The Daily: El Zun Zun


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





Thanks to:

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 ( THIS IS THE MAN THAT PAINTS BIRDS! I'll let the pics do the talking here

Henri Thomassen ( 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.



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Commented on 11-25-2009 At 07:56 am

wow!!! the bike looks great,i hope all those lil birds get you laid

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 08:12 am

BIke is nice, birds are nice, paint is nice, just not really keen on the total package. Then again, I'm not keen on wolves and eagles and Indians (American Indians painted on people's motorcycles), or horses or pine trees or kenmore washer/dryer combinations painted on motorcycles....

IN my tiny opinion, scallops, lace and metal flake can never be over done. Of course, I'm still trapped in the 70s so fergive me....

But the work is definitely 1st Class.

~Rev Mike

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 09:52 am

One of my favorite scoots on the road now. In a sea full of 60-70s cookie cutter paint jobs it's really nice to see something fresh. Who wound have thought that NOT having a lace, metal flake, pink, paint job from today's retro hip painter would be original?


Commented on 11-25-2009 At 12:28 pm

I've always been a fan of flake and candy, but I'm really impressed with the thought that went into the paintwork on this bike.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 01:17 pm

Beautiful bike but I am DEADLY afraid of getting my jeans and boots ripped open by a dam belt drive.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 01:53 pm

I hear ya Konaboy, there's a stiff wire mesh guard on the front of the belt that makes it next to impossible to catch your leg, unless you really stick it in there...

thanks for the comments you crazy guys, that's the thing that makes chops so cool; each one is yours and yours alone.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 02:35 pm

Seen your bike on a few blogs already when you go to shows. Nice to see the breakdown. It is cool that you broke the mold on paint.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 02:42 pm

Nice bike! Like the whole deal.


Commented on 11-25-2009 At 04:43 pm

Tweet, Tweet...It's a bird, it's...a Motorbike?

Nice job, different and fresh.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 04:46 pm

I can dig it

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 04:52 pm

Nice ride, Ryan, and I appreciate seeing something done different... I can tell also that the bike is made to ride... :)

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 05:07 pm

Dude .... Awesome los zun zuns....Great job!!!

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 06:09 pm

Very cool and unique...

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 06:31 pm

that is a sweet paint job, it nice to see something that isnt either flat black or flaked.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 07:40 pm

i was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this bike at the screamin chicken in san berdoo...truly is a sight to behold.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 07:43 pm

Wow nice job

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 08:25 pm

I'll be stoked to see Ryan's how-to on the tailight casting.

Commented on 11-25-2009 At 09:15 pm

Nice. I want a shovel now.

Commented on 11-26-2009 At 07:12 am


i love this bike...especially for the paint-job!

and i was posting on my blog, any foto found here and there... in several pages!

finally... i can see her in details!!


Commented on 11-26-2009 At 08:04 pm

Whole bike is rockin' but the hummingbirds are just insane. I also can't wait for the tail lens tech.

Commented on 11-27-2009 At 09:41 am

Fucking A! Love it.

Commented on 11-27-2009 At 09:41 am

Fucking A! Love it.

Commented on 11-27-2009 At 11:39 pm

this bike is off the hook! looks like your thinkin outside the metal flake and lace box!

Commented on 11-28-2009 At 07:45 pm

Rad.........Fucking.....R A D !!!! x love it

Commented on 11-29-2009 At 04:04 am

I knew I seen this sled at the screaming chicken! Nice!!
I'm kinda like those birds, because I gotta big pecker, too.

Commented on 11-29-2009 At 11:22 pm

I'm disappointed that it took this many comments to get to that, dalebfast, thank you sir. That is good stuff right there ;)

Commented on 11-29-2009 At 11:22 pm

I'm disappointed that it took this many comments to get to that, dalebfast, thank you sir. That is good stuff right there ;)

Commented on 12-4-2009 At 11:16 am

Nice bike, I like what you did with the headlight!

Commented on 12-16-2009 At 10:19 pm

I have to bump this back up just for Ryan. I don't think I noticed the battery cover before with the list of figures. That is a great touch. The bike has a certain jai ne se qua that kinda grows on ya. But I can't really say what it is. (wait for the onslaught of French lessons...)

~Reverend Mike

~Le pasteur Michel

Commented on 2-13-2010 At 12:23 pm

i still think this is one of the coolest bikes i have seen in a long time!

Commented on 6-13-2010 At 04:59 pm

i love it. uniqueness is hard to find now a days when everyone is stuck in the 70's.

Commented on 4-24-2012 At 11:10 am

Somebody loves birds....and I love shovelheads

Commented on 8-26-2012 At 04:25 am

Think the bike is cool as hell.stoped by Gary's in Stratford he showed me a pic of your bike good to see to runs in the family.

Commented on 8-26-2012 At 04:41 am

Think the bike is cool as hell.stoped by Gary's in Stratford he showed me a pic of your bike good to see to runs in the family.

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