Saturday, January 28, 2006

6 of one 1/24th of a gross of the other

It's no secret choppers are everywhere. When I was a kid it was a rarity to see a chopper. Around my house however, it was all about cafe racers or actual racebikes. I've never owned a bike that wasn't modified in some way. I just can't do it. I rode my buddies restored Triumph tiger this past summer and all I could think about was how I'd change this and change that if it was mine. I'd like to do some restorations but I couldn't keep the bike, it would drive me crazy. Building a cafe racer is a similar situation to building a chopper. The end results are decidedly different but the idea of taking a bike and tweaking it, polishing, cutting, etc. is the same. With a cafe racer you usually want to make it handle, stop, and steer better. With a chopper it's not so much making it perform better as making it look better. I'm leaving out the aspect of engine performance, making it faster is a given. There is so much beautiful machinery exposed on a motorcycle. Parts that can be massaged to turn that mediocre motorcycle into a reflection of your skill and style. I did not care for the style of the choppers in the 70's. I saw way too many Nortons and Triumphs that had been ruined by longer tubes, 16" rear wheel, and ridiculous handlebars. On their own, the only thing those parts created was one ugly ass bike that didn't work well. I didn't know that there were people building choppers with the same skill and heart that going into the cafe racers.
I did not see them on the street and the biker mags of the day all had boobs in them and you couldn't just run to the corner and pick one up. Not that I'm anti-boob, I'm talking about when I was a kid here. Now, of course, with the chopper explosion going on I see the excellent work being done by bike builders. I've seen pics from those old mags and the cool pans and shovels did exist. I absolutely love Triumph choppers, done right of course. My point here is once upon a time I was ignorant to the coolness of choppers. I'd still rather build a bike that stopped and turned better than when I started but this is why I've been posting pics of choppers and why I'm doing a bobber style on the Sprint. There are plans to build more cafe racers but since I've seen the light I might as well bask in it, no?


Grumpyunk said...

Speaking of design ideas....... Chief suggested I get you involved in making some replacement airbox/sidecovers for the Beezer. I'm gonna replace the stock breathers w/ either old style filters or velocity stacks and need to figure out something for the stock bodywork replacement.

Put your thinking cap on Surley. Get w/ Chief about planning a trip to Chi-town for the bike show in a couple weeks. Hope to see you then. UNK.

Gymi said...

There's nothing like a well turned out bobber. Take one thing off it and you can't ride it. A nice platform to showcase that engine. Be it a Knuckle, pan,shovel or triumph. Whatever blows your hair back.

sparx said...

I don't really get the chopper thing, perhaps it's being a brit and our obbsession with sportsbikes.

I appreciate them, certainly admire the look and am in awe of the people who actually build them from scratch. I just don't get why you would build something that corners slower than an oil tanker.

but then I s'pose your roads are a tad straighter than ours.

WooleyBugger said...

Gotta love those Nortons. Don't remember the last time was I saw one.