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Chris ‘Simo’ Simmonds’ 1931 Harley VL Bobber

1931 Harley VL Bobber
One of the coolest bikes in the latest issue of Greasy Kulture magazine belongs to Chris ‘Simo’ Simmonds, a certified old bike nut who lives on the south coast of the UK.

As well as this 1931 Harley-Davidson VL, he owns three Indians and a brace of Triumphs. Simo found the 1200 cc VL on eBay UK, and describes it as a “rolling, held together basket case”. But it had the essentials he was looking for: an original frame, a springer fork and an engine.

He didn’t want to do a restoration, so he created his own vision of a bob-job, inspired by the American cut-downs and racers of the 30s and 40s. VL Heaven provided many of the missing parts; the headlight, fuel tank and footboards are reproductions.

The original fenders and taillight were taken off and put safely to one side, and a ribbed rear fender from Baron’s Speed Shop was fitted to the back instead. The engine was supposedly rebuilt, but wouldn’t run right, and Simo eventually discovered it had mismatched heads—one low and one high compression. After a top-end rebuild by RTO Engineering, Simo reckons “It’ll do 70-80mph. It’s like a tractor, but so much fun!”