped right to life with no coughing or spitting and settled down to a perfect idle like she’d been running for years! Before it hit the streets, Joe slapped a piece of leather onto the seat pan that Marcus pounded out by hand. He also cleaned up and painted an old set of bars to keep her steady since she was about to be ridden like a Daytona stripper: hard, fast and loud!
The Shovel turned out to be everything Joe wanted, and after all of the setbacks and delays, he appreciates the things that are sometimes overlooked like family, good friends, cold beers and patience! Thanks for sharing your ride with us brother, we definitely dig it!
Lil’ Bitch Tech Sheet
Owner: Joe DelBuono
City: Daytona, FL
Fabrication By: Trailer Trash Choppers
Time: 3 Long Years
Displacement: 96 ci
Cam(s): It’s in There
Carb: S&S Super E Shorty
Air Cleaner: K&N
Exhaust: Wrapped Stainless
Builder: Trailer Trash Choppers
Triple Trees: Stock
Front Wheel: Stock Road King
Tire: Metzeler Marathon
Rear Wheel: Stock Road King
Tire: Metzeler Marathon
Painter: Joe Turman – B&D Customs
Color: Black Cherry Red
Type: PPG & Dupont
Graphics: Webs & Girls
Chroming: Not If I Can Help It
Bars: Tariler Trash Choppers
Hand Controls: Swap Meet Find
Gas Tank(s): 3.5 H-D
Front fender: Nope
Rear fender: Mod. Front Fat Boy Fender
Seat: Trailer Trash Choppers
Foot Controls: H-D
Oil Tank: Swap Meet
Taillight: Hot Rod
Speedo: No Need For One
Photographer: Darren McKeag