Not for me. Never understood this sort of thing. Can’t imagine trying to ride one of these contraptions. Side note: most folks that ride do wave at other motorcyclists they encounter (including the goofy pointing at the ground that some do). I find that 99% or so of riders with “ape-hangers” don’t wave. I guess they are just too cool. (Or maybe they have cramps in their arms.)
Not the best selection of choppers here, but it's nice to see some represented.
The leading edge today is a resurgence of "Diggers". These are highly sytled drag bikes for the street, once popular in the '60's. Also making a comeback are Honda 750 4-cylinder choppers. Extremely popular in the '70's, they are gaining traction among collectors today.
I ride several extreme long fork choppers and I can say from experience that, if properly sorted (not quite like these rather rugged examples), they are quite tractable and comfortable. Most who comment negatively about ape hangers have never ridden with them...
Back in the day I had extended forks on my Yamaha 650 for a while. I put the stock tubes back on so I had a bike again. And no hardtails for me either. But the Triumph looks good, I just wouldn't pay for it.
Yep, I've done my time on them, generally love them, have plenty of stories I could tell, but I'm always disappointed when they're not raked enough to bring the bike back to level again so to my eye none of these are good examples. Thanks to the new comment posting system you are all spared from an image of me riding on one of mine.
Love them or hate them one has to admit that they are part of motoring history. And just like the hot rods that were built than they were built to have fun and be a self expression.There were no ten thousand square foot factory style shops.We built them at home in our little garages.
Honda 450 chopper. My friend Paul had one. Silly looking. Handling so bad it finally thru him off for broken arms. If you are gonna due a chopper start with a harley and modify the frame. Or expect peeps to laugh rather than admire.
Well once again I am going to "Date Myself". I grew up in the period when Harley Davidson were used for "Traffic Control", "Parts Runner" and "Funerals". The chosen "bike" for us "Motorcycle Guys" were (sorry for not being "Politically Correct" but "chicks" - adding to the incorrect "Politically Correct" comment just didn't ride MCs other than being on the back, ooops, there I go again, to continue); Triumphs, Nortans, BSA or a Royal Enfield.
They were light, quick and very easy to "Chop". My first "Chopper" was an early (60s) Triumph and man did I "chop" that. I put that "Hard Tail" (terrible ride) on, the "King and Queen" seat; "Straight Pipes" and being young, short of cash simply put the "Tube Extension" on - a true "Don't Do That" process (tube extension), but hey; "It looked cool".
Today; I like the Triumph Choppers and even (hope none of my old MC Dudes are reading this) the "Rice Burners" (many will know what I mean).
I've seen a few of those CBX 6 cylinder choppers and those "6 Cylinders" really look cool.
As for the HDs, just sold my "Road KIng", not doing much touring anymore and yes I am in the market for a "Classic" English bike.
the town I lived in overnight became a hangout for the Chicago Outlaws, buddies of mine were building choppers and bobbers in there garages and shops, when the outlaws arrived they broke into garages all over town and stole everyone's build, one of my best friends had a custom shop in town doing high end paint work, the outlaws brought him a custom chopper and he agreed to do the paint job, he wasn't working fast enough and one day they paid him a visit, I was at the shop but wasn't visible when I herd them tell my buddy he had two weeks to finish or they would kill him, those kinds of bikes bring back bad memories .
I dont think you can appreciate the way it was back in the 60s.Panheads were the newer bike and lots of us ran old Knuckleheads.You could buy a basket case Knuck for $1000 bucks,slap it together and have a cool chopper.Before the Captain America it was crazy colors,coffin tanks and crazy front ends.Then the Captain came along and changed everything.Ive had my 50 pan Captain now for years and it garnered more attention than anything else I ever drove.Twelve over front end with that rolling chassis and the pan motor and tranny.I still ride it today and still love the high fives,fist pumps and of course the ladies.Certainly every man I saw in a 4 door with his kids at the light had wished that he had one of those when he had the chance.
I love to ride motorcycles and a couple of years ago I had a collection of 60s and 70s Hondas which I loved to ride. Some of the choppers look cool but I can't imagine riding a bike with NO rear suspension. Hit one bad pot hole and you're picking gravel from your backside.
