What We Ride: Ryan Loughridge's Thunderhorse


Ryan Loughridge joined our team last year and has been producing quality features ever since. You can also see Ryan's imagery gracing the pages of Dice Magazine and Show Class Magazine to name a few. Most of Ryan's features are attained by riding "Thunderhorse" to, during and from the shoots. Please take a moment to enjoy Ryan's personal bike.


Words and photography by Ryan Loughridge.

I found this bike on Craigslist and managed to talk my wife into a detour on a road trip to Colorado. Tucson isn’t exactly a minor detour from Orange County to Denver, but she was down. We loaded the dogs into the truck and headed out. I’ll admit that I was pretty bummed that the bike wouldn’t start when I got to Tucson Teddy’s place to check out the bike. He swore it was a bad ignition or coils, so I bought it on good faith. The fact that the motor had good compression and the good looks of a recently added Haifley Brothers hard-tail kit were all the other reasons I needed.


To be honest, I had some buyer’s remorse at first. The whole ‘built not bought’ phrase kept echoing in my head, a phrase that means different things to different people. I felt that I had just skipped crucial steps in chopper-dom. I kept reminding myself that I knew I was going to change it up and make it my own. Granted, ol’ Tucson Teddy had hard-tailed it, and put some rad parts on her, but there was still a lot left to do, a lot that I would learn to do.


I’ve owned bikes off and on since I was about 11 years old. My first bike was a family friend’s 1980 Yamaha GT80 that my stepdad bought. I learned how to ride on that thing and when I would dump it, I would get chewed out. Instead of my stepdad showing me how to fix it (he was a mechanic), he’d throw some insults at me and take it away. Never losing the desire to work on cars or bikes, I took it upon myself to learn what I could in my mid-twenties. The biggest help was from my pal, William, who gave me my motorcycle crash course. Maybe he took pity on me, maybe he knew there were usually cold beers in my fridge. Regardless, together we have ripped a few bikes apart, slapped them back together, made some cool parts and have ridden them to hell and back.


The point is this: I have learned a lot from motorcycles and this bike has been the one that has taught me the most. It has left me stranded on the side of the road countless times, it has given me grief and it has been strewn across my garage in hundreds of pieces. I have fucked it up, it has fucked me up and yet I am still happy to call it mine.



Owner name, location: Ryan Loughridge, Costa Mesa, CA

Bike name: “The Thunderhorse.” After I picked it up and the wife and I were continuing on our trip, I started joking about what I should name the bike. She looked at me like I was dumb. “Well, it has Denver Broncos colors on the tank. So, something to do with that.” It was easy to name it after that. HAIL PEYTON!

Engine/tranny, year and make, model, modifications: 2003 Anniversary 883 Sportster NRHS 1250 jugs Andrews N4 Cams



Frame/Rake: Haifley Brothers hard-tail kit, Stock rake.

Front End: 6" over, 39mm

Tire/wheel size and style: 16” Solid mag rear, 21” front with Avon Speedmaster Tires.



Favorite thing about this bike: It pops wheelies and has taught me more than I ever thought I’d know about bikes.

Next modification will be: Carb cleaning and making a new points cover, maybe a foot clutch and jockey shift one day.

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc.: Since owning this sketchy little Sportster, I’ve chopped the cam and sprocket covers, swapped the cams for Andrews N4s, and added a 1250 kit. Hacked up Zombie Performance Mini-Hybrid Apes, cut them and gave them more pull-back without the drop of their El Guapo bars. Complete 6” over forks that I scored on craigslist for $100. Old-Stf air-cleaner. The steering damper is awesome. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! I’ve installed a couple of ignitions, rewired it a few times, customized the sissy bar, hacked the handlebars, changed up the front-end, pieced together little things like exhaust brackets. I’ve literally torn it down and built it back up a couple of times now. The best part is, I probably see myself doing that a few more times while I own her.


Knowing that I was going to have to eventually do this article for ChopCult, I took the opportunity to finish up some cosmetic touches. I just recently got the sissy bar and oil bag chromed. Also, I took a stab at painting the tank and fender myself and, true to fashion, I kept it Denver Broncos colors.



Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: This bike is so much fun to rip around on. It’s nimble, quick and pops wheelies. It really is the most fun I’ve ever had on a motorcycle. Since owning this bike, there is hardly a part on it that I haven’t wrenched on or tinkered with. It has been my dissection experiment.



Huge thanks to my wife Cris, you know how happy this stuff makes me, I love ya! Love to my daughter Grey, for reminding me to get home safe. Big thanks to William Vickers for the countless hours of help in the garage and for being a top-notch friend. Thanks to Tony Nguyen at Landspeed Motorcycle Shop, you’re a solid dude and your shop resembles that. Shout out to my dad for filling my brain with all your tales of riding bikes in your youth and for sticking a camera in my hands at a young age. Thanks to my mom for instilling a sense of adventure in my life, what better adventure than seeing the world and meeting people than on two wheels. Shout out to everyone I have met through motorcycles and everyone that has given the dorky guy with a camera a chance to kick it with them. Thanks to Lisa Ballard, for making me a part of the ChopCult family. Thanks to Iron & Resin, Sweatshop Industries, Spaggettys Garage, Steve at Burbank Moto, Dirty Business, BeerBreed, and Bill at Biltwell. Props to all the other moto photogs that continue to inspire me and keep me on my toes. To everyone who makes riding bikes a part of their lives, it’s a great thing we have. Last and definitely not the least, let’s not forget them CrickBoys!

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Comment with Chopcult (4)

Commented on 1-14-2016 At 12:39 pm

Hell yeah!!! Best guy ever, and awesome bike. Stoked to see this feature pop up today.

Commented on 1-14-2016 At 08:46 pm


Commented on 1-15-2016 At 01:54 pm

Thanks for the parts plug. Nice read, good looking sporty.

Commented on 1-15-2016 At 05:30 pm

Nice man! Looks freakin great!

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