You could say Ron Garner is a bit of a tweaker. The let's-take-it-apart-and-make-it-cooler sort. It's an affinity that's been a part of him ever since he and his brother were kids, whether it involved cobbling together a trike for their paper route or fixing up a '68 VW when they were just 14 years old. As they grew older, they'd buy basket case after basket case, fixing them up and driving them 'til the wheels fell off.
Adulthood eventually reared its ugly head, and the two young men found themselves working in construction, which isn't a shock considering how much they love working with their hands. Time went on, and in 1999 Ron got more and more into bikes after seeing Jesse James' and Billy Lane's work. Eventually he took a chance and bought a Heritage Softail that he tweaked a bit. Later on he picked up a Road King that he stripped to the frame and rebuilt with some distinct modifications.
That was the spark which ignited the fire. Ron, his wife Courtney, and their two kids moved out to Castaic, California, and, inspired by his own work on his Road King, Ron started Santa Clarita Choppers (SCC) out of his garage, which he converted to a mini workshop. About a year later he committed himself to his side gig full-time.
But if you're going to be a full-time professional anything, you need to showcase your work to the public, and that's where this bike, SCC's drop-seat rigid chopper, enters the picture. Ron had some design ideas and applied them to making this machine into a rolling advertisement for his work.
The flagship piece of this chopper is its rigid frame with drop-seat construction. Erwin at Diamond Chassis set it up so Diamond would make SCC's frames. This one features a 2-inch-diameter downtube and is stretched 8 inches up, 4 more out, and raked 45 degrees to set the stage for a pretty big chopper. Ron used 60-spoke wheels with an Avon 250 rear tread to bulk up the back. Up front, they used a 9-foot, 6-inch Red Neck Springer fork set to give the rigid some serious length.
While all of that was happening, Ron was busy with other aspects of the chopper. He put together a 96-inch S&S; Evo-style motor that was later muscled into the frame and joined to a RevTech six-speed transmission with a BDL clutch and beltdrive. After tossing in some stylish Samson pipes and a Dyna ignition, the powerplant and driveline equations were solved, and the bike was really starting to come together.
Which brings us to the skinny on the skin. Ron cut and welded a fender out back; it's of the strutless persuasion to keep the clutter factor down at the rear. He also created a round oil sack that fit quite nicely into the frame and topped off the sheetmetal with a West Coast Choppers Villain gas tank. After that it was off to paint, where Paintworx entered the scene and zapped Custom Metallic Gold on the fender and tank, followed by a '50s-style pinstripe job.
Some curing time later, it was on to the final build. Performance Machine hand and foot controls were used up top and down low, with the former set on the ends of Flanders drag bars. As for illumination, a Hammer headlight and ProFab tail shed some light on that subject. Once the Vidal seat was snugly in its place, the SCC rigid was up and ready to rock.
It was a good thing that this chop came together so well, because right about the time it was done Ron and Courtney bit the bullet and opened a full-on dedicated shop-vendors don't like dealing with home garage builders, and the Garners were getting enough business to justify the leap. In fact, Mrs. Garner quit her job, too, and now works with her hubby full-time. Eventually, they took another jump when fate granted them the chance to move shop into a set of digs with a larger street-front showroom. Since then business has been good to Ron; he told us, "I'm doing what I love to do, and my family is extremely supportive of my dreams." Which means this drop-seat rigid has done a bang-up job as a rolling ad.