Purchasing a motorcycle can be one of the great joys in life, but taking that same bike and turning it into a revamped, classic chopper can send your overall experience into the stratosphere. You might have dropped a pretty penny to get your hands on a bike, but there is no reason that an overhaul should eat too far into your pockets with the right planning and research. Essentially every part of your bike can be stripped down and updated to give you the vintage appearance that you’ve always imagined. Choppers can be customized from the ground up so get creative – this is your work of art and what you build should last for decades. Whatever your heart desires, there is a part and way to do it. Making a vintage chopper can cost exactly as much as you want it to, so have a budget in mind and then have some fun and see how far you can stretch it! Let’s look at a couple easy ways to make the chopper of your dreams.
Practice makes perfect
If your plan is creating a chopper from the ground up, it might be best to at least have a clue what you are doing first. It’s not a bad idea to get a type of kit-bike and build it straight from the box. This experience can prove invaluable, while opening your eyes to all types of new possibilities that may have slipped your mind before. Also, this will help you acquire all the tools you need beforehand, saving you time when the day comes to work on your classic chopper.
A popular way to start building a chopper is by first purchasing a rolling chassis and transforming it into a powerful monster. This rolling chassis will come with a set of wheels, frame, forks and some handlebars but the rest is completely up to you. Having a solid frame to work with can save time (and frustration!) depending on your mechanical skills. With your frame already in place, it is also much easier to find a drive train that will fit. After installing the drive train, throw on some Ape Hanger Handlebars and paint the body to your liking and you are set! Lastly, always remember to paint it last! There is nothing worse than having to drill a hole in your silky smooth paint job.
Help is on its way!
Regardless of how you choose to build your chopper, there are bound to be a few snags along the way. Your local mechanic or speed shop can usually help in big ways. I highly recommend consulting experts before constructing a drive train from scratch, but getting advice on a paint or body job will never hurt either. On the same note, get your parts from a trusted location whether it’s a junk yard or a part shop. These guys should be able to help you out along the way as well!
Don’t throw anything away
When you are building your chopper, do not throw anything away from the original body! This lets you either undo a modification that you end up not liking, or selling the extra parts to pay for some of the work you’ve done. There will almost always be someone willing to buy those parts off your hands!
The dilemma of chopper kits
Many people choose to get chopper kits specifically made for their existing motorcycle. While this seems like a good idea in theory, the reality is that it can potentially cost hundreds of dollars more than building it piece by piece. On the other hand, these kits can save time and should be relatively easy to install on your existing bike. You have to decide what you value more – your time or your money! Good luck and happy building! Share some pictures and stories of any choppers that you have worked on.