Chopper Motorcycles: Choppers and Bobbers Explained
When people think about motorcycles, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a Harley-Davidson. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle is one of the most popular bikes out there. You see them on the highways and probably know someone who rides one. There s more to motorcycles than the factory made Harley though. Bikes come in different shapes, sizes and styles. If you ve watched the reality TV show American Chopper you may have noticed that the look of chopper motorcycles is very different from traditional motorcycles. They are much more stylized and built to go faster with specific chopper parts and accessories. If you ve seen old black and white movies with a world war as a setting, you may have noticed some of the lower and lighter vintage bike characteristics associated with a bobber. This article aims to inform you about chopper motorcycles and bobbers. What are they? How are they different? How are they the same?
Before we expand on choppers and bobbers, you should first know a little about the traditional motorcycle. The motorcycle is a two-wheeled, single-track motor vehicle. It is one of the most affordable forms of motorized transportation in the world. The motorcycle is typically mass produced in a factory and has a standard steel or aluminum frame with forks holding the front wheel. It contains an engine and a whole array of parts such as brakes, fenders, and transmission and exhaust systems. The average mid-size motorcycle has a fuel economy of 35-40 miles per gallon. Popular factory stock motorcycles include BMWs, Hondas, Harley-Davidsons, Indians, Suzukis and Yamahas.
A chopper motorcycle consists of a modified form of the original factory frame and only the most essential motorcycle parts to make it go at faster. Basically everything unnecessary to moving or stopping gets chopped up and some of the original parts are replaced with custom parts. Then the engine and transmission are removed and the factory frame is cut and welded back together to make it lower and lighter. Performance parts can be added or changed to increase speed. Styling includes a roughly 45-degree angle front fork, shiny chrome detailing and other features unique to the bike's owner such custom paint designs. The overall look and performance make choppers distinctly different from factory motorcycles. A chopper is also typically more difficult (at least initially) to turn than a factory bike.
Bobbers consist of a stripped stock motorcycle, a bobbed or shortened fender and only essential motorcycle parts. The main difference between a bobber and a chopper is that the bobber actually keeps the original factory bike frame as opposed to a modification of a factory frame. A bobber is also much more lightweight and minimalistic with less chrome than a chopper. The bobber s origins began when servicemen returning home from the war began removing motorcycle parts that were not absolutely essential to the basic function of the motorcycle, such as turn indicators and front brakes.
Customizing Motorcycles, Bobbers and Choppers today
Riders can purchase a factory bike and have it perfect as is. Others may choose to tweak it by lowering it to fit their size or adding a new chrome gas tank. Many other riders may opt for a full transformation altogether in the form of a chopper or bobber. For example, today s chopper motorcycles aren t limited to their high ape hanger-style handlebars and front extended forks. Their characteristics also overlap with customized motorcycles. Bikers not only want to chop their ride, they also want to make them as unique as they are by adding anything from cool chrome features to dynamic performance parts to neat paint jobs. A poker player could have card designs like the ace of spades custom painted onto a bike. Riders can customize with chrome to fit their needs. If they ride with a partner, a rear seat and sissy bar or backrest can be installed. Engine modifications may be made to increase the bike s power. The art of the customized motorcycle isn't just aesthetics but performance underneath. Bobbers of today can have the necessary modern parts to make it run like new but still look old school. Most riders want their bike as unique as they are as owners. Bike design and performance is limited only by the imagination.
Although the motorcycle, chopper and bobber have distinct differences, they do share some overlapping qualities. All are two-wheeled, single-track motor vehicles used by riders all over the world. All can be customized to suit the rider. The differences are that the typical motorcycle is made from a factory. The chopper has a modified factory frame, longer front fork and custom features. The bobber is lower and lighter, usually old school in style. Our reviews have further research on these kinds of motorcycles. Check out our chopper parts and accessories page!
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