How do you begin building a chopper (motorcycle)?

07-18-2009, 12:48 AM
I want a chopper but I don't want one completely finished by someone else. I was told that buying a bike and turning it into a chopper motorcycle ( is fairly easy and worth doing (not to mention less expensive than buying one done). But how do I know which bikes would be better suited for modifying than others?. I don't know where to begin.. Can someone point me in the right direction?.:runaround:

07-21-2009, 01:27 PM
First of all, you have posted this in the Dirt Bike section by mistake. I have moved it to choppers.

Next.... the most difficult part of this is to build a frame with correct steering geometry. Often, modifying an existing frame will result in an unrideable disaster because of steering problems that are either unforseen and/or very difficult to fix.

I suggest getting a bare chopper frame made by a reputable shop. There are several such companies on-line. Once thats done, you can install the engine of your choice (decide on the engine before buying the frame so you know it will fit) and choose the brakes, wheels, accessories etc. There are a huge variety of such parts to choose from.

Finally, do some planning beforehand.... so you have a good idea of all the components you wish to use.

08-04-2009, 03:11 PM
"the most difficult part of this is to build a frame with correct steering geometry"

Sure, if you want to modify your frame - but that's not a requirement for a chopper. You have to figure out what "chopper" means to you. You can start with no more than an idea and buy every single component. you can do all 'bolt-on' replacements or you can modify what you got.

The tongue in cheek rule of thumb is to start with a bike and remove or replace everything that is not fast or cool.

09-04-2009, 08:00 PM
Plus find out the laws in your state if you go with an aftermaket frame.In the state of Michigan,it has to be inspected after has been built and running.It will say on the title as an assembled title.Keep every piece of the paper work on the engine,frame and every part on hand

09-05-2009, 12:15 AM
Start with whatever bike you have. If you don't have one now, you might look at using an old Triumph. I won't say it's easy, but it is different.

Find a few old 1970's and 80's chopper mags like Easy Rider, Iron Horse, Street Chopper and such. You will find out what choppers are. Don't waste too much time watching Orange County Chopper reruns or Chopper Build Off.
Set back and drink a few 6 packs or pots of coffee, read the mags and make a few sketches on the shop floor, the walls or paper napkins or even the old lady's kitchen table.
Buy a welder, drill, bits, grinder, files, box full of tools and more beer or coffee. Learn how to use the welder and other tools while at the same time learning how to build your ride. Drink more beer or coffee. That would be a good start.
Anybody can buy a bunch of chrome parts and bolt em together, but not everybody can build a chopper and say "I built it".

It's like carving a bust of Abe Lincoln. Buy a block of marble, some chisels and hammers. Look at some pennies and start removing everything that don't look like Abe Lincoln.

09-08-2009, 02:40 PM
"Anybody can buy a bunch of chrome parts and bolt em together"

No, they can't. There's plenty of people that can't do that correctly. Why do you think their sell EZ-Outs?

Sure you can cut and weld your own frame, but unless you balance and blueprint your own engine you can't say "I built it."

Balance & blueprint? Hell, unless you make your own conn rods, I don't see how you can say that you built it!

My point is that you don't have to fabricate anything for your chopper to be your own chopper that you built. (And I'll tell ya, if you learn how to weld, you don't want your first and only "paying" job to be building the frame of your motorcycle - leave it to an expert.)

11-17-2009, 06:55 PM
Check the magazine racks at your local stores, Iron Horse is one and I forget the name of the other custom builder magazine, but anyway flip through the magazines and find the type and style of motorcycle you want to build and then throw your own ideas into how you want it to look.

Welding... Nice looking welds can be weaker than cardboard and snap when you least expect it, do you want this to happen when you are doing 80mph down the freeway? Leave frame welding to the experts.

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