After World War II, when the American soldiers returned home, they continued to be loyal to the Harley Davidson company, but they were not satisfied with their new motorcycles. A lot of them experienced riding more exciting and lightweight motorcycles seen in Europe. Considering that many understood what it took to develop great cars and motorcycles, they wanted to make changes to the Harley Davidson motorcycles. To lessen the weight of the bikes, the fenders were shortened or removed completely. Typically the front fender was eliminated, but the rear one was only shortened to keep the passenger protected from mud and water thrown up by the rear tire.
Consequently, the term bobber was coined and the chopper was created as motorcycle enthusiasts made efforts to customize the bikes. The initial objective was to transform these bikes for dirt bike racing. Because unnecessary parts of the bike were being chopped off, the word chopper to describe such bikes was created. Some of what was chopped off included large seats, accident bars, big headlights, front fenders and windshields. The gasoline tanks were manufactured smaller and big footrests were replaced with forward-mounted foot pegs which made the bikes lighter.
The next modification that came to the bike was raking the forward end, which dropped the angle of the fork to the ground, increasing the wheelbase. The handlebars were elevated up which became called ape hangers. Customizing the bikes became a preoccupation for many riders as they took out parts that they felt were unnecessary or made other parts smaller. The front tire had become smaller and the rear tire started to be fat. Some riders began to build and sell custom bikes as a business. The popularity of choppers continued to increase as more and more were being made.
For awhile, the popularity of choppers tapered off but there’s been a comeback recently. Choppers that are usually custom built by the leading designers are revered greatly and in high demand. The motion picture Easy Rider with Peter Fonda helped to boost the popularity of the chopper. On account of the chopper’s global recognition, Harley Davidson released the Shovelhead FX Super Glide. The chopper is much more than simply appearance since the raked front end actually does improve performance. Any time going at increased speeds, the chopper feels more stable on the highway than the original factory suspension, but there is one drawback to this. On curves and low speeds, it is much heavier and less responsive.
If you prefer a motorcycle that has been transformed from its classic design, then you should look into a chopper that has been hand-crafted from scratch. It can be tricky to ride these sometimes but they feel good to be riding on one. One type that is gaining popularity is the low-rider type which features a low frame to ground clearance.
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