V-Twin Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With all the store bought choppers available out there it seems that the term "chopper" is just being commercialized the same way that terms like "old school cool, bob-job and Bro" have been abused as cool speak.

Ten - fifteen years ago a new species of bikers emerged called "R.U.B.S." (rich urban bikers) yet lately there is a new I am cooler than you type of biker who uses all the latest fashionable lingo that is available with their new riding store bought custom bikes they call choppers.
What's up with that?
I always understood that a chopper is a bike with a stock frame that the owner removed parts from and added custom pieces or made modifications to personalize it.
These store bought so-called choppers are ground up custom builds. So what are they customs or are they choppers because the name chopper just sounds cooler?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
378 Posts
Growing up in upstate New York in the '70's, to us chopper meant, incorrectly, long forks.

I also remember a local Yamaha dealer in Syracuse had a sign up saying "We will not work on choppers of any kind." Always wondered what was behind that.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
"Chopper" originally referred to chopping the frame in order to add length to the backbone and downtubes, and to change the angle of the neck.

"Bobber" came from removing everything unneccessary in order to lighten the bike for racing - you'd cut off or "bob" those big swoopy fenders that came stock, cut 'em down as small as was practical.

Guys would put a longer front end on to gain ground clearance for off-road racers. Some thought it looked cool. So if a 4" over front end looked kinda cool, then a 20" over would be REALLY cool..........but then the bike sits at an odd angle, so you chop the frame to add length to the backbone and downtubes, and/or change the angle of the steering neck.

So originally "choppers" were bikes that'd had the frames chopped and modified to allow extremely long front ends. Nobody built complete frames to accomodate long front ends, so any bike that had one was either chpped or it sat at a really strange angle. Since these new bikes are built from the ground up to have a long front end, they're not technically "choppers" since the frame hasn't been chopped, but they're called that because they look (somewhat) like the bikes that were "chopped" back in the day.

Lotsa shops wouldn't have anything to do with choppers because they were often very poorly built. A lot of folks with no experience just got after it with a hacksaw and an oxy-acetylene torch, so it wasn't unusual for chopped frames to break due to poor welds. And most guys knew nothing about rake and trail back then, so even if your chopper had good welds, there was a good chance that it would go into a death-wobble at higher speeds due to very little - or even negative - trail geometry. So that's were you get the old "chopper = deathtrap" thing from.

I've seen pics on e-bay of old '60s and '70s choppers that had negative trail so bad it was obvious in the pictures - like, 3 or 4 inches.
 

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
But do these new store bought "choppers" have any soul? Can a person just plop down a pile of green frog skins and buy some soul?

Do they deserve being classed as the real deal when they are as phony as silicone breasts implants? Look great but still artificial.:boobies:

Here is a picture of my old '68 Bonneville taken in '73 during a winter re-build. The rear sub frame was hacked off with a saw along with the rear fender. It was dropped with twisted chrome struts in the back with a Harley wheel laced to the Triumph hub and 8" over stock tubes and Sportster tank.
The frame and motor numbers matched but everything else was pretty much out of a Jammer catalog or made to fit.

Old school? Bobber? Chopper? Custom construction? Not sure what it would be called nowadays but back then I called it my scooter. :cool:
 

·
The Alter Ego
Joined
·
5,580 Posts
Jams said:
But do these new store bought "choppers" have any soul? Can a person just plop down a pile of green frog skins and buy some soul?

Do they deserve being classed as the real deal when they are as phony as silicone breasts implants? Look great but still artificial.:boobies:

Here is a picture of my old '68 Bonneville taken in '73 during a winter re-build. The rear sub frame was hacked off with a saw along with the rear fender. It was dropped with twisted chrome struts in the back with a Harley wheel laced to the Triumph hub and 8" over stock tubes and Sportster tank.
The frame and motor numbers matched but everything else was pretty much out of a Jammer catalog or made to fit.

Old school? Bobber? Chopper? Custom construction? Not sure what it would be called nowadays but back then I called it my scooter. :cool:

Know I'll get :flames: for this. But that looks like a death trap. Is it street legal?
 

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not when that picture was taken but it was eventually. :cool:
No carbs, cables or controls on it then but when she was finished she rode great. I was beating Sportsters in the 1/4 mile and beating them new fangled Kawi 500 2 strokes in 1/2 mile races.
Figured if I ever slid off the seat I would never have to worry about having kids.
 

·
The Alter Ego
Joined
·
5,580 Posts
Jams said:
Not when that picture was taken but it was eventually. :cool:
No carbs, cables or controls on it then but when she was finished she rode great. I was beating Sportsters in the 1/4 mile and beating them new fangled Kawi 500 2 strokes in 1/2 mile races.
Figured if I ever slid off the seat I would never have to worry about having kids.
Okay. Now I see. Bet it was cool then!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
378 Posts
Jams said:
beating them new fangled Kawi 500 2 strokes in 1/2 mile races. QUOTE]

That is impressive. There weren't many bikes that could beat those things (or the H2 750s) back then, as long as there were no turns.
 

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JRS said:
That is impressive. There weren't many bikes that could beat those things (or the H2 750s) back then, as long as there were no turns.
The 500 Mach I or what ever it was called would beat me off the line but I would smoke them at the 1/4 mile just like the big Harley's would gather me up at the 1/2 mile once they had all that slow moving momentum wound out.

The point is what is that bike compared to ground up custom from OCC?

