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The Shovel & the Cannonball Harley Stealth Starter

The Shovel & the Cannonball Harley Stealth Starter

Usually, wrenching on a Harley is a straightforward thing. Except in this very special case (pardon the pun). Here’s the tale of Jim and Richard of Skinnychopppers, North Yorkshire, UK, and what they did to the Shovelhead of their customer Willie. The way they integrated a Cannonball Stealth starter into this classy bike is definitely worth the Nobel prize for Advanced Wrenching, if there is such a thing :)

Here’s Jim’s tale:

"Our customer Willie from Newcastle had imported a Frisco style chopper from the US. Complete with a big 103 cu. in. S&S Shovel engine with compression release valves installed and a Baker 6/4 gearbox.

So far so great, if the thing runs. Willie had an issue with starting the Shovel. Even with the compression release valves kicking the big engine was hard work, and he was afraid a kick back would ruin his knee. So he dialled our number and we talked the thing over with him. We quickly agreed that a Cannonball Stealth starter might just be what the doctor ordered.

When we got the bike,

we noticed it had wet sumped as it had been stood for a while, so the first job we did was to drain the oil from the bottom of the engine.

It was vital the compression release valves were pressed prior to kick over. Even then it was a beast to kick-over and a backfire would probably give Willie a sore knee quite easily. Eventually it fired up but not without a lot of effort, it definitely needed the starter unit to make this bike usable. Something that wouldn’t spoil the overall look, almost invisible like a Cannonball Stealth Kick Drive starter.

So we looked at the available space behind the gearbox. Hm, that was going to be a tight fit. Thanks to W&W’s Tommy’s help, and his excellent contacts to Baker Drivetrain, we were able to find out that this 1st generation Baker gearbox indeed had an S&S case, a very rare and challenging combination.

To squeeze the starter in,

we had to shave the gearbox case to give it enough clearance, tricky, but no problem for us with our extensive experience of rebuilding gearboxes for many years. After carefully taking off excess material (well done, Richard!), everything was nicely polished before final assembly. Looking back on it, the integration seems easy enough, as easy as was the wiring. An amazingly small 16 cell Antigravity battery is all that’s needed to start Willie’s Shovel repeatedly. His knee will be grateful forever :)"

Contact:

Skinny Choppers

Vintage Harley Davidsons, Engine & Gearbox Rebuilds

Service & Repair

Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, GB

Appointments only.

Call, email or DM:

t: +44 330 133 2872

info@skinnychoppers.com

Instagram: @skinnychoppers

Cannonball StealthStarter SSK-R Kick Drive Rigid Frame
Cannonball StealthStarter SSK-R Kick Drive Rigid Frame
The Cannonball StealthStarter system converts your classic kickstart-only motorcycle to electric start. After installation you just push the button or turn the key to fire up your classic Big Twin.

The Cannonball SSK electric start system bolts between kicker cover and transmission case. The stock kick starter can be retained. Due to the system’s low profile, only 19 mm wide construction the overall appearance of your motorcycle will remain virtually unchanged. Primary drive, primary housing and oil tank will stay untouched.
Installation is fairly easy and straightforward. The kit includes everything needed for the conversion except for the extended throwout bearing, battery, wires and starter button/switch.
If the bike is still equipped with an early stock 6 V electrical system, you will have to convert this to 12 V. Depending on the configuration some other options are available separately.

Since the kicker cover moves 19 mm to the right the following modifications may be necessary:
A stock 2-1 exhaust system will have to be routed slightly outward to compensate for the offset of the kicker cover. , A longer clutch release lever will be necessary on rod actuated configurations like Moustraps or Footclutch. A longer lever can be ordered seperately if needed., A extentended throwout bearing M U S T be ordered seperately for your type of clutch pushrod since the stock pushrod will be 19 mm too short.,
A longer brake crossover shaft will be necessary on all bikes using the original mechanical rear brake in conjunction with the original 2-1 or similar exhaust. A longer crossover shaft can be ordered separately if needed. , Original rear fenders need to be slightly dented for starter motor clearance. Alternatively, an aluminum “Dent” can be ordered separately. In this case the fender needs to be cut out to allow the “dent” to be mounted with the original lower fender mount bolt and the two oil tank/battery tray bolts.,
more …
Cannonball StealthStarter SSK-S Kick Drive Swingarm Frame
Cannonball StealthStarter SSK-S Kick Drive Swingarm Frame
The Cannonball StealthStarter system converts your classic kickstart-only motorcycle to electric start. After installation you just push the button or turn the key to fire up your classic Big Twin.

The Cannonball SSK electric start system bolts between kicker cover and transmission case. The stock kick starter can be retained. Due to the system’s low profile, only 19 mm wide construction the overall appearance of your motorcycle will remain virtually unchanged. Primary drive, primary housing and oil tank will stay untouched.
Installation is fairly easy and straightforward. The kit includes everything needed for the conversion except for the extended throwout bearing, battery, wires and starter button/switch.
If the bike is still equipped with an early stock 6 V electrical system, you will have to convert this to 12 V. Depending on the configuration some other options are available separately.

Since the kicker cover moves 19 mm to the right the following modifications may be necessary:
A stock 2-1 exhaust system will have to be routed slightly outward to compensate for the offset of the kicker cover. , A longer clutch release lever will be necessary on rod actuated configurations like Moustraps or Footclutch. A longer lever can be ordered seperately if needed., A extentended throwout bearing M U S T be ordered seperately for your type of clutch pushrod since the stock pushrod will be 19 mm too short.,
In case your bike uses the older 47698-65 transmission mounting plate with the extension for the primary adjuster screw, the extension needs to be removed or our Cannonball SSK-S transmission mounting plate needs to be used.
more …