Custom 1977 Harley-Davidson FLHS

Wrecked and retired, a 1977 Harley-Davidson FLHS thunders back to life


| November/December 2005



Joel Sechrist’s FLHS retains the essential character of the Shovelhead while fixing some design flaws and modernizing various components

Joel Sechrist’s FLHS retains the essential character of the Shovelhead while fixing some design flaws and modernizing various components. The result is not only good at gathering a crowd, but is easy to ride.

Photo by Dana Shirey

Custom Harley-Davidson FLHS

Year produced: 2005
Claimed power: 65bhp @ 4,000rpm (est.)
Top speed: 120mph (est.)
Engine type: 1,208cc, two-valve, 45-degree V-twin
Weight (dry): 332.1kg (738lb) 
Price: Not for sale

In 1977 Joel Sechrist plopped down $4,200 for a new Harley-Davidson FLHS. He liked the bike, he liked to ride and he also liked to party. And the combination exacted its toll.

"You got the word on me — I tried to use it like an International Harvester one day. I was riding on a dirt road, and both me and the bike had a full tank of fuel. The road made a hairpin turn, and I wasn't going to make it, so I went straight into a cornfield," Sechrist says. The result? "Light damage to the motorcycle and heavy damage to my ego."

Later, Sechrist cut back on the partying, but back problems forced him to mothball the bike. Ten years later, after his back healed and he bought a new Harley Road King, he asked his son if he wanted the FLHS for his 21st birthday.

When his son told him he’d rather have a dirt bike, Sechrist decided to fix up his old bike and ride it himself. He took the big V-twin to Ed Hillegass at Keystone Performance Cycle, near York, Pa., and asked him to rebuild it.

Hillegass worked for Harley-Davidson for more than 20 years before shifting to the retail side of the motorcycle world and founding Keystone three years ago. "I specialize in performance and customizing. I take in restorations over the winter — they take twice as long."





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