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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The subject pretty much explains it all. That's the kind of bike I've more or less decided on because they're just my style. Now... How do I make one? Cause it would kinda be the easy way out to buy someone elses, y'know? Books... sites... any advice at all... Thanks.

Bill
 

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Bill,

I've built at least a dozen 'choppers' from scratch. If you are a proficient mechanic the process is rather clear. If you are not then I suggest you buy a bike and modify it to suit your needs and tastes.

If you are going to go from scratch you'll need to decide on the components such as engine, transmission, frame type and brand, wheels, brakes, front end, sheet metal, guages, electric components such as ignition, lights, including turn signals etc. Then you must find out how 'special construction' or 'hand built' motorcycles get titled in your state. What are the requirements for the vehicle as the motor vehicle department delineates them, and other such trivial considerations.

THen you can start to acquire the components, mock them together to see what additional mounting brakets and tabs are going to be required. Take it all apart, add those accomodations and mock it back together again. Be sure it all fits. Decide on finishes such as chrome, paint, etc. take it apart again have the various finishes applied and start the assembly process. Before you get it all together have it wired and then finish the assembly. Sounds easy....wrong...you'll find a thousand reasons to pull your hair during the process.

Unless you feel like you must do this, I'd suggest you go buy a running and titled motorcycle and you can modify it to suit you. THe expense of buying each component and all the fastners and pieces are far higher than the modification of an already built bike.

Just one man's humble opinion !

manny
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, price is a serious consideration for me... Can you turn pretty much any cruiser into a chopper? I don't wanna start the suggestion thing again since I'm pretty sure I might get lynched for it.

Anyway, thanks for the help.

Bill
 

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I suppose there are limited parts for cruisers...other than HD. But the predominant market is for HD alteration. You can always buy an older bike and go from there...you can't have it all.

If your money is limited I'd suggest you save til you can afford a Harley. The big problem is that there is virtually no resale value in 'cruisers' other than Harleys...if, of course, that is what you're talking about.

You won't get lynched for suggesting another brand but this is a Harley Davidson Forum...LOL !

manny
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nah, I wasn't worried about that. However, I had a rather long thread or two asking what type of harley I should get, and I didn't want to start another on what kind of harley I should chop. Oh well.

Is it easy to rake out forks?

Bill
 

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yeah, but it screws up the handling geometry.

Soft tails are the easiest to chop because the parts are common to 'chopper' type bikes.

get a softail...ride it a while and look at other bikes in comparison...you'll develop a 'feel' for what you want as compared to other bikes. You'll be able to see a lot of softail 'choppers' and take from those you see the tings that you'd like to incorporate in yours. Successful chopper builders start with a concept and develop the total package from there.

Softails are the closest to rigid frame so they are most adaptable.

I think you'd be happy to start with a softail and progress from there.

manny
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Groovy then... I've got a target... I was thinking of either a soft-tail or a lowrider anyway... Either that or buying a rigid chasis, but I think I want to get some experience before I do that.


Bill

P.S. I really love the raked out look. I guess I'll have to talk some poor bastard into letting me ride his before I make that decision.
 

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After you've ridden a bike for a while , when you tear down to make some changes , you can have the frame stretched and raked by a reputable frame builder. THen you can make additional changes as you go along. I believe in making changes one step at a time so you don't end up with an ill-handling beast. I've built some rather hard to ride bikes in my 30+ years. They were not all as roadworthy as I might have thought in designing them.

I ride a softail Street Stalker and a dresser now. THe stock softail is about as reliable a chopper look as I can say I've ever ridden. I've had some raked, stretched bikes that were almost 12 feet long and, although they went very straight, they didn't do well in the turns.

Don't get too radical on your first try...you might regret the changes and they are more expensive to reverse than to do in the first place.

Take your time and start with easy, cosmetic changes first...you might be surprised at how happy you'll be with those before you get 'crazy.'

Jesse James' bikes look cool but they are far from practical on long road trips. Unless you have a film crew and a breakdown truck full of mechanics travelling with you, like he did in the TV Show. His bikes are barhopping show bikes...they wouldn't feel too good on a long ride. You will learn the difference as you progress.

Good Luck,


manny
 

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In 1972 I made a 56 pan chopper. It was easy just took everything off I didn't want. Tank, rear fender, front end, exh. Then put on a 14 over narrowed front end 19" tire, no brakes"cool then" Sporty tank, and seat, "not many parts then" and a chopped rear fender and drag pipes.
In 75 had a 69 sporty with 6" over front and M bars and drag pipes.
Just find what you can and start removeing what you dont like and add what you do. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Eh, I'm just getting ahead of myself anyway... I don't have the money yet... But I'm saving.

Soon.

Bill
 

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OK, here's a question, when you build one from the ground up, how do you get the thing titled?

My OM is wanting to build a chopper, but we aren't sure how you go about getting a title for it.
 

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Each state has their own laws and regulations. First thing is to check with the Motor Vehicle department where you live. Keep every receipt you get for every part you buy, including bills of sale.

Some states call them special construction, some call them home built I'm sure there are other names. Your state will have a set of requirements that you will have to follow and inspections you will have to go through...

Check in your state first to learn what requirements they have.

manny
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
manny said:
Take your time and start with easy, cosmetic changes first...you might be surprised at how happy you'll be with those before you get 'crazy.'
It's not just the cosmetics I'm after though... This is the main reason I'm not dying to build a bike that looks like a Jesse James bike, the hunched over seating position looks about as comfortable as being raped by a 400 pound gorrilla (I.E. not very comfortable). I want something with a seating position more layed back. Eh.

I want, I want, I want, I want...

Anyway... I think I'm gunna start looking for a soft tail.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's going in the favorites list. With the stuff from that page, I can buy a Suzuki or a Kawasaki and rake it out and put on the custom stuff I need to make it look like I want, without paying for the harley yet. I still want the harley some day, and I'm still gunna frequent this page and harass all of you, but I think I can actually pull off the *** chopper in the near future. Huzzah!

Bill
 

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Ya gotta take insurance rates into consideraion too...........
A regular bike is a few hundred per year. A custom or home built will likely put you OVER $1000 per year. If money is a hurdle check that out too.
 
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