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Building Choppers

8537 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  V8GRUMPY
Somebody asked me how long have you been building bikes? When I tell them they say BS. Well check it out gang. I'm in the history books, Indian Larry, Jesse James, American Choppers, eat your heart out, they're new to the game!! Please read the feature article entitled NEW JERSEY TRUMPET MAN!! That's me!!! Yup some people think they came up with an origianal idea when they floated a rear fender!! I did it 30 years ago, How about stretching a frame, yup, I did it, how about a softail, Yup me too 30 years ago. The only problem I should have patented the stuff back then!! I still have 10 copies of the mag.

Choppers Magazine May 1976

http://www.motorcyclememories.com/magaz ... /1976.html
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Fast Eddie, your article brought back memories of my chopper building days. Here are some pictures of a Sportster chopper I built back in 1970 and won first place in a local bike show. I machined and fabricated almost everything on this bike. I fabricated the frame from a stock Sportster frame by welding on a rigid tail section and a whole new front section neck, etc. I made the narrowed triple trees and made the handle bar risers so they screwed right into the ends of the fork tubes. The front end wound up so narrow that I couldn't buy a spool for the front wheel so I had to make a narrowed spool also . Note the SU carb. A lot of us ran them back in those days because they were a dime a dozen and they worked pretty good also. I made dozens of other things on this bike but I think you get the idea. I think this bike resembles a lot of the choppers they are building nowadays. By the way , I was a pretty good looking kid back in those days huh.


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Man-o-man, you guys sure know how to stir up memories. I didn't do anything but ride 'em. Ed, you and Jack sure knew what you were doing by way of the pics I've seen.

Funny how so much of that stuff has come back. Saw some custom choppers at a show a few weeks ago with the coffin tanks, Z bars, rigid frames and waaaay extended front ends and then look at the pics from the early 70's and it's the same look. Damn, you guys could have been famous now just like the dudes on TV if you had kept it up. Woulda probably had 30 lean years in between though.

Jack, here's one to really kill you. I had a badass chopper with a Honda 750 motor of all things. That inline 4 looked and ran pretty good. Came to my senses though in '71 and stuck with 2 jugs on a chopped Sportster. Were they 900 or 1,000 cc's in '71? Anyhow, great pics, great memories.

Jack - nice sporty, I still love that old school stuff. My son just ordered a rigid frame for an old school he wants to build. I can't take that ridig stuff anymore.

El - I did the 750 thing also with a rigid frame and prism ness tank. The 750 hona motor was made to be chopped. There is a company right now that builds new 750 old school choppers. All this stuff is making a major come back.

Jack maybe there is still a chance for us old guys??
Thanks Elliot , that Sportster I chopped was only a year old when I chopped it. It was a 1969 XLCH , 900 cc , no battery and had The old reliable Fairbanks Morse magneto on it. I did port and polish the heads and put in a set of better cams and afew other goodies. What bitch to start when it was cold . I wish I had a nickel for every time I kicked that bike. In fact once the kicker crank ratched right thru when I was giveing it a good healthy kick and I broke the cartilage in my right knee . Man did that hurt and still bothers me after 30 some years. Another thing I remember about this bike is I did all the fabricateing and everything in the shop and then I had everthing painted , chromed etc. When I got all the parts back I put this bike totally together in third story appartment bedroom . I left the front end off and me and a couple of bros rolled and carried this thing down three flights of stairs , slipped the front forks and wheel on the front and I rode away. Oh the good old days. Good thing the landlord didn,t live in the same building or he would have **** a brick.

My bros And I still reminisce about the way we usd to take a perfectly good bike , make it so it rode like a piece of ****. handled like a piec of **** ,wouldn't start , wouldn't stop , threw away all the conveniences , but man did we look cool and that was all that mattered .
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I built a 3 wheeler chopper in 1970 and was a big winner in the shows. My son has my picture of it so when he brings it over I will post it.
This is my first attempt of building a Chopper. The Boat in the back ground is our drag boat from the years past. This was at my Modesto Speed Shop.
The bike has a rebuilt 45 inch engine and would run a true 45 Miles per Hour maybe. The kids loved it and did most of the riding that was done on the thing. I put Gabriel High Jackers on it and you could raise and lower the box about 6".


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One cool Chop. Sure do bring back the memories.
Nice trike Adrian, I remember some of those old springer forks and how they used to bounce like a pogo stick at certian speeds and surfaces. There again ,who cared , they looked cool , right.
That bounce was called ponging!! It happened at high speeds when you hit a bump because there was no dampening actin on the early springers they would just keep bouncing. Terrifing experience if you did know it was going to happen. Lots of people did the panic thing and jammed the brakes on, not good, out of control you went. You just had to take your hand off the throttle and the ponging would start to slow down and eventually stop. Almost like doing the burnout thing with the Boss now, ride it out!! What fond memories!! WOW!!!

OOOOhhh the attitude :lol: We should all find old photos like that....bet we all had the same hair, same 'stache and same cig.......

Cool sporty....I'll have to see if I can scan in a photo of mine.....a little different style but from about '64 - '65. I think Wag has a ton of photos of the ones he built.......lots of girder and springer front ends.

The one thing about my trike was it could only go about 50 MPH wide open so I never got it fast enough to go thro the bounce thing. I do remember that I had the forks stretched 17" and the chrome job on the trike was around $2500 which would be like 7 or 8 grand today. It was fun to build and just OK to ride. I turned it over to my 16 year old and he just loved the thing plus he had a bunch of little honeys following him around. He commented it was the best part of his life as we all have had some good ole days we can't forget. Mine was with a 33 ford in 1958 with a 348 fat block Chevy that was one fast sucker. I lived in Idaho going to U S Nave Nuclar power school. I even won top eliminator in Bozeman Montana in 58 and was the big dog of the time.

Kinda slow getting in on this post, but here is a shot of my 48 Panhead when it had a 31" over springer and rigid frame. I didn't put any fork stops on so the front end would turn nearly 90 degrees. The bike could turn around in a one car drive way.

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Elvis - nice Chop!! Sure does bring back memories of the long bike days.
Yup, that was when we didn't pay any attention to rake and trail , all we wanted was that long front end. Slow speed with too much trail and those front ends just wanted to flop over on you and were a bear. I still think their cool.

I got the opportunity of riding a Texas Chopper, long bike, and I'll tell you this the new choppers have the correct amount of trail due to the raked triple trees and they handle like a stock bike at slow and high speed. Extremely stable ride.

Thanks Eddie, this one only gave me problems at speed in a cross wind, too much sail area I guess.

Is that the one you threw your ex off of???? :oops:

Nice fork stops dude :lol:

Sissy bar

Hey Elvis, looking at your sissy bar on the chopper with the long front end.
I had one similar on my 72 chop, I remember how they were described in the catalog, "high bar with balls or high bar without balls". Gotta have balls! :lol:
72 Superglide

This was at a buddies wedding, no wait, I always wore a white tux when riding. :oops:
Forgot the pic......

Forgot the pic.....[imghttp://www.v8bikeriders.com/album_pic.php?pic_id=160[/img]
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