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Hagerty Employee

These 5 choppers from the '70s are cool enough to bridge generations | Hagerty Media

Hair and clothing styles rarely age well, but vehicle trends seem to fade only to return a few decades later. The latest evidence of this phenomenon? '70s choppers. Millennials have zero nostalgic connection to the '60s and '70s chopper craze and have no reason to reflect longingly on these highly stylized bikes.
Intermediate Driver

Sorry buddy no rice burners.... buy American and relive the 60's!
New Driver

In 1969, I had just turned 14 and was able to get a motorcycle license in SC. I bought a Honda CB350. That poor motorcycle went through heck and back. It went from street bike to dirt bike to chopper with the front forks made of drain pipes. My first R rated movie was CC and Company which flamed my chopper dreams. Got caught by the local Sheriff with it maxed out, He said, "I know your Daddy and if knew what you were doing, your backside would be burning". Just gave me a warning 😁

I was very fortunate as I was the eldest of the 'Little Kids' in my neighborhood, and the Cool 'Big Kids' let me hang around them because I knew Car Stuff, and hardly ever said anything 'stupid', though that would change over the years. I had a '69 Yamaha 125 Enduro, which was a Great Bike, but, hey, a 125cc? One of the Guys I hung around started a trend with a DOHC 450cc Honda he bought as a wreck, and proceeded to (re)build it as a Chopper. It worked, looked good, and he was offered enough to sell it, and go buy a new Bonneville.

The next I knew, there were a half-dozen Triumph chops, a couple Harleys, even a Kawasaki 500 Triple with 21" laced front, black-out paint, Flamed Tank, King-and-Queen seat, and homemade expansion chamber exhaust. I had to GET ME ONE!

One of the Bonneville Guys lost his job when his company moved out of California, which happened, A LOT, in those days, and offered me his bike. Some fast talking with my Dad, the money I was saving for a Sportster (which were just over $2k), and a stock '71 Bonne was in the Garage. To 'fit in' I set to work sawing off about 6" off the rear fender, removing the front altogether, and buying damn near every Chopper Accessory 'Rocky' made; Headers, Mufflers, Taillight/License Bracket, a Cobra Seat, Pullback Bars, and an 8" over set of front fork tubes.

I have a picture taken by my Girlfriend, and later Wife, in front of her Parent's house, decked out in Long Hair held in check by a Tennis Visor (worn backwards, of course) Aviator Shades, Denim Shirt (Jay would approve), Jeans, and Dingo Boots. I have the same shot, some 30 years later, with our Daughter ready for a ride with Dad on Harley Softail Custom; which looks like it was owned by the same guy that had butchered the Triumph, but had learned a few things since.

I no longer have the 'Trumpet', which my brother borrowed and wrecked, or the Wife (a story for another column), but I do have the Daughter, the Harley, and a lot of Great Memories from those two bikes, and many, many miles on each...