Saturday, September 21, 2024 ✦ Noon to 7pm

Ditch Chicken

Words: Kurt Diserio - Photos: Alexa Diserio
  • 2011 KIKKER HARDKNOCK
    Built by Jerry McGinty
    Owned by Estle Harp
  • Shown at Glory Daze 2022
  • Published in Pittsburgh Moto - Issue No. 13
  • This motorcycle demands your attention. You could look at it for hours trying to figure out what all of the parts are or where they came from. For instance, the brake fluid reservoir is actually a brass mill grinder from Croatia. As the bike’s builder, Jerry McGinty, put it, “The machine is a rolling amalgamation of steel, glass, brass, copper, leather, rust, bamboo, silver, stainless, and Ti.”

    We first saw this wild creation at the Mods. vs. Rockers event last year and reached out to the owner, Estle Harp, about including it in Glory Daze that September. The fun bike garnered a lot of attention throughout the event. We felt it needed a proper feature, so we met up with Estle at his place in Butler to learn more about the work involved and what it means to own such a unique, one-off custom motorcycle.

    This is an extremely interesting motorcycle. Who built it, and how did you end up with it?
    Estle Harp: Jerry McGinty built it. He lives a little west of Erie, Pennsylvania. I saw him at the Cafe Racer show one year. He brought a few other bikes down there through the years, so I asked him if he’d ever thought about selling any of his bikes. I fully expected him to say no, but he said that he was thinking about it in order to make some room in the garage for new projects. The only condition is that I’d have to buy all four of his custom builds. Jerry really wanted them to go to someone who would appreciate them. I told him that he was looking at the guy.

    He’s a really nice guy who is very creative. He just proves to not throw anything away because it could become useful at some point.

    Are all four of the bikes you bought different from each other?
    EH: They’re similar in style but use their own pieces. The only thing that’s the same is the motor and frame. I’d have to say that this is my favorite of the four. It was the last one built, and he obviously put a lot of time and thought into it.
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    When did your motorcycle obsession get started?
    EH: I probably got into bikes about fifteen-to-twenty years ago. I was a big Honda guy and had way too many bikes. I had over fifty Hondas at one point, but it was too much to take care of. So, I started selling a bunch of them here and there–some I wish that I hadn’t sold. I had two Honda police bikes from the 1960s. I swore that I wouldn’t sell them, but someone offered me the right price, and they went to South Africa.

    Are you originally from the Butler area?
    EH: I grew up in Allison Park but moved out here in 1986 and started the Fun Park. It used to have a go-kart track that we ran for thirty-one years. Now, we just run the mini golf.

    What made you buy the bikes, this one in particular?
    EH: I just have an interest in creative things. Stuff like this only comes along once in a while. To me, it’s a piece of art, and I’m really grateful to own it. I feel fortunate because you know he put his heart and soul into that thing.

    What motor and frame is this?
    EH: It’s similar to a 200cc Honda, basically a Chinese clone. The frame is from a company in California called Kikker. I think they make the front end, too.
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    What odd pieces were used throughout the motorcycle?
    EH: The handlebars are a turnbuckle. The mirror is from a brass candlestick. The kickstand is a wood-boring bit. The tail light is from an old amusement park ride. The license plate bracket is a cheese grater. It uses an old car jack for the center stand. The tank bib was fabbed from a fancy horse tack. Jerry said he was at an auction somewhere, and some young Amish kid bought a whole bunch of tack. His dad said it was too fancy, and he wasn’t allowed to have it. So, the kid sold all of it to him for five dollars.

    Do you have any favorite parts?
    EH: I really like the mailbox door used on the battery box. Also, the back side of the headlight is from a gas light out of an old house, and the center part of the headlight is an old, rusty four-inch sewer pipe. The footpegs are tree-climbing spikes. They hurt, too, because I cranked my ankle off of one. It made me dance.

    What does it mean to see someone put together such a creative motorcycle?
    EH: He kind of inspired me to maybe do a couple of my own. I have all kinds of junk around here that I could use.
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
    Kikker Hardknock motorcycle custom bobber steampunk Jerry McGinty Glory Daze Pittsburgh
  • 2011 KIKKER HARDKNOCK
  • Owned by ESTLE HARP
    Built by JERRY MCGINTY
  • Originally published by PITTSBURGH MOTO
  • Words by KURT DISERIO
  • Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
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