The Digger

I spotted this beauty at Southern California’s “Back to the Beach” celebration of vintage and custom cars. It looks like it is right out of the early 1970s Bay Area. I am pretty sure that the Digger style bike was pioneered by Arlen Ness. You can say what you will about ole Arlen (okay, okay the 1957 Chevy bike sucks balls), but he has been an innovator from the word go – way back in the late sixties. He has been a major player in the motorcycle scene since Jesus first fired up his chrome framed Triumph show bike. Diggers are usually defined by either their big rake and gooseneck or big rake without any stretch.

Long and low are the hallmarks of the Digger. The cool part of the original Digger movement is that it came along when gold leaf and crazy graphics were in vogue. This specimen is no exception. The gas tank graphic looks like it was inspired by a Geiger drawing, you know the guy who drew the aliens from the Aliens movies.

Look at that crazy white fiberglass bodywork and the coffin style gas tank. Look at those struts in the place of the shocks. Note how the bike has been left a swingarm. I am pretty sure that is either an Arlen Ness or a Fred’s Frames springer. The whole bodywork kit was available aftermarket as was he frame. Is it a catalog bike? I don’t know, but it is cool…

One of the great things about the Digger style bike is that its influence lives on. Check out this bad boy, built by Yoshi and Crew at the Garage Company. Get some of that.

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