Sweet Mo Lasses Shovel

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Jeff Ruttinger

Originally Published In The September 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Paul Smyth has been a mechanic at UPS for ten years now and like so many of us he does his daily grind which is a good job but all the while he’s dreaming of the day when he can just build bikes. As much as you love something, it seems that when you do it day in and day out, it leaves little inspiration to take it home with you at night. Somehow, Paul does still take home the passion for mechanical things, he just translates that passion into his motorcycles. As a kid, Paul’s kicks were happenin’ P on a Honda 50z and an old 70 Trails. He grew up and so did the bikes until he eventually found himself on a Suzuki Intruder riding on the street. This was around the time that he ran into the cats at Beineck Triumph/ Norton in Ebensburg, PA. The owner has a ridiculous collection of old Ariel’s and Indians in addition to his main line machines. In addition to passing on the vintage bug to Paul he also spent a lot of time teaching him things about the proper care and maintenance of the motorcycle. This became the era of a chopped Triumph Tiger in his life. He was already a long time reader of Cycle Source and used to scour our then news paper pages to get ideas of what kind of bike he wanted.

Like so man, the story of a boy’s life with the motorcycle took a short hiatus as Paul met Dee and got married and slowed down on the motorcycle thing. It was a fair deal and over time the MC bug has come back into the picture. As life settled down a bit and he got a little more freedom in the garage, he started to hear about a bike that was coming up for sale from his friend Gregg Ball. The original owner was a man named Nick that did the hardtail work with the help of a voc-tech teacher he knew. Nick also gave the bike it’s personality with the 40’s style tool box, the badging and no fuss stance. When the day came that he was ready to let her go Paul didn’t miss the chance to bring the shovel home. This was about the middle of February and still cold as hell outside so the few drivability problems he knew it had were gonna have to wait for the thaw. Once the weather cooperated he started to tweak it and get it running and riding properly and each time the tuning got a little closer, he started noticing the transmission getting a little worse. It had been leaking oil but as an old 60’s 4 speed goes, that’s not a horrible thing. He admits that he was so focused on everything else that needed attention that the oil level was put out of his mind until the day he started to hear that bearing noise come out of it. Of course he immediately remembered that he had been neglecting the oil and filled it right up but it was to no use, the damage had been done. Still hearing the noise he decided to baby it around while he finished the tuning. It was at 35 mph that the thing locked up, proving that a part on an old Harley that’s telling you it needs attention waits for no man.

Instead of screwing around with it as the season was breaking he decided to shove a Revtech 4 speed in it and deal with the reconstruction of the original gearbox next winter. Paul claims that it was getting too damn close to BMR and he was making that trip with The Rootbeer Shovel. Make it he did, not only did he ride down from the middle of PA on her, all over Parsons and the Canaan Valley area, but after the event he continued on down the 219 into Deep Creek and Friendsville. It was the longest trip he had been on so far and totally worth the hours of prep getting it ready. He would like to thank Yuengling for making it possible for him to attend the BMR this year since it was many hours of Blood Sweat and Beers that made it happen. Dee rides a newer Trike conversion and gives him shit about his old bike, but for Paul it’s just the way it has to be. He’d rather have to stop and monkey around with something every once in a while and ride a bike that fills him with pride like this old girl.

Sweet Mo Lasses Shovel

Owner: Paul Smyth

City/State: Waybesvurg, PA

Fabrication By: Nick Rigleman

Year: 1978

Model: Shovelhead


Time: 8 Months


Year: 1978

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Harley-Davidson

Ignition: Harley-Davidson

Displacement: 80 ci

Pistons: Harley-Davidson

Heads: Harley-Davidson

Cam(s): Harley-Davidson

Carb: S&S Super B

Air Cleaner: E-Bay Find

Exhaust: Harley-Davidson

Primary: Harley-Davidson


Year: 2016

Make: Rev-Tech

Shifting: 4 Speed

Clutch: Harley-Davidson

Make: One Source


Year: 1978

Make: Harley-Davidson

Hardtail: Yes


Type: Harley-Davidson Super Glide


Front Wheel: Harley-Davidson

Size: 19”

Front Tire: Dunlop

Front brake: Harley-Davidson

Rear Wheel: Harley-Davidson

Size: 16”

Rear Tire: Dunlpp

Rear Brake: Harley-Davidson Disc


Painter: Nick Rigleman

Color: Root Beer Pearl


Bars: Paul Yaffe

Risers: Harley-Davidson

Oil Tank: E-Bay

Fuel Tank: Mustang Tank

Front fender: None

Rear fender: Harley-Davidson

Seat: Flat Broke

Foot controls: American Classics

Headlight: Harley-Davidson

Taillight: E-Bay

Speedo: None

Photographer: Jeff Ruttinger

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