If you haven’t discerned what kind of bikes I like to shoot then here’s a clue: I like the ones that get ridden. Show bikes are cool, there’s a lot of insane craftsmanship that goes into them. Newer builds are alright but they miss some of the old-school ingenuity and charm. Period correct choppers are neat, but does it really matter if that juice drum was replaced with a newer disc brake? Bikes that are pieced together, like the Johnny Cash song goes, just seem to have the most character. ‘59, ’60, ’61, ’62… Mismatched, dinged up and leaking oil faster than you can fill it. They get ridden, and have more miles on them than your ex. It’s hard to justify beating up a bike with a brand new this and that, but when everything is secondhand there’s a built-in sense of being able to throw caution to the wind. “Oops, I dented my tank last weekend at the campout. But let me tell you about the times we had at the campout!”
I’ve wanted to shoot Don Nguyen’s bike for a while. I’d seen it here and there around Southern California. The stance and the tightness of the build was an immediate draw. Nothing too fancy, it just looked like a bike you could hop on and go have fun with. The best part was when I found out that Don was the owner of the bike. He wasn’t the owner I would have matched to the bike, but that was another reason I loved it. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover I guess.
Too many people take shit way too seriously, motorcycles included. We ride them because they are fun. We wrench on them because we choose or have to. Even though that cliché of ‘freedom on two wheels’ has been spewed into oblivion, there’s a tiny ounce of truth to it. Now I’m not talking freedom in terms of “doo-rag blowing in the wind as you rumble into the sunset on your fat-tire OCC hawg to the tune of a heavily distorted electric guitar version of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, brother”. But if that’s what you’re into, well, you do you. I’m talking about the freedom to piece together a bike that fits your own mantra of what you want to do on two wheels. I think Don has done just that with his generator shovel.
Owner name, location: Don Giap Joseph Simon Nguyen, Huntington Beach, CA.
ChopCult Member: 4eyes
Engine/tranny, year and make, model, modifications: Titled 1976 HD with S&S generator motor
Frame/Rake: Hard-tailed shovel frame with stock rake
Front End: 8 over HD inline springer
Tire/wheel size and style: 16/21 Star with the trendy Avon tires
Next modification will be: Adding another front and rear wheel. Then getting a crash guard to wrap the whole bike. Get a more comfy seat, maybe with a high back, and some seatbelts. Should be pretty dope.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc (paint, seat, tires, bars, switches, pipes, doodads): Nothing too special about this bike. It’s just something that I like to ride everyday.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: There was this one event that I went to, Born Free, it had all kinds of old bikes. Not enough Hondas, IMO. Anyways, it was cool. Oh, and tight jeans are in again, the bus stop ad told me so.
Thanks to everyone who had their dirty hands on Jac. In order of people I have seen: Lou (Louis Build Customs), Tony (LandSpeeD), Dustin & Tony (Rooster Machines), Cameron (Crowe's MC Service), and Roy (Big Head Motor Works). Each one has had a special part in getting her rolling.-Don
Article and photos by Ryan Loughridge / @_loughridge_