Harley Shovelhead Parts
Top Selling Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Parts
Harley Shovelhead PartsAs the imports of highly competitive foreign cruisers grew, the Panhead began having a hard time competing. The MOCO engineers recognized this and what came next was the Harley Shovelhead in 1966. This engine brought back rocker boxes instead of valve covers. These boxes bared resemblance to a coal shovel, hence the nickname. The new engine needed to provide more power to not only compete with imports, but to also move the heavier bikes that were being created by Harley. Shovelheads were fitted into all of HD’s Big Twin cycles at the time, including FL and FX models. The Shovelhead remained in production until it was weened out in 1985.
The Shovelhead went through two main iterations that owners distinguish between. The first generation of Shovels are known are slab-sides or flat-sides. The second generation are known as Cone Shovels. Slab-sides existed from ’66-’69 and ran a generator. The generator worked fine for the early models of motorcycles because it did not have to create power for too much. The timing covers on these bikes were more flat, hence the Slab-side name. In 1970, Shovels were converted to an alternator system to keep up with added electrical accessories, including electric starters, turn signals and additional lights. The new alternator and ignition setup were relocated to the timing case, which happened to be a cone shape.
Though the Shovel was essentially a new Big Twin, it was a combination of existing components that made up the first iterations. The heads were basically the same design as the Ironhead Sportsters, but were made out of aluminum for the Big Twins. These heads had 10 cooling fins, which often was not quite enough to cool the engine as some tended to run hot. The bottom end was a carryover from the previous Panhead engines. Some riders simply upgraded their Pans by installing the new Shovel heads to their bottom ends. Shovels were offered in both 74ci and 82ci capacities.
With the influx of competitive and cheaper imports combined with an economic downturn, the Motor Company began to struggle financially. Shortly after the Shovel was introduced, Harley-Davidson was bought out by the bowling equipment and recreational product producer, AMF. While AMF was able to keep HD alive through the thin years, there were some quality control issues that were present on some of the bikes. While that may be true, there are still thousands of AMF-era Big Twins on the roads today. And the truth is, if they have made it this long, they should last for even longer with the correct upkeep.
To keep your vintage HD running for many more years to come, you need to have access to quality aftermarket Shovelhead parts. You will find a great selection at Dennis Kirk to not only keep up on maintenance, but to also hop up your engine. We keep most parts in stock and ready to ship to you the same day that you order so you can get back on the street as soon as possible. And when your order is over $89, we will ship it to you for free. Use the Ride Selector at the top of the page to find all of the parts that will fit your specific motorcycle. Also, feel free to contact our knowledgeable Tech Team if you have any questions on which parts are best for you and your bike.