As old-school Ness as it gets.
As chopper legends go, Arlen Ness must be the king, as his business is still going strong after almost 50 years in the San Francisco bay area. He created a new ‘Bay Area’ style with his drag-bike inspired ‘diggers’ with lightweight tubing frames and ultra low seating. This ‘yellow chopper’ was built around a Harley-Davidson VL rigid frame about 1969, and Arlen says this is the 5th or 6th bike he built, “It is definitely old school.”
The motor is a 1969 Shovelhead bought from a Harley dealer, and to make the OHV engine fit, the top tube of the ‘single bar’ frame was replaced, and the exhausts (drag pipes) had to be re-made, with straight-through ‘shotgun’ outlets. As with most mix-n-match customs, the factory “didn’t make anything to fit, so we had to modify.”
The front forks are early Ness springers with a 4” extension, with drag-style handlebars to keep the profile of the machine low.
- Engine: 1969 H-D FL with Tillotsen carb. “Shifter is directly off the ratchet top.” Joe Hunt magneto.
- Chassis: modified H-D VL rigid, Ness springer forks, 21” front rim with Donny Rich billet hub (“They were the cool thing back then”), rear wheel stock hub on 16” rim.
- Headlight, taillight, seat and buddy pad are Bates. Grab rail is hand-made. “Rear fender is section of an automobile Continental Kit, with a rib down the middle.”
- Paint: “Candy pearl yellow with sort of a bird, with feathers” by Arlen Ness.