Chopper (motorcycle)

Chopper was originally from about 1948 in California the term for motorcycles (mostly Harley - Davidson), all of which had been removed, which the owner seemed superfluous - as passenger seats or guards. The English verb to chop means " chop (ab) ".


The Bobber refers to the "bob ", ie the small outdoor swing at the lower end of the front fender on old Harley -Davidson models. In addition to the engine tuning was one of the first modifications that undertook a Harley enthusiast in the 1940s and 50s, when it easier and faster to do with it wanted his vehicle, the original front fender turned backwards to fit over the rear wheel. The original rear fender was omitted, the front wheel ran without fenders. Such vehicles were at the tail of the "bob " and therefore were called bobber.

The modifications were made originally, on the one hand to reduce the weight and thus improve the performance. On the other hand, should often be improved as ponderous or turgid perceived appearance. It was the first road motorcycles on the basis of typical American racing machines - in this case, board track racers and hill climbers. These motorcycles were first called bobber or Bobchops. The process to make a motorcycle such a bobber, called colloquially soon " Bob job".

Classic chopper

Ever since the movie "Easy Rider" from 1969 motorcycles are then generally referred to as a chopper, if they are equipped with a long, relatively flat salaried front fork. Also, this design feature was originally inspired by racing machines - in this case, drag bikes, which means long wheelbase and large lag a more stable straight running performance is to be achieved at high speeds. Since in such Drag Races no curves are driven, the associated awkwardness of sport bikes not fell into the weight. With Chopper on the other hand this poor driving behavior is taken in favor of the desired appearance in purchasing.

Other classic features include high chopper style handlebars ( " Buckhorn ", " ape-hanger ") and brought forward footrest. These characteristics deteriorate the driving performance and controllability, while such tags are very common nowadays.

Another style is called drag Styler or Low Rider. The goal here is a possible flat, elongated look ( ' long' n low ") in an even stronger following the appearance of drag bikes. Accordingly, come here instead of high handlebars flat drag bars are used, often on back -drawn handlebar mounting clamps ( risers ).

From a Swedish chopper one speaks of certain radical purist tags. In this genre is often omitted parts such as headlight, speedometer or front brakes or alternatively at least the associated cables, shafts and cables routed inside the handlebar or frame to the straightforward sight of those parts that actually have to drive indispensable function, as little as possible to affect. The approval of such vehicles on public roads in Germany poses considerable problems.

Factory Custom Chopper Factory

The company Harley -Davidson refused at first this kind radical conversions from - not least because this motorcycle genus has been associated with criminal and violent gangs like the Hells Angels rocker. As the chopper design soon came up in the taste of the masses and the demand, but also began to Harley -Davidson to incorporate chopper - style features in some production models. From 1984, we imitated the Softail rear suspension the appearance of an unsprung rigid frame, and in 1988 was offered even the detached since 1948 by the so-called telescopic fork springer fork, a front wheel pushed with short swingarm, again.

The coined in this regard by Harley -Davidson concept of " factory custom " made ​​basically a contradiction in terms dar. addition to the intended design was the original Chopper concept indeed significantly influenced by the idea to change the uniform appearance of a large-scale model and so to make the custom motorcycle individually.


In the 1980s and Japanese manufacturers began to demand for choppers to respond. We initially tried "normal" street bikes with chopper typical add-on parts, such as higher handlebars, forward controls, chrome parts and partially standard pillion backrest ( " sissy bar " ) to make it interesting for the intended audience. These factory rather half-heartedly redesigned motorcycles are today, often contemptuously, as " softchopper " means. later large series models reported soon also the classic V2 engine design Harley- Davidsons, and also the overall design approached in the American models. these Japanese motorcycles in the chopper style were with the U.S. competing models in regard to their untimely handling comparable - the landing gears were often underdamped, had rear due to the desired flat appearance usually a uncomfortable hard suspension with little suspension travel, were equipped for their suspension geometry unwieldy and inefficient braking at the limit of what is legally permissible.


Cruiser 's been around since the 1990's the term for motorcycles, whose design features are attributable to U.S. production machines of Harley- Davidson, Indian or Henderson, as they were built around since the 1930s. Style -forming characteristics are long wheelbase, wide tires, large volume motor, large fenders, wide handlebars and relatively far forward mounted footboards and the resulting upright sitting position. By conversion of such series machines emerged from about 1948, the first bobber or chopper.