Is it a back yard hack job because it wasn't build with the benefit of a CNC mill or CAD design software?
What is a chopper?:unsure:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
choppers

Personally, I like the old school look. I have looked at all those "Big Dogs" and such, but they never did anything for me. I grew up in the 60's and 70's so those big ass bikes with the huge rear tires and all that custom paint just look gawdy to me. Show bikes...bleh.

but....if that what some people like...go for it. I cant see spending 30-40k on a bike that you are afraid to ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
the word chopper is being over used, the true meaning of a chopper did have extended forks and chopped frames, but the word "chopped" was from chopping off all the extras like lights, fenders, panels, or anything else that was putting extra weight and or hiding the mechanics of a bike. these new bikes like big dogs with turn signals and pretty bikes with all internal wiring and parts are nothing more than a rich boys toys and have put a scar on the true chopper riders and builders. these should be considered customs and never called choppers. is anyone else tired of these builders charging 25+ thousand dollars for these so called choppers? choppers were bikes built with affordable bikes chopped at home to rebel against the clean look.
 

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's the point I was trying to make -- the term chopper is being over used and abused
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Wow..........

I am sorry dude, but you need to watch the movie Easy Rider, and see if you have a clue.....There are a few choppers in that movie....

I notice your from Montana....Huh? I guess that explains it...

I chopper refers to the angle & STRETCH of the frame & forks.....

I think you or someone you are around is confusing the new customs with choppers because they have more of a rake than stock....But are still not choppers.....Choppers have longer downtubes which make the gooseneck higher, then you add length to the forks.....

Huh....Also,,,,Rubs or whatever.....They are all "MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIASTS", and that is it.....Unless they are in the right CLUB.......If you know what I mean...

Think about it.....Just because I change what a fucking taillight & gas tank and maybe my pegs ---- I have a chopper? Doesn't make sense does it?
 

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Your pretty good -- got all the lingo down and almost sound like you know what you are talking about ---- Not! ;)

If this is your idea of what a chopper is :ntlgh: --->



Then that will explain your confusion --- sorry but that is a ground up from a catalog custom bike, not a chopper.

When I first saw Easy Rider it was playing at a Drive-In theater and the cost of admission was about $3.50 per car load. Are you even old enough to know what a "Drive-In Movie theater is?" :corn:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,150 Posts
The definition of the word "chopper", coined in 1965, generally refers to bikes that have had the frame "chopped" and welded at an other than stock angle to allow for longer forks and the general stripping down of anything that didn't make the thing go forward.

I rebuilt a 1954 Harley 74 with my brother back in 1969. It's neck had been chopped and welded and the forks went on forever and there wasn't a tube, screw, cable, or wire that wasn't absolutely necessary.

ChopperSoon, you owe Jams an apology... no need to throw dispersions around because you don't agree with him. This does not showcase your intellect or upbringing, or class for that matter. Sounds to me like you have an arrogance born of misinformation. Your way, your interpretation, or the highway... this sound about right, ChopperSoon? And WTF does ChopperSoon mean... that you are a wannabe chopper rider??? Using your logic, I could say that if you didn't ride one back in the 60's, you can never be more than a FUCR (Fake Urban Chopper Rider) and barely distinguishable from your use of RUB.

Again, based on common usage, words evolve (etymology). Chopper used to mean someone who chopped something with a knife. If the new custom built bikes resemble those bikes that were custom modified, then it is reasonable to call them choppers. The only difference is that they are now available prechopped. If the frame were available "in the day" already cut and welded, believe me, people would have gone that way if it were within their means.

Based on current etymological references, the word chopper is not being overused or incorrectly used, but obviously misunderstood.
 

·
Soar like an Eagle
Joined
·
2,570 Posts
Another twist is the Pro Street so called bikes. Never really been into the choppers like the ones shown in the photo above but I really like the low and long bikes they call Pro Street. Where did that lingo come from? What does it refer to or really mean? I have seen a few HD softail custom's or HD softail standard's that had the front of the frame cut and more angle of rake put on them that made them look long and cool. I might even want to do that to one of those bikes one day as a bar hopper.
 

·
Ridin' & Glidin'
Joined
·
2,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks 8-Ball:cheers:

I was wondering how someone with a user name like that could hope to be taken seriously. :D His / her profile lists motorcycle owned as a:2005 Hard Core - II which is the model I linked a picture to. Sure it is bitching looking bike -- but it looks like it was built / mass produced from a catalog -- not that there is anything wrong with that. ;);)

Back in the day, chopping a bike meant exactly what you described. Take a stock bike and start altering it as far from stock as possible. That was the goal. To not look like anything that came from a factory or from a pre-assembled kit like the Hard Core - II which probably comes in assorted colors.

Road Glide you bring up another great point. The Pro-Street / Drag Bike look during the '80's and '90's came about as a genuine new species that became the next desired to be copied genre.
 

·
Soar like an Eagle
Joined
·
2,570 Posts
Jams said:
When I first saw Easy Rider it was playing at a Drive-In theater and the cost of admission was about $3.50 per car load. Are you even old enough to know what a "Drive-In Movie theater is?" :corn:
I saw Easy Rider when it came out in my Mom's station wagon at the drive-in with 3 other of my younger siblings AND MY MOM drove us there. I can still remember my little sister asking Mom what was wrong or going on when they had the halucination trip scene in the cemetary. Too this day I think my Mom must have wigged out to take us kids to that movie because I was around 13 years old and my little sister was around 9 or so. But then she also took me to see CC Rider at the indoor theater too. Guess she was wanting to check it all out and had kids in tow and no place to leave them. Probably thought we wouldn't remember but man do I remember. ;)
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top