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Soldiers and servicemen returning from World War II were often challenged to find ways to integrate back into society and put their newly acquired mechanical skills to work. Many of them turned to motorcycles for fun and sport and began to modify them to suit their needs and desires.
A lot of the essential components of the motorcycles were removed, and only the bare necessities were left. This gave the motorcycles a very unique look, and people sometimes referred to the bikes as being "nude" because so many components were stripped off.
The process of modifying the motorcycles in this fashion came to be known as "chopping," since the soldiers would chop and remove many parts of the motorcycles. Thus, the name "choppers" was born. Choppers have a very distinctive look, made popular by the movie "Easy Rider." This look has continued on through the years, and although various styles of choppers are created today, the basic overall look has not changed since their conception.