This tidy shovelhead is named after Loser Machine Company, the motorcycle apparel brand pro skateboarder Adrian Lopez co-founded in 2009. Why a helmet and fashion brand for chopper fanatics, and not just another deck or t-shirt company? Because even though he skates to live, Adrian is practical enough to realize you can't always live to skate. When this vet pro and young entrepreneur does find free time around his obligations to skating and sponsors, he likes to ride motorcycles.
How does a 20-something guy who grew up on X-Box and X Games develop a taste for two-wheeled rebellion served '70s style? Adrian's answer comes faster than his skate clips on YouTube. “My taste for choppers comes from my love for the old Frisco club bikes in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Those machines were shortened up and narrowed down to make them easier to ride in the city. Skateboarders are naturally drawn to speed and the freedom. I don’t think riding bikes is a trend for skateboarders—it’s an evolution. The history and cultures of skateboarding and motorcycles are similar because both scenes have always existed on the fringes of society. I’ll be stoked if Loser Machine can be a part of that.”
Okay then—why helmets, hoodies and t-shirts for chopper guys instead of decks and wheels under a more recognizable name, say Lopez Skates? Does the leap from grinding handrails to riding shovelheads seem like a stretch? "I knew skateboarding didn’t need another apparel brand that follows the same old rules and formula. We saw the evolution of skateboarding and riding bikes happening, and getting older on a skateboard is like aging in dog years—every year I skate feels like seven on my body. I was excited to have a brand that can go into skate shops as well as motorcycle shops. Loser is about what we love to do. No rules."
Clearly, Adrian Lopez is a man with a plan. In an inspired bit of savvy co-branding, that plan included relying on an established anti-hero in the chopper game to help build his machine. The bike Kutty Noteboom at Hippy Killer Garage built for Adrian the chopper entrepreneur is a lot like Adrian the skater: tough, compact, and with loads of style.
After becoming friends during the build, Kutty asked Adrian and his partners at LMC to help manufacture the skate decks and high-end apparel that features the HKG moniker. The timing for Adrian and Kutty's bikes-for-boards program was perfect, and a new aesthetic for both companies was born.
As many younger motorcycle enthusiasts see it, guys like Adrian Lopez and Loser Machine are good for today's scene. Left in the hands of the old guard, today's "custom motorcycle" aesthetic would languish in a sea of fringe jackets and flame-print t-shirts forever. With Losers like Adrian and his partners Dennet and Kevin pushing stuff in a new direction, the days of chaps and 'do rags might finally be over.
Builder: Hippy Killer Garage; Kutty Noteboom, proprietor Motor: '74 shovelhead from a tweaker in El Cajon, CA Frame: Custom Freddy Hernandez, no rake, no stretch; built compact to fit Adrian's 5'7", 130-pound frame
Fork: Shortened and shaved 39mm Sportster
Primary: BDL narrow open belt
Front wheel: 21" on a spool hub
Rear wheel: 18" on a H-D juice drum
Foot controls: HKG custom
Pipe: HKG custom with Biltwell kit
Motor engraving: Mark Cooper of Riverside, CA
Motor builder: Lauren's Engines Seat: Duane Ballard
fringe jackets aren't cool?