If you’ve ever road an early Triumph and wrapped your fingers around the grips you would understand the Triumph.They weren’t made for everyone.The Triumph Bonneville with an extended springer front end with no rake,so it stands high and proud, was a mans bike that is and was the only exception to the Harley. The Stars and Stripes are all wrong for that bike.Ape hangers are a plus and the king and queen also didn’t hurt ,but you could leave the rest of the bike stock and outside of a Harley you had the look and feel of the late 60s early 70s. My first legally ridden bike was a 68 Bonnie as above mentioned.That was in 72 turned 16 And bought it from a friends brother for $600. I’ve had many bikes since but that 650 Bonnie was my favorite until my last bike which was an 87 FXRP that I sold about a year ago.
Still have my original purchase '67 Bonneville. Think it was like $1250. At one point, I was gonna put on a springer front end and rake it out, but never did that thank God! Tried a hard tail w/ aluminum struts for a very short time and didn't like...Dr. John
Had a badass 1948 Harley Panhead chopper back in my invincible and reckless days. The whole neighborhood knew when you were going for a ride. Guys would stare with envy, old ladies would turn away and kids would cry. Railroad track crossings would really get your attention and if you forgot to turn the distributor timing when you started it you got an extra thrill.
Back then I was shortening forks, fitting triple disc conversions, clip-on's, solo backstop racing seats, Dunstall reverse cone silencers and 6-7 gallon alloy tanks. There is/was no such thing as a 'Cool chopper' !
I finally talked a client out of his 1950 Pan. It was raked, greasy, and rusty with extended hydraulic forks. It reminded me of my old '66 Harley that I stupidly sold many years ago. I also sold a '66 Triumph back then that I wished I had back. The best we can tell, the frame is from a knucklehead since the legs were straight, no frame numbers and the center post had to be dented in for the motor to fit. Since then, I have had the frame neck cut and put back to stock, rebuilt the motor and trans, replaced the forks with a modern black springer with a disk brake and repainted everything. I kept the foot clutch and the aftermarket "under the leg" hand shifter with a cast bronze skull shift knob. This thing is a work of art in addition to being fun to ride.
You have to remember this trend was just before everybody was jacking up now classic muscle cars with air shocks and hideously wide tires. Not sure what the attraction to hideous handling to both might have been?
Wow! This topic really drew the comments. I was a hard core custom chopper guy in the late sixties. Had a WLA frame, knuckle gusher for push, raked head and girder front end. Did a couple of scooters for friends. And our god was Arlen Ness. A chopper was a statement of your ideals in life. It wasn't just a piece of machinery. It was an entire lifestyle. I only see that in the 1953 Panhead. But then, as others here have said, it is all what you like.
You do an article on 70s choppers and not one mention of the shovelhead? the last Panhead was in 1965! People made a lot of noise about the AMF bikes of the 70s, but the shovelhead was a big improvement on the Pan. I had a 73 Superglide back in the day and just last year I sold my 74 shovel. A great bike. Never had any problems with either and you can't beat the sound. Especially compared to the newer bikes which are mostly ridden by old farts with too much time and money on their hands. BTW, I sold the Harley and bought a Triumph. The car, that is. At my age it's easier to sit in. though difficult to get in.
liked the XLCH almost as it was. A '69 w/a springer would B perfect. Some 1 take a new bike like that, customize it a lill, rip off the 54 inch jugs & put on the 1200? No ape hangers or other weird stuff, yeah~
As a rider of 70's maachines I would not be caught dead on any of that junk.
All thw Kawi & Suzuki triples are way coolers as is the CB400F, CB550F.
For 4 strokes the Suzuki GS1000/1100 2v-4v are the best bikes of the decade. The Yamaha 2 strokes oped the 70's as the Suziki 4 strokes brought this decade to a memorable end.
I had several GS1100 w/ bigh bore & all the rest & they caouoght go over 170 mph! And RD-350 that whopped on bikes 3 times its size. Any way if i was health enuff to ride it would be a 250-400cc 2 stroke anything!