If you are old enough to remember Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in ‘Easy Rider’, it’s difficult to underestimate the appeal of a chopper motorcycle. Chopper – A stripped down motorcycle devoid of any unnecessary parts, wiry with heavily raked forks, set off with apehanger bars, a King and Queen seat and cissy bar. But that’s old school (and still my personal favourite custom bike style). Chopping bikes started in 1950’s USA and later became popular in the UK with many superb bikes appearing at custom shows by the early 1970’s.
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Interest in custom motorcycles has never really waned, though the popularity of TV shows such as ‘American Chopper’ and ‘Biker Build Off’ have recently added interest on a wider scale. Nowadays custom bikes take many forms, and even the big manufacturers have got in on the act with factory built customs offered by Harley Davidson, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki. There are even a number of specialist builders offering hand made customs using ‘crate’ engines wrapped in specialist frames. The hobby has developed with modern custom bikes taking many forms including lowriders, characterised by their low slung frame, huge section rear tyre and, inevitably, a large V-twin in the middle. Custom paint varies from mild to wild, many modern bikes having subtle yet stunning finishes, devoid of the garish graphics that characterised early examples.