A chopper is a motorcycle but not the traditional type. Choppers are motorcycles that have been radically modified by the owner or even the manufacturer. Choppers are motorcycles that have a few less features than a regular motorcycle. The chopper came into existence following World War II when soldiers came back to the United States and began modifying their motorcycles. The soldiers removed any part of their motorcycle that was unnecessary, too big, too ugly and too heavy. The parts that were removed were the fenders, the front brakes and turn indicators. Most motorcycles also have a spring saddle, but not choppers. Choppers have the spring saddle removed from the frame so that the driver can sit as low to the ground as possible. Most choppers are made with a v-twin engine.
The main reason for redesigning and editing a motorcycle into the form of a chopper was to prepare the bike for dirt track racing and even mud racing. Removing all of the heavy, unwanted and unnecessary parts made the bike lighter and easier to handle in a high speed race. The large front tire is replaced with a smaller one and so is the headlight and the fuel tank. Most motorcycles have a large fuel tank but choppers have a smaller fuel tank to lighten the load of the bike. As required by law, almost all choppers across the country have to have protective bars for the driver installed. Those bars, which are on the back of the bike and stick straight up in the air, are often referred to as ‘sissy bars.’ More often than not the ‘sissy bars’ can be seen over the driver’s head when looking at a chopper from the front of the bike.
The reason for returning soldiers from World War II to work on their motorcycles was that the majority of them had been trained by the United States to work on automobiles and heavy machinery while in the armed forces. They were trained to repair these vehicles while on the battlefield and while at the camp in case of breakdown or other technical problems. Almost all of these soldiers weren’t even mechanics before joining the service.
There are a handful of companies across the country and the world that produce choppers. Jesse G. James’ West Coast Choppers, Orange County Choppers, Indian Larry, Falcon Motorcycles, Warlock Motorcycles and Von Dutch Kustom Cycles are just a few companies that manufacture chopper motorcycles.
Where did the term chopper come from? Well, when the servicemen originally began chopping up and welding the frame of their motorcycles the term chopper was born. Choppers are not only popular in the United States but have become wildly popular in Australia, where ATV and dirt bike racing is also incredibly popular among the sports fans. Choppers have become so popular in the United States that even bicycles are being manufactured to have the look and feel of a chopper motorcycle. So now, even kids can ride a chopper if their parents don’t own one.