My Brother’s Keeper

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Article By: GTP

Photos By: Michael Lichter

Originally Published In The August 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

In a world full of pseudo-barn find five-digit Knuckleheads it’s nice to see someone turning to the lowly Shovelhead for a build. In a world so obsessed with spending money it’s nice to see a build that is meant to ride instead of just representing a large investment for your hipster friends. Sure, there are some really nice pre- AMF bikes out there, but if you want more bang for your buck, the venerable Cone Shovel can’t be beat. Enter Ryan Gore of Paper Street Customs and his slick orange 1978 Shovel hardtail named “My Brother’s Keeper” you see here. Ryan paid his dues with a 1955 Panhead show bike, and when he landed an invite to In Motion he decided to go with a much more frugal price tag What he started with is a 1978 FXE his brother had sitting in his garage, damn near forgotten. It was donated with the condition that when sold his brother would split the profits, but when he saw the final bike, he decided to have another 1978 Shovel built for him instead of monetary payment. On a tight schedule of four weeks to have the bike finished and show quality really had Ryan against a wall for time. The bike was immediately blown apart, inspected, and a plan was carefully prepared. He started with a stock four-speed frame and immediately sliced and diced it and mated the front half of the original frame with a hardtail replacing, the swingarm section. He then ordered the spoked wheel, so he could start the with the rear alignment and work his way forward. The front wheel arrived shortly after that, but there was no sign of the rear

Days passed, then weeks and Ryan had to alter his usual build and keep busy making other parts that didn’t hinge on the alignment of the rear wheel and accompanying pieces. He dove into the stock motor and rebuilt is using S&S internals. Displacing eighty cubic inches, the fuel from the Super “E” is fired by the simplicity of a Morris Magneto. Nothing fancy, just a better version of the best design of the cast iron cylinder v-twins… still no word from the wheel guys.Then turning his attention to the tank, he welded one together that incorporated an aluminum insert that Ryan sent out to have engraved…still nothing about the rear wheel, so he built the stainless two into one (something that is usually last on a build) while he waited. The original FXE was missing its original Maytag top tranny and was graced with a ratchet top instead which Randal Johnson rebuilt using factory parts and a jockey shifter. He then mated the trans to the powerplant with a BDL belt drive, a five-finger clutch and foot shift. To his dismay, no wheel arrived. A 39mm front end was used. Ryan shaved the legs and installed two-inch under front tubes with stock Sportster guts. Still, no wheel but now the manufacturer wasn’t answering his phone or returning his messages. To keep from getting any further behind, he canceled his order and went with another supplier.

The eighteen inch rear wheel arrived from Ride Right Wheels in a few days, and with this and no further delays, the bike would be finished on time for the show. No front brake was used, so when Ryan used a Wilwood rear brake, he  also incorporated a second caliper as a ‘hill holder.’ This is the first bike he had ever equipped with this setup, and he likes it so much he is doing it again. While waiting on the dash insert to get back from the engraver, he built this nice little oil tank out of aluminum. The final pieces were completed, and Ryan was ready to send the bodywork over to Scott Takes of Underground for paint but no word on the dash insert. Upon tracking it, he learned that his order could not be tracked due to hurricane Irma…the piece was never seen again. This left the tank with a big hole in the top; another tank would have to be made. Ryan went to work building the tank you see here. He took a couple of Wassel tanks cut ‘em up and mated them, forming the little 2.2 gallon take that was sent to paint along with the rear fender. While things were getting sprayed, a set of mini floorboards were cobbled up. Ryan loves the concept of floorboards but was always put off by their size, so he made the ones that adorn this bike. A set of controls were made in stainless and completed the look. Things were looking up. The tins were out getting sprayed with Paint Huffer Microflake orange sprayed over silver flake. The killer threedimensional flames are truly a standout, which in my opinion brings the tried and true flame job to an all new level. When they arrived the bike really started to take on, it’s finished form.

The motor was heat cycled, and all was in order. Just about the time the bike was ready for some shakedown miles a package arrived from the upholsterer and was opened…it wasn’t his seat! Apparently, labels had been  transferred, and the two seats arrived at the wrong addresses. The break-in miles would have to happen without one while the right saddle was resent from Bare Bones Leather… shit happens. Eventually, the bike was completed with all the proper components, and it all worked together. Ryan and Paper Street Customs made the show, and the bike was sold. The ‘fit for television” drama although exciting to watch must have sucked. Realistically the last thing you want is a series of wrenches thrown into the works but when it’s all said and done Ryan will be at it again. “GTP”

My Brother’s Keeper Tech Sheet

Owner: Ryan Gore

City/State: Gunnison, CO

Builder: Paper Street Customs

Year: 1978

Model: Shovelhead

Value: 20k

Time: 4 Weeks


Year: 1978

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Paper Street

Ignition: Morris Magneto

Displacement: 80 ci

Pistons: S&S

Heads: HD

Carb: Super E

Cam: Andrews

Air Cleaner: Benchmark

Exhaust: Paper Street

Primary: BDL


Year: 1978

Make: 4 Speed

Shifting: Suicide


Year: 1978

Model: Stock Front/Paper Street Rear

Rake: 30

Stretch: None


Builder: Paper Street

Type: 39mm

Triple Trees: HD

Extension: -2


Front Wheel: 40 Spoke

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel: Ride Wright

Size: 18”

Tire: Firestone

Rear Brake: Wilwood


Painter: Scott Takes Underground Art Studio

Color: Orange & Silver Flake

Type: Paint Huffer

Graphics: Scott Takes

Chroming: None


Bars: Paper Street

Risers: Paper Street

Hand Controls: GMA

Foot Controls: Paper Street

Gas Tank(s): Paper Street

Oil Tank: Paper Street

Front fender: None

Rear Fender: Cooper Smithing Co

Seat: Bare Bones Leather

Headlight: Throttle Addiction

Tail light: After Hours Choppers

Speedo: None

Photographer: Michael Lichter

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