The Evolution of the Chopper

While returning home after the World War 2, those American soldiers who were riders started to strip down their motorcycles to make them lighter. Those who had served overseas were not really satisfied with the bikes that Harley Davidson was producing, despite their loyalty to the company.

Many of them had been trained to work on bikes and other automobiles, therefore it was completely natural for them to make changes. As they talked to others more and more about their changes a new bike took form. They gave the name ‘bobber‘ to bikes that had been changed. The bike designs were inspired by those seen in Europe, since they were more compelling, lightweight and fun.

The fender was one of the first things to be changed. The front fender was almost always removed, while the fender at the back was shortened just enough to protect the rider from mud that was thrown up by the tire at the rear. They continued to make changes to their bikes and the ‘chopper‘ finally came into being. It was originally used for dirt track racing.

The process of chopping was what gave birth to the term ‘chopper’. Riders started to ‘chop off’ parts that they felt were not needed. This included big seats, big headlights, etc. They reduced the size of the fuel tank to make the ride lighter.

Over time, riders started getting rid of everything and anything that seemed too big or unnecessary. For a few parts, they decided to make smaller versions. The front tire was made smaller while the rear tire was increased in width. They would often talk to other riders and create a ‘perfect’ ride for themselves.

It did not take long for this craze to catch on. And soon after, individuals started designing custom choppers to sell to other riders. The riders therefore did not have to do the customizing work themselves. Soon, Harley Davidson started designing and building choppers for sale to the general public. Usually, trends tend to decay over the years and are forgotten. However, this one has made an amazing comeback.