Custom Built Chopper Motorcycles

“Whose motorcycle is this?”

“Its not a motorcycle baby, it’s a chopper.”

“Whose chopper is this”

“Its Zeds chopper baby.”

“Who is Zed?”

“Zeds dead baby, dewa52 Zeds dead.”

Now, most of us who were alive during the Nineties remember this scene from the classic American film, Pulp Fiction. I remember watching this movie for the first time and then wondering to myself, “What the hell is a difference between a chopper and a motorcycle?” This was before shows like American shopchopper Chopper and Monster Garage came on to the scene and helped educate the public on the difference between a motorcycle and a custom built chopper.

A chopper is pretty much a motorcycle that had been customized, or “chopped” to give it individuality. The practice of building custom motorcycle choppers started sometime after World War Two when the biker culture began. Veterans came back from Europe, armorelectrical and found the big clunky motorcycles built by Harley Davidson and Indian unsatisfactory when compared to the lighter, faster European bikes. They decided to change the bikes by removing anything and everything that was unnecessary. They began to shorten, or remove the fenders to give the bike a sleeker look and the term “chopper” was born.

The custom-built chopper motorcycle evolved further during the sixties and seventies. Bikers began removing everything that was deemed unnecessary and replacing everything that seemed too big. Out went the windshield, the big blinkers and the big seats. The began raking the front wheel, so that it extended further out from the bike, giving the motorcycle a “cool” look and raising the handle bars higher. These customized motorcycles began to morph away from anything that was factory standard and became unique as each owner tailored their individual bike to what they deemed necessary. kofitravelsafaris

The chopper took on an American Iconic status after the release of “Easy Rider” in 1969. Soon thereafter, the idea of a custom built motorcycle left the realm of the outlaw biker and entered the domain of the typical American. Soon, talented designers opened their own customizing shops replacing the guy in the backyard who put together bikes for fun. People started going to these shops to get their customized choppers instead of building it themselves.

As the baby boomer generation began to age, the demand for these nostalgic symbols of individuality began to rise. Soon, custom-built motorcycles were being produced and sold for exorbitant prices. Choppers were no longer the vehicles for the outlaw biker. They had instead become the status symbol for the weekend hobbyist with expendable income. Still, allaboutkampala when I see one of these bankers going through a midlife crises flying down the freeway on a Chopper I cannot help but feel a shiver of danger and rebellion.


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