Who here has riddden an extreme chopper?

Who here has riddden an extreme chopper?

This is a discussion on Who here has riddden an extreme chopper? within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Back in the mid '70s, as a kid, we all wanted choppers. So the hot ticket was to cut the hollow fork legs off a ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tanshanomi's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Kansas City

    Who here has riddden an extreme chopper?

    Back in the mid '70s, as a kid, we all wanted choppers. So the hot ticket was to cut the hollow fork legs off a 20" Schwinn Stingray (a junk one, ostensibly, although more times than not a perfectly good one belonging to your sister/neighbor), then slip them over the forks of your Stingray, and beat on them with a hammer until they were on as far as they would go and (more or less) even. We called this "double-forking" it. The end result was a horrid, unsafe configuration that looked something like this:

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    (As they used to say during Apollo moonshots, "artist's rendition")

    We thought this was about the coolest thing ever. Learning to deal with the generous dose of negative trail that resulted took a bit of practice, but we looked at that as part of the allure. It was a source of pride to be able to handle a "double-fork", and we found riding them very, um...entertaining. We sort of assumed that the floppy steering was the "chopper-y" thing Peter Fonda, et al. were after when they extended the forks on their motorcycles.

    I share all this to make a shameful confession: since I spent so much of my youth dreaming of riding a real chopper, at some point in my life I want to ride a chopper — not some mamby-pamby Honda Fury, but a real, '70s-era, extreme chopper from the heyday of Denver's and Paucho frames. A hardtail with an unsprung king-and-queen seat, extended girder or springer out front with no damping, a coffin or diamond tank, and every other expression of absurd extremism.

    I only came close once. Back in the mid '80s, Top Line Cycle was off I-494 in Bloomington, MN. They always had all sorts of odd used bikes crammed in the back of the shop. One day, I saw a raked out hardtail Honda 750 with a Mini-Mustang tank, drag bars on 6- or 8-inch risers, four individual straight pipes, a tiny dirt bike front drum and a skinny brown leather seat. The guy saw me sit on it and offered to let me take it for a ride. He extracted it from the pile of bikes and rolled it out the front door, but the carbs started pissing all over the engine as soon as he turned the fuel on and the battery was dead, so he was unable to get it running.

    Ever since then, I've secretly wanted to take something similar out for a ride, just once. Who here has actually ridden something like this, and what did you think?

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    Last edited by Tanshanomi; 04-21-2014 at 02:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Columbus, Ohio
    I owned, and Jaguar currently owns, a "Real" from the 70's chopper complete with oversized jammer narrow springer. I apparently abused the thing into the ground without realizing it and jag is picking up the pieces. It was a fun bike. I was more in love with the idea of owning it than actually riding it so it sat for a long time in my garage. I can honestly say they are pretty useless. that being said, I do have a hardtail ironhead on my bucket list of bikes to build if money were no object, but it would be more vintage flat tracker and less raked out chop.

    Do I have any lessons? yeah if you are going to build a hard tail, make sure you have a real seat. Nice thick padding or a sprung saddle. Also 16" rear tire with a huge sidewall that you run 3psi under pressure helps.

    CB750s I think are the way to go just because it is super easy to pick up someone's stalled project for hundreds less than a similar triumph or ironhead. If you are dead set on building it yourself however I would also consider an ironhead just because they are the originals and the resale will be worth more at the end of the day. Also the whole no frame numbers prior to 1971 on ironheads makes building a custom way way way easier because the title travels with the engine.

    buying a chopper takes a lot of research. You have to know the good vintage parts. This has been the domain of the hamfisted dirtbag for so long almost every bike is going to have something jankey on it so know to spot bad work.

    that being said this was on my local craigslist:

    as well as this:
    1973 honda cb750 Amen Savior chopper

    and you could always take all the crappy billet crap off of this:
    1976 Chopper honda 750 4

    this is a good start as I have seen it in person but it isn't a good old fashioned long bike despite being vintage parts:
    Chopper Bobber Hardtail Honda
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  3. #3
    Senior Member o1marc's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    Dawsonville, Georgia, USA.
    I put a set of those Stingray handlebars on my Triumph 500. They were very thin walled bars and flimsy, dangerous to say the least. ran them about a week before removing them. Still trying to find the old pics of my Triumph after I built a chopper out of it in 1973. It was nice but in retrospect a huge mistake. I wish I had my stock Daytona back.
    Last edited by o1marc; 04-21-2014 at 03:01 PM.

