Bike of the Dead

Bike of the Dead

Dead-set Bitza.

Hughesie’s big-cube Evo is a mish-mash of ghoulish fun. 

We’d just finished the photo shoot for Craig’s unique machine around the coastal cane fields that lie between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. 

It was one of those hot and humid southeast Queensland Tuesdays so after the ride-bys we made our way to the ‘Gem Hotel’ for a refreshing beverage and the low down on the build. 

Sitting at a comfortable table on the front deck I asked my long-time pal to tell me all about it.

“Ahh, the ‘dead bike’” he began. “It started off as a 1984 Evolution Softail and I’ve done a lot of modifications from there. I haven’t owned it too long, but I’ve put a lot of work into it. 

It’s got a genuine Harley ’92 Springer front end, the motor has been stroked to 90 cubes, it has a six-speed overdrive Revtech gearbox, a bigger carburettor, Andrews EV 46 Cams and a lot of head work done. I guess you could say it’s pretty heavily modified!”

“How much of that did you do?” I asked.

“The lot!” was the short answer. “It was rideable, but it was very rough when I picked it up. Some of the other things I’ve done include lowering it and I fitted a suicide clutch and jockey shift. I put the fishtail exhausts on it and got the heads done too. I also gutted a Hypercharger air intake to increase the intake volume.”

The intricate and somewhat macabre Mexican death mask paintwork (ergo ‘the Dead Bike’) was already done when Craig bought it, but he has painstakingly restored it.

“It’s actually a Hydrographic finish. It’s a process where a base coat is laid down on the components and is primed. 

The graphics are printed on a thin film and placed on the surface of a water tank. The base dissolves and an activator chemical is sprayed over the film causing the ink to remain floating on top. 

The components are then carefully immersed, and the upward pressure of the water causes the ink to wrap around and adhere. It’s then removed from the water, cleaned and clear coated.”

The result is very cool and really highlights its six-gallon fuel tanks nicely and it all fits well with the stance of the bike.

To that end, “It’s got a Fournales Softail shock on the rear but it’s been lowered four inches with a White Brothers lowering kit - and subsequently she doesn’t go around corners very well!” Craig laughs heartily. “But with the Paugho Fishtail exhausts it sounds great not doing it.”

I can testify that riding close behind it is an aural pleasure. With the pipes and cams it’s a delightful note.

The presentation is finished off with a whitewall tyre on a genuine 16” spoked front hoop and a 16” solid wheel off a later model Fat Boy on the rear. The rear guard is from a Heritage Springer and it has a Le Pera saddle that also fits the lines of the bike nicely. The handlebars are off a later model Softail. It offers a comfortable and upright riding position.

Which begged the obvious question, “What is it like to ride?”

Another chuckle ensues. “It doesn’t stop, it doesn’t go around corners, but it goes like stink! It’s a hell of a lot of fun. I call it a ‘shits and giggles’ bike. You shit yourself coming into a corner, then laugh out loud when you make it around one!” 

“Any further plans for it?”

“Ride the (expletive deleted) out of it!” he laughs again. “No, just ride it.”

And giggle.

GUTS & BOLTS (As supplied by Craig)


OWNER: Craig Hughes 
MODEL: Evo Bitza


TYPE: 90-cube Evo
CAM: Andrew's EV 46
ESTIMATED POWER: Enough to get your attention 
MAXIMUM REVS: Just before it goes bang!
AIR CLEANER: Gutted Hypercharger / K&N 
TUNER: Craig
EXHAUST: Paugho straight through fishtails 
TRANSMISSION: Revtech o/drive 6 speed, jockey shift
MODIFICATIONS: Lots, secret squirrel heads / suicide clutch(Barnett) 


TYPE: Early softail 
FRONT: Late Harley springer
REAR: Founales/ White Bros lowering kit


F RIM:16 in Spoke 
R RIM: 16in Fatboy
TYRES: Yes 2 of them
F BRAKE: Standard Springer 2 pot.
R BRAKE: Wish it worked 


BARS: Late model Softail
GRIPS: Chrome and black
SEAT: Le Pera solo
MIRRORS: A little round one
GAUGES: Speedo
PEGS: 100th anniversary floorboards 
REAR TAIL: Tombstone 


F GUARD: Was there when I left home, Officer
R GUARD: Heritage springer
FUEL TANK: 6 gallons
ARTWORK: Day of the dead 
PAINT: Hydro dipped.

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