We jokingly call overdone choppers "Long Winter" bikes, since they look like a motivated owner must have been locked in a basement all winter with nothing to do but add more nonsense and decoration to his freedom machine. Grant's orange beast is a shining example of the opposite - clean, subtle, purposeful and timeless. It may seem simple at first glance, but it's a sleeper with plenty of details to admire.
Owner name, location: Grant Peterson, Long Beach, CA
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1978 HD Shovelhead, 74ci, rebuilt by Smokey in LB, CA
Fork: 1949 wide glide, 6-over, shaved trees, shaved lowers
Chassis mods: Panhead hardtail including rear tranny mount, high gloss powdercoat by Americoat in Orange, CA
Tire/wheel size and style: front 21” Speedmaster/WM-1 Jones rim, stainless spokes, JR Cycle spool, built by Wheel Works in GG, CA. Rear Firstone 4.00-19 on an early sportster 19” rim, stainless spokes, star hub, by owner
Favorite thing about this bike: My taillight. And maybe simplicity and stance (it was a lot of work to make it look simple…)
Next modification will be: I have already built the bike 5 different times…I want to put a star hub and a Glide drum on the front
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Narrowed early sportster tank, moved filler and petcock, lowered tunnel (all to look stock), tank mounted switches, narrowed early sportster rear fender, skirts cut off, double wall added for strength, narrowed early sportster taillight, lens, and bezel to look stock off something…, custom sissy bar, custom exhaust, all sheetmetal and metal work by owner. Seat pan by me, upholstery by Rudy of Auto Upholstery of Orange. Paint is Oakland Orange single stage by Harpoon, paint polish by Gary Gastmier, chrome by Buena Park Chrome, aluminum polish by Dean’s Polishing, frame powdercoating by Americoat in Orange, CA, Rebuilt ratchet lid 4-speed help from Domenic Mingirulli, 25 tooth tranny sprocket, kustom exotic wood shift knob, Lee pedal from Scott Craig, tin inner and outer primary, BDL 1 ½” belt and BDL clutch, FMA bars, Glide risers, ’58-62 juice drum in the rear…
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: I built this thing 5 different times in my little garage. It was a cheap swingarm cone shovel I bought off craigslist 4 or 5 years ago and I tweeked it every 6 months or so. Did a lot with it while it was a swingarm mule and it just ran great. Harpoon and I would burn up miles whenever we could. The last incarnation had a tall sissy bar I made to mount to the fender which mounted to the swingarm and I kept breaking either the fender or sissy bar and finally got sick if it and found a jacked panhead frame at the long beach swap for $250 that had a nice rear section. I am not a fan of aftermarket hardtails on shovels and even then I have my issues. I have done welding and fabrication for over a decade in various shops and on my own and am very picky about details so I used the back of the panhead frame including the rear tranny mount on the front half of my stock shovel frame which I needed for the VIN on the neck. It turned out great, but I would just throw it in a straightleg frame if I did it again!
I spent countless hours on the sheetmetal fab too. I like mods that don’t show or aren’t obvious, so there are a ton of narrowed sportster tanks out there, but not like this one. Look at the bottom of them and they always have a flat bottom and a big old petcock sticking out the back. That’s fine, but not what I wanted. The taillight maybe my favorite thing on the bike, but it is so comfortable for me now that I love riding this thing sooo much! Just got back from riding to AZ for the Love Cycles party and it didn’t miss a beat. Lots of dudes are all nuts for mids and all that but I am a tall big guy and the stock forwards put my legs in about a 90 degree bend and that with the comfort of our FMA bars I am in heaven.
Thanks to: My righteous Old Lady The QP, Harpoon www.choppedout.blogspot.com, Domenic, Jimmy White, and Chop Cult of course.
We should mention that Grant is also a big part of the brain trust organizing Born Free 4 and that you can buy tickets for a chance to win two other shovelheads here.