    I carry a gun because I'm too young to die, too old to take an ass whooping, and a cop is too heavy.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Tanshanomi's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Kansas City
    I doubt I'd ever want to actually spend my own money on anything hardtail. That being said, if I *DID*, I would want something like Toph Bochiaro's boardtrack-style K:

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  6. #5
    Member Gnigma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Somewhere west of Rio Rancho, NM
    I owned a Honda Shadow Spirit for a couple of years--- does that count? Seriously, I've ridden standards for so long that every time I'd take off from a stop, I'd dog paddle my feet, looking for the pegs! I also could never get used to not being able to stand on the pegs, which I automatically try to do whenever I hit "iffy" terrain. I guess that's a holdover from my dirt bike days. Being able to stand on the pegs might just be enough to stop an impending high side if you start to lose the rear wheel and then let off. It's hard to stand on forward pegs, and then the bars are down by your knees...

    '03 Moto Guzzi California
    '81 KZ440B-1
    '82 KZ750M-1
    Couple of '82 Virago XV920s (Damned things just seem to accumulate!), and an '81 Honda CX500. So far...

  7. #6
    Senior Member jaguar's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Albany NY
    Was thinking about buying this the other day, found out the guy is willing to take a fair bit less then the $4k asking price. But figured I should spend money on more sensible things.
    72 Shovel Head Chopper

    I do now own a "real" chopper.
    I started bugging geeto the first time I saw it to sell to me.
    After a few fights and years passed I final bought it. Thought it needed a head gasket, wound up needing a head and a chain tensinor, oh well.

    have serviced the crap out of it.
    small, light and fun.
    has the turning radius of a moon, and the stopping power of a puppy on a tile floor. Also rides like you are falling down the stairs.

    has been an amazing learning experience.

    road it for a few short weeks last fall. Couldn't go any place without spending time talking to people.

    im a sucker for the lines of this bike.
    think the move would be to use a British twin or older v twin with similar lines, but this adds a fair bit of cost.
    4 cylinder has a cool sound and adds some smoothness to the equation.
    I am Derby\'s Bitch

    Some times things come around that are so singularly inept it gives you a whole new appreciation for the ept

  8. #7
    Senior Member goldy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Nova Scotia
    Been there, done that and got the scares to prove it... My old Yamaha 650 was a test bed for almost every stupid thing I ever did to a motorcycle. When I bought it in 1979 it was just like new, but the first thing I did was start to chop it. Over the ensuing 9 years it went from having long forks and a Sportster tank to a rigid frame, girder forks, prismatic tank and the handling characteristics of a greased hippopotamus....it was my 40 acre bike. Every now and then I would let some hapless sucker take it out for a spin just to see the look of shock and horror on their faces when they turned back into the driveway. Don't get me wrong...I'm actually glad I did it...got to be cool for a few years and at the same time got it out of my system.
    My best buddy has a Honda 750 chopper...Amen Savior frame, 13" over Fury springer forks, two-headed dragon painted on the double cap peanut gas tank...a true '70s piece of hippy-killing artwork...a couple of years ago I was at his house and he decided to get it out and take it for a ride. When it was my turn, I went as far as the bottom of the driveway, turned it around in the road and went right back up the driveway...the front end on that bike was always floppy, but the worn out rocker bushings made it feel like the front end was made out of rotten rubber bands.
    Anyhoo, about 20 years ago I had a pretty scary accident on the old Yamaha and decided I didn't want to ride it like that anymore...got the std frame back and gradually did my best to get it to resemble a British bike. My son has it now and says he gets "Nice Triumph buddy!" almost every time he stops somewhere for gas.
    Last edited by goldy; 04-22-2014 at 04:34 AM.
    “And this you can know – fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.”
    John Steinbeck

  9. #8
    Senior Member Acemon's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Arvada, CO, USA.
    I had a CB750 chopper years back. The frame, forks and box for the electrical bits were a kit sold a long time ago. I've seen others with the same setup. The geometry was perfect - I could take my hands off the bars and it tracked fine. A little front wheel flop at stoplights but nothing too tough. The forks flexed more than they compressed. I miss it.
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    Last edited by Acemon; 04-26-2014 at 07:12 AM.

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