It’s always good to be educated on a type of motorcycle (or anything for that matter) before you purchase one. Choppers are one of the most interesting types of motorcycles that you will see driving around on the streets today. They are more popular on the west coast in the United States than they are on the east coast. They have quite the storied history.

Choppers became extremely popular in pop culture after 2003 when the Discovery Channel started airing reality television shows based on customer chopper shops on the west coast. After the Discovery Channel starting airing reality shows, other channels started to pick the up as well. Reality television helped to bring choppers in to the moon-choppers-koreamainstream of American consciousness even though they had been around for nearly fifty years at this point.

Here are a few more fun facts to get you started before you purchase your first chopper:

  1. A chopper is a type of motorcycle that emerged in the United States in the mid 1960’s.
  2. The chopper is one of the most extreme type of motorcycles on the market. The defining features of a chopper are the high handlebars, radically modified steering angles, and lengthened forks for a long stretched out appearance.
  3. Some other distinctive characteristics of the chopper are “long front ends with extended forks often coupled with an increased rake angle, hard tail frames, very tall ape hanger or very short drag handlebars, lengthened or stretched frames, and larger than stock front wheels”.
  4. Choppers are often modified from other original motorcycles but they can also be built from scratch.
  5. Many of the first known choppers were remakes of Harley Davidson motorcycles.

6.In the current millennium, there are have been a number of reality television shows focusing on custom made bike shops which have helped to increased the popularity of the choppers.  The Discovery Channel created a number of these reality shows; one of the first ones was “Motorcycle Mania” which filmed the daily life of Jesse James of Long Beach, California detailing his custom motorcycle shop.

  1. “American Chopper” aired in 2003 featuring Paul Teutul, Sr. and his sons Paul and Mike. The show detailed American-Chopperthe life, work and drama at their west coast chopper shop, called Orange County Choppers. The show was on the air for six years.
  2. The abundance of reality shows about the chopper and its custom building process has helped to boost sales on these types of bikes in the new millennium.
  3. After 2010, the style of choppers began to shift. There was a renewed interested in remodeling bikes in home garages. Many people started to design choppers out of old “neglected” bikes such as the Yamaha 650-XS twins, old Harley sportsers, and various 1980’s four cylinder air-cooled Japanese bikes.  These were much lower budget projects than the Choppers projects aired on television.
  4. If you are looking for a place to have a custom made chopper designed for you, there are many shops on the west coast of the United States as well as select other locations. Some of these shops include Orange Country Choppers, Big Bear Choppers, Chopper City, USA, Chopper Exchange and Street Chopper.
  5. If you are having a chopper specifically designed for you in a custom made shop, you can expect to pay in the price range of at least $20,000.
  6. Some of the best-known choppers in history are the two customized Harley Davidsons, the “Captain America” bike and the “Billy Bike” seen in the 1969 film, Easy Rider.

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I am a lover of all things having to do with bikes. While motorcycles happen to be my cycling weapon of choice, I don’t discriminate against any time of cycle. I enjoy spending my fair share of time on a pedal bike as well-both road bikes and mountain bikes. I’ve rented scooters in Bermuda, taken my motorcycle out on to the open road, and taken a road bike down many a mountain.