Honda Chopper Projects

Not all choppers are Harley-Davidsons.

The “chopper” trend began when soldiers returning from World War II began customizing their motorcycles — almost exclusively Harley-Davidsons. The trend continued through the post-Vietnam era, when the Chopper trend collided with the counter-culture to produce “Captain America,” the famous chopper ridden by Peter Fonda in the movie Easy Rider. In recent years, the Cafe Racer trend, generally using British Bikes, and the Chopper craze has crossed paths with the abundant and reliable Honda.

Popular Models for Honda Choppers

Choppers are powered by large engines, so Hondas before the CB750s of the early ’70s were seldom used. The CB750s were used to make inline four-cylinder choppers, rather than the typical, V-twin, Harley-Davidson layout. Later-model Honda V-Twins, such as the Magna, provided more traditional engines for Honda chopper projects.

Typical Honda Chopper Modifications

The term “chopper” is used because the motorcycle frames are cut, or “chopped.” Two features unique to choppers are an extended frame and long front forks, said to have a lot of “rake” or angle, rather than the nearly perpendicular forks of sport-bikes. The results of long frames and long, rakey forks is a motorcycle that handles very leisurely. Another modification is to remove the rear swing-arm and modify the frame so the rear axle bolts directly to the frame with no rear suspension at all. This modification, like most chopper mods, are more about style than functionality. Most other Honda chopper mods are an attempt to create a unique style, often by removing as many parts as possible.

Modern Honda Chopper Projects

While we usually think of Honda Projects as being older motorcycles — 1980s or older — the popularity of choppers has inspired Honda to make factory choppers. In keeping with Harley-Davidson, owners are encouraged to immediately customize factory Honda choppers with accessories to make them unique. Honda’s “Fury” is the latest factory chopper to make an excellent platform for a custom project.