Choppers: A Design Study

I semi-obsessively collect pictures of motorcycles. The ones I like, anyway. I have this fantasy of someday building custom choppers as a business. I figure if I could sell 4 or 5 a year at $40K-$80K per, that's a gross of $160K to $400K. Which ain't bad, although I'm sure there are a lot of operating expenses.

Part of building these kinds of bikes is coming up with really nice designs. This site shows off my favorite bikes and attempts to explain why I like them.

These pages are image-intensive and will take awhile to load. I considered making it a "photo album" with thumbnails and stuff but decided against that because it's easier to scroll down the page than it is to deal with clicking and waiting for a picture to show up.

A tentative list of desirable chopper attributes:

  • Single swing-arm, or . . .
  • A conventional swing-arm with an attractive axle-mount.
  • Rear suspension. No rigid bodies.
  • "Convertible" -- swap-in or remove the rear fender, for instance.
  • Front and rear brakes are a must.
  • "Smooth" transition between tank and seat.

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If I ever strike it rich, I'm making a bee-line to Chopper City Customs. Dave Welch is a Master Builder and as you can see, the man knows his stuff! I think this bike, the Softail From Hell is simply one of the most beautiful machines ever built.







Man's Ruin, another Chopper City Customs beauty. I prefer the single swing-arm design of Softail From Hell above, but the lines on this are classic.









The Softail From Hell and Man's Ruin together in a store. Schwing!













Yet another Chopper City Customs bike. This is the best "Stars and Bars" paint job I've ever seen. Just love that carb, too.





















Oddly enough, this incredibly graceful design is by an outfit called Redneck Engineering. With a name like that, you'd expect the bikes to be made out of old trailer parts -- but these guys are fuckin' artists.







Another Redneck Engineering design -- a bit lower to the ground.







This is one of those pictures where (believe it or not) the girl kinda gets in the way -- a zippy little number by Xtreme Cycle Design. Aside from the beautiful lines, the spoked wheels contribute quite a lot to this bike.











I wish I knew more about this bike -- I "rescued" the pictures off of eBay long ago and don't know anything else about it. But it looks bitchin' :) The paint job is quite intricate.









From Thunder Cycle, this is the 2003 version of Eddie Trotta's Camel bike. Building bikes to promote Big Tobacco means he is, of course, evil. But I can't deny that it's a beautiful single swing-arm design.









Yet another one from Redneck Engineering -- what I especially like about this is the way the tank smoothly joins the body of the bike right in front of the seat. A lot of otherwise beautiful bikes blow it on this little piece of detail.







And this one (from Redneck Engineering again) is just plain pretty. Note the white spark plug wires. It's the little things.



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