39 year old Byrne splits his time between his old stomping grounds near his beloved Brands Hatch and Spain- which is ideal for winter testing and riding road cycles, a hobby he has an impressive fitness level for. His Harley-Davidson ’49 model has been subtly yet painstakingly customised by his local dealer, Maidstone Harley-Davidson; with the result being a lean and moody version of the original...

The dealership has had some experience in this field winning the public vote of the brand’s ‘Battle of the Kings’ bike build off. In fact alongside the new metal in the immaculate showroom is a selection of customised bikes with some subtle renditions and some less so; a full Star Wars tribute paintjob for example!

So why would a racer who is attuned to 200mph, the sharpest brakes and handling go down this route? Shakey explains, “I’ve had a couple of Harley’s now and really like the whole idea of taking it a bit slower on the road these days! My last bike (the ‘67’) turned out really radical with a massive amount of changes but this bike is a lot more subtle and closer to the original.

I think people are quite surprised to see a racer like me on this type of bike but the way I see it is that I spend 95% of my time on a bike under pressure, people with stop watches, being videoed and of course riders trying to get past me at every opportunity. With this sort of machine there is no reason to try and ride quickly, in fact quite the opposite, it makes me chill out, cruise along and I’ve probably never gone over 65mph on any of ‘em!

I was out testing in Spain at the start of winter and needed to get somewhere, a friend let me borrow his ’48. I rode it a few miles and thought ‘this is a bit of me’ and promptly called Harry at the dealership. We started talking about customisation and I wanted it all black, so they sourced some RSD equipment and these Öhlins Blackline shocks which look the bizz and obviously offer some more comfort for cruising.

Back to Bologna…

2016 sees Byrne return to Ducati after many years on Japanese machinery to try and hold off the young guns of the British Superbike Championship for an unprecedented fifth title. The exquisite Panigale machine has won at World level in WSB but hadn’t quite topped the podium in the prestigious BSB series. Shane explains, “It’s funny because when I was on Ducati’s everyone said I could only win on a V twin and I set out to prove them wrong with titles on other machines. Now I’m back in ‘red’ people are unsure how we’ll go.

They’d not won a race in Britain since 2008 when I won the series on the Airwaves 1098, so it was a great incentive for me to change that record. (Shakey won his ‘home’ Brands Hatch race in May!)

To be fair pre-season testing didn’t go as well as planned but what was apparent was that the base bike is spot on, it just needs the throttle and electronics matching to make it work with the BSB rules (the series runs a one-spec ECU programme to keep costs down). We haven’t really played around with the Öhlins kit much as the equipment is great straight out of the factory and the new 2016 forks are a big step up.

There’s obviously millions of settings which we can start adjusting track by track but our real objective was to get the bike fuelling correctly to maximise the power first.

The Ducati deal is really cool as not only is there the racing side I get to do road bike stuff, so one of the first things was the press launch of the XDiavel in California. It seems like the factory have been studying what some of the others have been doing in the States and then improved it in every area. For me it has cruiser style but with loads of power and awesome standard equipment, so I’ll probably be looking at one of those also!”

The Dealer perspective…

Harry Pearce, Manager of Maidstone Harley-Davidson has dealt with Byrne and commented, “Shane wanted to go for something that wasn’t too over the top but still individual enough to stand out from the crowd. Many ideas were bounced around and a lot of trial and error with the style to go for, clip on bars were the original idea but practically they weren’t quite right so we went for a set of Drag bars to keep that clean line at the top of the forks.

Shane wanted to go dark with the overall look but bringing through some silver contrast, this came about from wanting to use the Öhlins Blackline shocks so looking at how to complement these best. We achieved this by using many of Roland Sands contrast cut parts and a black and silver paint finish, which really brought the whole style together. As the bike was coming together it was taking on a real stealth look so we added some Rizoma Indicators front and rear, the rear incorporating the tail light and brake light, we mounted these up under the tail unit to keep them hidden away. For the front we made up a bracket to mount them in front of the lower yoke, this blends them nicely in to the front end. We’re pleased with the result and so is our famous customer!”

Bike Spec by brand: Öhlins: Rear Shocks- Blackline model
Roland Sands Design: Fork Caps, Levers, Grips, Master Cylinder Cover, Headlight Bezel, Fuel Cap, Air Filter, Seat, Seat Unit, Footpegs, Derby Cover.
Genuine Harley-Davidson: Drag Bars, Axle Covers, Digital Speedo, Daymaker Headlight
Rizoma: Indicators / Tail Lights
Vance & Hines: Exhaust system

The Shakey Story

Born 10th December 1976, Lambeth, London Road tester for Fast Bikes Magazine
2001- BSB Privateer Champion
2002- First BSB win (Renegade Ducati)
2003- British Superbike Champion (MonsterMob Ducati)
2003- Double WSB win- Brands Hatch
2004/5- MotoGP (Aprilia and KR / KTM)
2006/7- BSB (Suzuki/Honda)
2008 British Superbike Champion (Airwaves Ducati)
2009 8th in World Superbike (Sterilgarda Ducati)
2010 10th World Superbike Championship (Althea Racing)
2011 3rd British Superbike Championship (HM Plant Honda)
2012 British Superbike Champion (Rapid Solicitors PBM Kawasaki)
2013 2nd British Superbike Championship (Rapid Solicitors PBM Kawasaki)
2014 British Superbike Champion (Rapid Solicitors PBM Kawasaki)
2015 2nd British Superbike Championship (PBM Kawasaki)
2016 – PBM Ducati... Position ??