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17th of November 2018

Automotive



Luxuriate in This Mechanic's Teardown of a Harley Davidson

If you want to get to know something, tear it down. Not in the bullying, find-their-weakness sense. In the careful, solvent-soaked sense. That’s the approach Canadian-born motorcycle mechanic Matt Dawe took with the 1974 Harley Davidson “Shovelhead” motorcycle he recently bought in upstate New York and hauled back to his Brooklyn shop in the back of a friend’s van.

In this premiere episode of WIRED’s new original series, [De]constructed, Dawe takes apart the 44-year-old bike piece by piece, starting with the seat. He washes each bit with kerosene to wipe away the grease and gunk, battles with stripped bolts, and only once resorts to the blunt force of the deadbolt hammer. By the end, the only thing sitting on his bench is the Harley’s naked frame.

The result is a 34-minute journey into the heart of the hog, at the end of which you’ll know a whole bunch more about motorcycles than you when the Shovelhead was intact. And don’t worry if you’re not into bikes or can’t keep up with such poetic jargon as “I’m moving the top nuts of the fork tubes so they can slide out of the triple-tree.” The true joy in this video is the lesson that modern machines are terrifically complex things, stuffed with compensator nuts, clutch baskets, derby covers, and more. And after you’ve finished this one—it’s ok to watch it twice—check out more WIRED on our YouTube page, or on your very own television through our very own OTT channel.

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