The History of Chopper Motorcycles

chopper motorcycle


A motorcycle parked on the side of a building

Chopper motorcycles are a type of custom motorcycle that emerged in the United States in the 1960s. They were characterized by their long wheelbase, high handlebars, and elongated front end.


A motorcycle parked on the side of a road

The term chopper was originally an abbreviation for Chopped-Choppers, which is a type of customized motorcycle. The first choppers were usually built by modifying existing motorcycles or building them from scratch to suit the owner’s style. Since then, choppers have evolved into many categories and styles. Today there are dozens of different types of choppers to meet almost every use.

It all started with the Indian Four motorcycle in 1922. Harley Davidson jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of their European foe’s limitations during World War II, grabbing as much business as they could by supplying thousands upon thousands of motorcycles to the U.S military forces – motorcycles that would later be used in Vietnam by soldiers themselves after completing their service. This is where the Harley-Davidson WLA (Military) chopper was first introduced. It had a low-slung frame, wide front wheel, and high handlebars.

After the war, many veterans brought their WLAs home with them, and the style of motorcycle quickly caught on. Riders began chopping and customizing their bikes to make them their own. Soon, there were dozens of different types of choppers being built, each with its unique look and style.

The chopper craze eventually died down in the 1970s as riders moved on to other styles of motorcycles. But in recent years, there has been a resurgence in interest in choppers, and they are more popular than ever.

Types of Chopper Motorcycles:

Type 1:

This type of chopper is the most common. It has a frame made for modifying and uses custom pipes to make it sound unique. These are also known as “stretch choppers” because they tend to be longer than standard motorcycles.

Type 2:

These are usually built specifically for drag racing, so they have extremely long wheelbases for better stability at high speeds. They’re also known as “dragsters.” Sometimes they have fiberglass bodies instead of metal frames. Most of these motorcycles don’t even have brakes! They have small front wheels with tall rear wheels, which gives them their unique look. Many modern dragsters use motorcycle engines rather than car engines.

Type 3:

Also known as “beach cruisers,” these are designed for riding on the beach. They tend to have small front wheels with tall rear wheels, and they usually have low-mounted handlebars.

Type 4:

“Sidecar rigs” are built when someone takes a three-wheel motorcycle (usually a chopper) and attaches a sidecar to the back of it. This makes them easier for carrying passengers or cargo.

Type 5:

“Drag bars” are usually built from bobbers or other types of motorcycles that have been modified into choppers – but in this case, they use dragster-style handlebars with ape hangers mounted on top of the triple tree rather than under it. These are typically very-looking bikes, with forwarding controls, stretched forks, and long frames.

Type 6:

“Stretch bobbers” are similar to “stretch choppers,” except they usually have a slightly shorter wheelbase because they aren’t as long as standard choppers. This type of bike is also known as a “bobtail.”

Type 7:

Also called a “braaap bike,” this variation on the chopper style has high handlebars with ape hanger grips, but instead of having rear shocks, it has two shock absorbers mounted underneath its front end. They’re typically built from cruisers or other standard motorcycles that have been modified into choppers.

Type 8:

This type of motorcycle is meant for cruising at low speeds in parades or on the street. They have a very low seat height, and typically use a wide front tire and a drum brake in the rear.

Type 9:

This type of chopper is designed for stunt riding. It has a short wheelbase and is built for speed and agility. It usually has no fenders or lights and uses a small gas tank so that it’s lighter weight.


There are dozens of different types of choppers to meet almost every need, and the custom bike scene is thriving. So whether you’re a veteran rider or a newbie just getting into the chopper scene.

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