It’s crazy for me to think about the aggregate of people I’ve gotten to know through the world of motorcycles. One friendship leads to another introduction, which leads to a new person who gateways to another friendship. I’m not saying I have a ton of friends or claim to ‘know people’; what I’m saying is I’m always willing to see where the next handshake will lead.
In this case I met Efrain through Jeff Spaid and Chris Johnson out of Yucaipa, CA. When they rolled out to our campout last year, they were rolling with some of their other hometown friends, Efrain included. A few more “hello, how are ya’s?” later and I wound up riding through the foothills of the Sierras with the Yucaipa boys up to Chris’ Bachelor party. There, I asked Efrain why he wasn’t on his shovelhead yet and he gave a deep sad sigh. As deadlines often go with these bikes.
A few months later I got a message from Efrain telling me his bike was almost done. He was just waiting on his seat, from Ginger at New Church Moto. I was excited, mostly to see the bike, but also to hear the stories of how Efrain made this motorcycle come together. I had heard about it since our first meeting, and now it was finally complete!
Owner name, location: Efrain Esparza Jr, Yucaipa, California
Bike name: Indian Giver... now now, my wife is Native, no hard feelings.
Engine/tranny, year and make, model, modifications: 1980 FXWG Harley Davidson. 80ci heart, breathing through an Old Stf Mini Ed, .030 over Andrews Cam, and the good ol' fashion cow pie transmission married to an upgraded Primo clutch. Runs like a top when I can get it out of first gear!
Frame/Rake: Running the stock-rake original frame on the front half, with a custom, hand-bent hardtailed rear section all tied into some old H-D softtail axle plates my buddy Mig had hanging on the peg board in his garage. A huge thanks to Mig Baron Kustoms for helping me with the metal work throughout the build.
Front End: Polished set of mid-aged sportster trees bored out to squeeze a set of 41mm, 4" over tubes with matching polished lowers. Chrome ain't cheap!
Tire/wheel size and style: Your standard run of the mill 21" spool up front with a cracked Avon Speedmaster tire, and the stock 16" rear wheel wrapped with an Avon Safety Mileage.
Favorite thing about this bike: When you see your vision come to life, it's easy to love the whole thing, even the things you regret. I've got to say the hand made sissy bar is a favorite. This idea came from the old AEE bar I was running when it was a swing arm. I wanted to keep the feel but give it some new twists with the round bar instead of square and I integrated that cool little taillight that Jake from Prism Moto Co. turned downed by hand for me when he was prototyping them a few years back (extremely talented dudes, check ‘em out!) I also used a hand made steel arrowhead banged out with a ball-peen hammer as the fender mount to keep the theme alive. Lastly, the early 50's sporty emblems against the one-off set of gold leaf feathers made by Zero Given.
Next modification will be: Probably a shiny 4" over, low flare Century springer front end, or a cool new rear fender mount when the arrowhead breaks in half...let's be honest.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc.: If you could tell in the pics, the frame is fairly molded at the tank, around the seat, and the major welds around the axle plates and the neck. One-off seat done flawlessly by Ginger at New Church Moto keeps me warm on the highway, and a cool hand-bent headlight bracket from Rob at Turners Customs in Yucaipa, California. Duran’s Quality Painting in Baldwin Park, California, finished it off with a perfect paint job. They’re a bunch of old lowrider dudes who still have the magic touch.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: Let's go over where the name came from. A few years back I was in the middle of a '51 panhead build. I had just picked up a ratchet-top tranny from NC that came with a black cast kicker arm, (you know the one). Well, my buddy Jeff Spaid was stoked on it and I was building a chrome queen at the time so I had no need for it. It was his now. A couple months went by and he changed his mind on the kicker arm because it didn't fit his “Shitty Glitter” like he thought it would. So it ended up a piece collecting dust on what he calls a parts bench, “Cause ain't no work getting done there.” Well, time went by and this shovelhead came into my life. I made some mods to it, changed some tins but something wasn't right. Then came this brilliant idea. I called my buddy Brian over at Old Glory Co to give me a hand, and as usual, no hesitation, (he might have actually been waiting around the corner from my house with nothing to do) he shows up quick and we wait for the sun to set. I say,"Now, Jeff gets off at 6 and the girls are inside, so slow is smooth and smooth is fast." Brian and I jump on some flat-tired mountain-bikes to ride down the alley and start working on the lock to Jeff's garage, door opens right up, no lock. It's like God himself was in agreement. It took us about 30 minutes to get 10 feet through this garage with all the booby traps, slick oil and ball bearings on the ground but we managed to find the kicker arm and find a safer way towards the exit. Now this is where I went wrong. I thought, “You know, it'd be funny to leave a tool running.” Jeff doesn't have a garage door opener, so he'll have to walk into this dark garage wondering if someone is in there waiting to hit him over the head with a black kicker pedal, or something. We get his drill and prop it up on his parts bench to keep the trigger engaged and we bail. We didn't get halfway down the alleyway when guess who turns the corner, yep, Jeff on ‘Shitty Glitter’. Thank God that bike has never had a light on the front of it worth calling a headlight, ‘cause what I felt was lightning fast at the time was extremely delayed as we swerved into some trash cans in the alley and hid behind them. Brian didn't hide, but as long as he ain't smiling, ain't nobody catching that dude in alley at night! Jeff rides right along, without the slightest clue of our existence. Brian and I begin to limp the mountain bikes back to my place. It wasn't but 5 minutes later I get a text from Jeff, as if he knew where every damn master link clip in his garage was, he simply asked: "Hey, were you in my garage and did you take that kicker pedal?" Brian and I lost it. Long story longer, the pedal looked killer on the shovel, he knew it, I knew it and Jeff said, "You better keep it... Indian Giver."
Thanks to my beautiful wife for eating dinner alone countless nights and binge watching Netflix series by herself though the weekends, everyone who had a hand on this rig, and Ryan for the rad photos and good times shooting it. Cheers! -Efrian
Article and photographs by Ryan Loughridge / @_loughridge_