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The Gearhead's Belle Gets Featured

Not a Show Bike by a Long Hauler Now

By the Gearhead

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Gearhead feature

Where to start? I named the bike Gypsy Belle. She was my gypsy and the adventures we had are too numerous to mention. I’ve had her for 40 plus years now and she’s been solid to me.

Back in the day, custom parts and performance components were difficult to find or afford. The previous owner lost his leg in a bike accident and installed a 10-over glide on this bike. I put her back to stock. Lee had built her for his needs. “She was a Belle before yours was a Belle,” he said.

I bought her in 1979 or 1980. I have owned her since I got rid of my ’78 and a 1/2 Lowrider Shovel. She has tall ape hangers from the original ape-hanger company, Flanders. Her seat is a one of a kind, King/Queen custom, by Bar Enterprises.

Back then, custom stroker kits were not available. If you wanted a fast bike, you had to find UL wheels. Or you ran over-sized or higher compression pistons and a cam. Even modifying a carb was something and installing an S&S air cleaner improved the air flow. The Belle has a .030 over 74 cubic inch engine with an Andrews B grind Cam, S&S pushrods and lifters.

Straight pipes and fish tips always fuck with the power-band and bother the neighbors.
Straight pipes and fish tips always fuck with the power-band and bother the neighbors.

The carb is a Bendix with a Gary Bang adjustable jet kit. The wire hanging from the pushrod cover is to unstick the float needle valve once in a while. The exhaust is a combination of many different sets, with the accent on connecting the one-piece muffler, which is a repop fishtail of a 1930s vintage.
I installed an CCI air filter modified with a Harley Anniversary emblem.

Keep in mind that a lot of bikes were kickstart and if the engine got serious compression, they could be tough to kick over.

The heads were built by Ed Walker at Walker’s engine and frame. I don’t believe they shaved the heads for higher compression on Shovelheads. That became a big deal with Evos. Shave the heads, add a cam, pipes and an S&S air cleaner and an Evo would fly.

The rear fender came from L.A. Panhead, and old friend. It is modified to except FX fender struts. The taillight is a tombstone remake and the headlight is classic Bates. Her color is midnight blue with pear.

The battery is an FX style with crate strap tie-downs. All front controls are stock with slight modifications. She has an old-style oil cooler that bolts to the left front peg. Oil coolers were always a big deal in hotter areas. The point cover which is a Grateful Dead head given to me by a brother who has left us for the great beyond. My kicker cover was given to me by Bandido Fred.

The future plans for the Belle is to put everything I can into a wishbone rigid frame for more of a show than a long hauler.

There is a story behind many of the parts on the old girl. I have to give special thanks to my wife, the J woman, T.J., Big George, Texas Fred, Wizard, Wildman Terry, the guys over at Motorcycle Michaels, Big Jim (he had a hand-painted an Easyriders tank logo on his super glide), Uncle Geno (for his stories, real or not) and many others who had an influence on how the old girl turned out. A lot of old school thought went into the build. The outlaw influence and necessity needs were part of the plan also. We just have to live by the moto “Ride hard or just go home.”

Thanks for the opportunity to display the Gypsy Belle.


Supreme Gearhead Tech Chart

Owner: Gearhead
City/State: Torrence, California
Value: 40 Years worth
Time: Too much


Type: Shovelhead cone style
Year: 1970 H-D
Displacement: 74 cubic inches
Builder: Ed Walker and Gearhead
Pistons: .030 over
Cam: Andrews 8-grind
Ignition: Stock
Carb: Bendix with Gary Bang adjustable jet kit
Air Cleaner: Custom Chrome with H-D anniversary logo
Exhaust: Many pieces with 1936 Fishtail muffler

Make: H-D
Type: Stock 4-speed with kicker kit
Builder: Ed Walker
Clutch: Barnett’s with roller bearing kit
Primary drive: Still a chain

Make: Stock H-D
Type: Swingarm
Mods: All stock tabs replaced

Front end
Make: H-D
Type: Wide glide
Mods: Was 10-over, put back to stock

Make: H-D
Size: 16-inch
Brakes: Stock Disc
Tires: Old School Classic Continentals

Sheetmetal: H-D color later than 1970
Color: Midnight Blue with pearl
Mods: Cleared with 1936 Decals

Headlight: Bates
Taillight: Tombstone re-pop
Dash: Panhead style from Custom Chrome
Rear fender: FLH hinge mounted to FX rear struts
Seat: Bar Enterprises (King/Queen) with glove box
Misc.: Machined components from aerospace machinists


Check out our threads, buckles and books.
Check out our threads, buckles and books.


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Reader Comments

I changed out the ape hanger risers to a plus 2 inch and the looks is better. The comfort is still there and all the cables and harnesses still work with it. Thanks to big George and the areo-space machinist that made it happen.

Torrance, CA
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Editor Response Send me a photo, goddammit!
Just took a real good look at the article . I don't have a secretary to correct my stuff, so apologies go out to brothers and sisters on my grammar, paragraph placement and spelling. I build stuff, I ain't a English teacher or publisher . Thanks again.

Torrance, CA
Monday, January 27, 2020
Editor Response We got close...
Great story!

mike pullin
charlotte, nc
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Editor Response Thanks for Gearhead.
Whoa , you are the bomb Bandit. The article is better than I or the old girl deserve. I can't thank you enough for the presentation of that bike. I am one of those guys who always wanted an article on a bike or car in a magazine but just did not qualify because of them not being custom enough. With the death of EASYRIDERS, I just gave up trying . All things come full circle sometimes, Thanks and TKOB.

Torrance, CA
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Editor Response My pleasure. You did most of the work.

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