Okay, the shows on TV have got you hooked. Chopping off parts from those big and mean motorcycles to make them lighter and faster have caught your heart and now you want one of your own. So how do you set about building your very own chopper? There are some main avenues to consider, and here they are in no particular order.
1. Get A Working Bike and Chop It To Your Desire
This is a good starting route since the bike will already be registered and licensed so you only need to maintain that legalisation. You can also ride it for a while and understand what you need to change about the bike.
This method takes advantage of original mounting brackets and hardware, adding or removing parts as your wallet and time allows. This is the best way to minimise down time and maximise riding enjoyment.
You will need to buy your own rolling chassis, either from a salvage project of original manufacturer (a Harley FXST-FLST rolling chassis is common) or aftermarket manufacturer, such as Rolling Thunder Manufacturing.
As the wheels, frame and suspension exist, you only need to install your own drivetrain.
2. Building a New Bike Kit
This is a more challenging method, as it involves building your bike from scratch but using all the parts supplied by a single manufacturer in one kit. The kits come with manuals but you may want to supplement this with videos normally available as a side purchase if not part of the kit itself.
This is more time consuming, takes more effort and requires more space. Prepare for a significant initial outlay too.
Check out sites such as Chopper Surplus and Chopper Kit USA to get an idea of offerings.
3. Building With Salvaged Parts
This is for the more advanced builder with some experience as it requires you to source individual parts from a variety of suppliers – usually salvage workshops or even junkyards.
Start with one central part that you already can imagine building your themed bike around, such as the gas tank or set of wheels. You'll want to develop relationships with a good workshop too to get assistance in building more complex parts such as wheeltrains, plating bare metal or even paintjobs.
This is obviously the most costly in terms of time, but the cheapest in terms of money.