So you've been looking at pictures of that cool chopper and you've decided you want to build what you consider to be the ultimate chopper motorcycle. First of all, don't think that a custom built bike is going to pop together just like that stock motorcycle you tinkered around with. This is a complicated piece of machinery not a jigsaw puzzle.
Even if you buy one of the custom kits that's SUPPOSED to have all the pieces made to fit, don't count on things being easy enough for a kid to put together in a weekend.
Expect a learning curve. Just because you have done mechanic work in the past does not mean that you can build your own machine out of spare parts. There are loads of gifted techs out there that will tell you that nobody is born knowing how to build a chopper. One cheap way to tell if you are destined to compete with the West Coast crowd would be to test your customizing skills on a mini-chopper first. Start small and work up! Mini-bike parts would be cheaper and less complicated.
I'm not trying to be discouraging. On the contrary, I'm willing to share all the resources at this shop's disposal to help you with your project from start to finish. There are some steps that you may want to sub-contract such as the painting and the building of your custom frames. It just depends on how much time and effort you are willing to devote. For some a kit will do and others would rather walk than ride a kit bike. For an advanced bike builder, there are blueprints and how-to books. It's my opinion the novice should have a mechanically inclined friend that knows his way around the world of welders and jigs as a backup plan especially for building the custom chopper frame.
Whichever route that you choose here are a few suggestions:
Schedule a set time to work on your bike and stick to it
Follow an orderly step by step plan
Make a list of the parts and tools you will need making sure that you will be able to stick to your budget
Order parts and components in stages so you won't lose them in the shuffle
BEFORE you ever turn the first bolt, be absolutely certain what you want in your ultimate dream bike. This will save you time and money. While it's not impossible to make changes in the middle of the building process, but this may complicate things for a beginner and a change of plans nearly always runs up the cost.
Here are some ideas on how to customize a motorcycle so that it's your own original trophy bike and not just a carbon copy of somebody else's work. Copies are not cool even if they are of an award winning chopper. Here's some cool stuff you can use to customize your chopper:
The addition of a sharp custom motorcycle grip
Throw those stock motorcycle lights in the ditch! Get custom motorcycle headlights
Don't get the cheapest motorcycle tires you can find to save a few bucks, get tires that will ADD to the look of your bike. Shop and do your homework! Cheap motorcycle tires don't necessarily have to LOOK cheap and save your cash for some custom motorcycle wheels. They are expensive, but if you want something that's eye-catching, custom motorcycle wheels are the way to go!
Powder coat some parts in colors that will flash!
CHROME IT UP! This part you can do a little at a time, but CHROME is important from custom motorcycle air cleaners in lots of designs to the custom motorcycle handlebars
This is your opportunity to bring your vision of what a chopper is meant to be, follow it through. Have fun and send us your pictures!
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