Once upon a time, common chopper paint themes to "scare the squares" were flames and skulls, swazis and spread-eagle hippy chicks. What to do when they've all been used up and beat to metalflake death? Why, hummingbirds, of course. Los Angeles' Ryan Harrigan bought a shovel with a perfect stance, lots of period mods and bits, but it wasn't his own until it looked exactly like nothing else on the streets of LA.
Here's what Ryan has to say about the bike:
Frame and assembly by Wes White at Four Aces; engine and drivetrain work by Frank Kaisler; paint by Jaime Chaves; photos by Henri Thomassen
The paint was really inspired by the bike. The bike was low, slim, and fast as hell even with the original 74" shovel in there. So, what's small, powerful, and flies like a mofo? Hummingbirds!
My good friend Jaime had previously painted birds for South American field guides, but had never painted on metal before. So, we bought a bunch of acrylic paint and started to experiment. Many beers and hours later, the results were so much better than I could ever expect! We inked the flowers on the tank, fender, and headlight in black, and put a different metal leaf on each bird just to give them each a little pop. Background is spray can heirloom white, and figure numbers and latin names were added via clear transparency film to look like old plate artwork from the 19th century. I then laid a clear matte that's super UV-protected over the whole thing.
The tail light kept the theme going, I was inspired by the old warbird custom lights, but I wanted something even cooler. Stay tuned to ChopCult for an entire DIY on fabricating your own custom light.
I think it's pretty corny, but the bike is affectionately named "EL Zun Zun", which means hummingbird in the Caribbean. It doesn't have a translation, hummingbirds are just called that on the islands because they're always buzzing around town, "Zzzzzzz". Kinda fits the shovelhead, too, if you ask me.
Owner: Ryan Harrigan
Location: Los Angeles
Engine: '75 shovelhead
Frame: '75 FXE 1200
Fork: Harley 45 springer
Chassis mods: hardtailed at Four Aces
Tire/wheel size and style: rear—18" Harley rim/Firestone tire; front—19" Takasago rim/Cheng Shin tire (hasn't failed me yet!)
Doodads: one-off taillight, sissy bar (Wes), engraved points cover, $2.47 primary guard, some very nice brass pegs from Hippie Killer, gun-blued gas cap and shift linkage, latin figure legend!
Favorite thing about this bike: total cheese, but the personal connections that had to be made to get it done!
Next modifications: dual-cam front brake—you need brakes in LA
Four Aces Cycle Supply. Don't let Wes's sick Triumphs fool you—he's a Harley guy deep down. This bike was assembled at his shop
Frank Kaisler: The legend. The engine runs strong because of him, and he ensures that it stays that way by dishing out the best advice whenever I see him
Jaime Chaves (firstname.lastname@example.org): THIS IS THE MAN THAT PAINTS BIRDS! I'll let the pics do the talking here
Henri Thomassen (email@example.com): Henri took the pics at the old garage in Hollywood that was slated to be torn down. Thanks for spending a Saturday capturing an old bike and an old garage for old time's sake.