After returning home from the Second World War, American troops were dissatisfied with the stock motorcycles available on the market from makers such as Harley-Davidson and Indian. The bikes these men had rode in Europe were lighter, sleeker, and a whole lot more fun to thrash about on. It was from here that the chopper would find its roots.
These veterans were quick to get modifying on these boring stock bikes, turning them into machines that were suitable for their needs. Anything superfluous on the bike had to go, bobbing the fenders, removing anything and everything that would make the bike lighter and faster. This was reflected in the iconic Marlon Brando film The Wild One, which unleashed the bobber and 1% motorcycle club onto innocent viewers. As time went on, so did the style, and by the 1960’s the famous film Easy Rider hit audiences in an exciting and rebellious slap in the face – showcasing the iconic image of a chopper.
Now it was time for me to make my own Chopper. But this would be taking things to the extreme, almost too much one might say. A 1956 Harley Panhead would be my block of marble from which I will create the ultimate chopper.
First, I started with the obvious parts. I removed the front fender, the overly large lights and indicators, and the fat cushy seat. The bike had already taken on a more lean appearance – yet there was still more to be done. Chopping parts had begun to take hold, and I was now more chop than man. The mirrors were ditched, the rear fender and even the foot pegs. Who needs foot pegs? Not this bike, no sir.
My desire for minimal did not end there, and the fuel tank was next to be removed and thrown at a passing by parking inspector. But now there was a problem… Where would I put the fuel? Suddenly I had a solution – if I didn’t have an engine, I wouldn’t need fuel! Boom! I ripped the engine out and hurled it into the sea – “Back from whence ye came!” I screamed.
I stared manically at what remained – the wheels were ripped off and thrown at a flock of school children that were skipping by. A flurry of sprockets and gears were lobbed at a nearby group of pigeons. Piece by piece I chopped until there was nothing left but the frame. This was it. This is my piece de resistance.
She looks unique, and gets plenty of glances from passers by as she cruises/scrapes down the road… Mission accomplished.