Big Inches

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Pauki ’84

customized Harley-Davidson Shovelhead

Ambassadors of a past era

He was old school before the term “oldschool” even existed. Known as “Pauki”, Reinhold Paukner was a customiser of the first generation. He made a name for himself in south-west Germany in the eighties, when a balloon tyre was still regarded as a really big pellet. Back then, the Evolution engine was considered the devil’s work, because a real Harley biker rode at least a Shovel.

Then came the big boom, when the first half-breeds earned enough money to afford brand new Harleys. Because it was already an Evo, they did not have to go through the hell of tinkering with Shovels, on which Pauki had completed his apprenticeship. On the other hand, if they wanted to get there a little faster, Pauki would get them there too, because once the Evo was there, Pauki knew how to turn that first sturdy Harley engine into a beast that was strong as an ox by the standards of the time.

But we were talkin' about old school...

…and it comes as no surprise that Paoki chose a final year Shovelhead to customise. It would have been typical of him to want to preserve a value that was already becoming historic.

As an ambassador of a bygone era, this Shovel made its way north to us. Our boss, Andreas Bergerforth, bought it from a collector. He appreciated its historical value and, apart from the necessary maintenance work, never lifted a finger on Pauki’s Shovel. Everyone in our company loves to ride her, and even a pillion rider feels comfortable on this western-style saddle. Oh, it’s like she wants to sit down for a square dance right after the ride…

The West was still wild in those days, and there’s a lot about the bike that’s impossible to research, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the saddle markings came from Armin Dobstetter, the Franconian leather pope of the early eighties.

Perfection came later, in the eighties, but the bikes still had character. Look out for the upswept fishtails that defy the laws of clean lines!

A single set of pistons had to suffice. After all, the Shovel already has two of these brakes at the front.

Homogeneous is different. One was intoxicated by fast effects, like brass gleaming between chrome surfaces and cover engravings overloaded with eagles and Indians.

A true testimony to the time of customizing

We like to give bikes our Thunderbike line, but this bike stays as it is. Because everyone talks about old school. We guard it!

Flame paint and a high-legged chassis capture the spirit of the late seventies. It was not until the nineties that it became black and flat. Yes, Pauki’s Shovel is a true testament to the days of customising before the term had even been coined. And please let it stay that way!


Author / Editor

Kim Lara Bergerforth

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