choppers Tips

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What are some popular features on custom choppers?

Custom Choppers

Choppers have a very distinctive look to them which was first started post-WWII when returning soldiers would strip down (or "chop") and modify motorcycles to suit their needs and to exercise the mechanical skills they learned in the war. In modern times, choppers are generally built from scratch (or from a kit) and there are a few features which are common among most custom choppers.

The first feature that is found on virtually every chopper in existence is chrome. Chrome is used for everything: exhaust pipes, handlebars, on the frame and even on tire rims. Elongated handlebars are another popular feature, and some custom choppers have handlebars that stretch out to as far as the riders can reach. Elongated front wheel frames are also a staple of choppers, and some have front wheels that are several feet out from the main part of the body of the motorcycle. Wide wheels can complement this design, and wheels over a foot wide are not uncommon sights.
Depending on who you purchase a chopper from, the design will vary, but there are a few design components that are the same among all choppers.

What types of materials go into choppers and chopper frames?

Chopper Frames

Chopper frames can be made out of various materials, but steel and chrome are the primary components, and chrome is by far the most popular feature on choppers in today's age. Chrome exhausts, handlebars and frames are all extremely popular and are one of the identifying features of choppers. Choppers also have other features that are recognizable, such as long curved handlebars, elongated front wheel frames and wide tires with elaborate rims.
Lowered seats with high chrome seatbacks are also popular, and stem from a time when the riders were rebelling against regulations that dictated that they must have a seatback on their bikes. Because the gas tank sits between the rider's legs, well-decorated gas tanks are also popular, and many different designs can be seen on choppers.
All in all, however, chrome is the most popular component of choppers and chopper frames, and can be found on virtually every chopper, regardless of the manufacturer.

Can I build my own chopper?

Chopper Kits

Because of their extensive modifications, choppers can cost a large sum of money. While purchasing your own may be too expensive, if you really have a desire for one, then you might be able to build it yourself. Some companies sell chopper kits that contain most or all of the parts that you will need to construct it. If you have metalworking tools and a good sense of how to put things together, then you shouldn't have any problems with making a chopper yourself.
The advantage to building your own motorcycle with a chopper kit is that you will save money and be able to make changes to your bike as you are building it. The disadvantage to doing this is that it may take a long time to do, and that you will not have any experts helping you along the way, so the quality of the bike may not be what you would get if you were to purchase it from a shop. However, a final option--if you neither want to purchase or build your own--is to take an existing stock motorcycle and modify it to look like a chopper.
Some modifications will require only the removal of certain portions of the chassis, while others will require more extensive metalwork. Regardless of how you choose to build it, though, you will be sure of having a marvelous time.

What is a "chopper" motorcycle?

Chopper Motorcycles

A "chopper" is a motorcycle that has been significantly altered and customized to fit the needs of the rider. A chopper generally has a distinctive style to it, and there are various features that make choppers stand out from other, more mainstream motorcycles.
Choppers are usually laden with chrome, and this material makes up a significant portion of the bike's chassis. Choppers also usually have an elongated from section, with the front wheel frame stretching several feet beyond where normal motorcycles have it located. Elongated handlebars are also a popular feature--as is a lowered seat and a tall, thin seatback that is located behind the rider. These features evolved over many years, but at their core of their style is a desire to strip the bike down to its essential parts and only have on it what is absolutely needed.
Early choppers had their blinkers, mirrors, lights and other parts removed, and were popularized because of the look that doing so gave them.

What are some common and popular places to buy pre-built choppers?

Choppers for Sale

As choppers have grown in popularity over the years, many people have started to purchase their own. Choppers for sale can be found all over the globe, and two of the most popular and well-known locations are featured in their own television shows. West Coast Choppers and Orange County Choppers both make choppers that are extremely unique, and are both featured in television shows on The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel.
These shows have helped to boost the popularity of choppers in general, and many celebrities have purchased choppers from these shops, including people like Jay Leno, a popular late-night comedian. Harley-Davidson also sells modified motorcycles. Some people do not consider these to be "true" choppers, but many of their bikes have the same look and feel as traditional choppers.
Other, smaller independent dealers also sell choppers, and it is worth checking out your local dealership to see what they have in stock.

When and how did choppers originate?

The Origin of Choppers

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.

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