Chopper bike builders have attained great popularity because of how they are able to artistically modify or assemble and rebuild motorcycle parts. Although not a mainstream form of art, the craft specifically targets riders who want to have their motorcycles match their personality and at the same time capable of delivering motorcycle power. As an added perk, chopper bikes have the quality of being unique, of being one-of-its-kind motorcycles that make heads turn and gaze in awe as they drive by.
Motorcycles have long served as muse to many mechanics; providing a form of canvas on where they could direct their artistic inclinations. Whereas the original purpose of modifying a two-wheeled motor vehicle was to make them lighter by removing some parts; custom-bike building became less-focused on performance-enhancing modifications.
Starting in the 60s era onward, modification goals began shifting toward achieving aesthetic improvements that will make the motorcycle owner-rider the envy of motor bike aficionados at drag races. As the customization process involved hot-rodding a motor bike as alterations, replacing original parts or soldering additions with surplus stock bought from auctions, many came to call the styling process as chopper.
Early adopters of the chopper craftsmanship took inspiration from Harley-Davidson motorcycles, mostly hunting for Knucklehead, Panhead or Flathead engines at auctions for surplus police or military motorcycle units. Later on, many started crafting chopper motorcycles essentially built from scratch.
Arlen Ness – The Grandad of Custom Bike Building
Arlen Ness, the custom bike builder who gained popularity for his chopper bikes is fondly referred to by many as the grandad of choppers. Michael Lichter, a famous photographer devoted to taking creative pictures of motorcycles, conferred the “King of Choppers” title to Arlen Ness, through his photography book featuring the latter and his custom-built motorcycles.
In contributing this guest post fort this art website, we at Motorcyclelarry. Com, are paying tribute to Arlan Ness, by mentioning him not as an outstanding custom bike builder but as a world-renowned chopper artist.
Ness who founded a flourishing chopper business gained worldwide fame, when the customized bikes he built with his brand of artistry and extreme innovations, had trended as popular features of popular hot rod and motorcycle magazines. As Arlen Ness continued to elevate his reputation, motorcycle aficionados from far and wide visited the nearest Arlen Ness shops when looking to have their motorcycles custom built or having one built just for them.
Arlen Ness ventured into the aspect of creating celebrity choppers as well. When European motorcycle builders started producing custom-built bikes, which they marketed as cafe racers, many American choppers took the challenge by building themed celebrity choppers.
Arlen Ness also advanced into building concept bikes by partnership with Victory Motorcycles, including the two chopper bikes featured in the Discovery Channel 2004 and 2005 “Biker Build-Off.”Sadly though, Arlen ness passed away at the ripe old age of 79, in March 22, 2019.