How to Build Your Own Motorcycle or Chopper

Before you set out to build your own motorcycle you should know that this is a whole different deal than upgrading a stock bike with accessories and adding chrome. Learning how to build a motorcycle was one of the most challenging but rewarding things that I’ve ever done...yeah, it was frustrating and I made some expensive mistakes but I learned by doing.

That being said, knowing how to build a SAFE and RIDEABLE motorcycle is important so always call in a professional rather than taking liberties with your own personal safety. Building motorcycles from kits or from the ground up is a lot of fun and at the end of the day you should have a custom motorcycle made with parts that you feel are the best on the market. But trial and error is not an option so don't be embarrassed to ask for advice or take it to a shop to get it finished if you realize that you're in over your head.

I hate surprises and if you feel the same then this is the time to start shopping for cheap motorcycle insurance to cover what your custom built bike is worth so that you can have that lined up when you're finished.

custom pro street chopper motorcycle kit built

I have heard that there are times when you can only get liability insurance on a custom built motorcycle so now's the time to know for sure before you build your own motorcycle only to find that you can only get liability.

It takes a lot of stuff to build your own motorcycle. Most of my customers are amazed at the amount of connectors alone that it takes much less the tools that I used that I’ve accumulated over the years that they aren’t billed for. Tools are another reason having a buddy who knows how to build a motorcycle is a HUGE help...he probably has tools and a motorcycle lift that he may let you use if you talk real nice and offer to paint his house or something. Ok, so now you have a heated garage (if you want help from your biker friends, make plans to build during the winter months when they won’t be out riding), a mentor and his tools and you (think that you) are ready to build your own motorcycle. Here are four UNREALISTICALLY easy steps on how to build a custom motorcycle yourself.

One might assume that since you want to build your own motorcycle that you know a thing or two about what makes them run, the engine. Every biker I know has a favorite engine whether it’s the EVO or an old ironhead or a hopped up, large bore aftermarket engine. If you don’t know anything about motors, you should know that the first lesson in learning how to build a motorcycle is that you have to choose an engine. You have to know which engine that you will use right off the bat because every step that follows is based on this one, crucial part. FWIW, I would start simple with a factory produced engine before I moved on to something more complicated for several reasons all having to do with future maintenance and technical support.

The second decision that you have to make is how wide do you want your rear tire to be? Everybody loves the look of super wide rear tires (my old lady says she likes to ride bitch on a bike with a wide tire because they make her butt look smaller) but as for me, I’m not so crazy about the fact that wide tires force me to use offset transmissions or the way that custom bikes with wide tires handle and for the record, Honey, I think your butt looks great no matter what your riding.

What kind of rake do you want? If you’re just learning how to build your own motorcycle, find a motorcycle with a degree of rake that you like and that handles to your liking and you can save yourself a lot of time by copying the rake, length of the fork tubes and the size of the front wheel…oh, and right about now if you don’t weld, you might want to call in a favor from a welding buddy and see if he’ll come over and bring his shop welder, oxygen and supplies for a visit. Wait until you know enough that you know how to build a custom motorcycle with one hand tied behind your back before you run off all your shop help with a bunch of hit and miss bullshit. UNLESS you have a pal who knows his (or her) way around AutoCAD and has worked with varying rakes, front fork lengths and wheel heights and even then….it’s easier to just copy a design that you KNOW works. Making bad decisions in this step will blow the look, handling and a lot of money right down the tubes.

As you can tell, when you build your own motorcycle as the steps move along the decisions get more complex. Right about now, it’s not just about looking at pictures of custom choppers and comparing engines and choosing motorcycle tires and you're probably thinking, "What the Hell...this is the last step and I'm looking at an engine bolted on a frame?

Well, at this phase of the build, you should start lining up technicians that can handle the wiring and the finish work like painting. In my opinion, when you build your own motorcycle the electrical is the hardest part to get perfect so do your favor and get a professional. The same goes for painting unless you are planning on building a paint booth and going pro.

Even if those are your plans, have your first custom motorcycle professionally painted and pick up some tips and advice before you invest in a bunch of shop equipment that you will never use. So, there you have the basics and I hope that you are smart enough to read between the lines and know that there are a lot more decisions to be made (and money to be spent) than I included in the 4 easy steps.

Perhaps the most important facts to be found in this article are that you should have your engine, rear tire, frame and front end design mapped out before you ever pick up a wrench. Pretty much everything that follows will be flexible to a certain degree.

AND before you jump in and spend a bunch of money on parts and stuff that will be gathering dust for decades in your carport, check out the classifieds and used custom motorcycles for sale to see if you can find one already built. Whether you stopped by wanting to learn to build choppers or looking for advice on how to build your own motorcycle frame, I can tell you that this page is just the tip of the iceberg and when you’re done reading it you will just know the next best step to take NOT how to build a custom motorcycle with no help.

This article is just to put you on your way and give you some resources that will serve you well during the project as to help you make plans in the very beginning I CAN'T be held responsible if you build an unsafe motorcycle and are injured in a wreck.

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