History of Custom Motorcycles
The American Motorcyclist Association in 1933 introduced a new type of race in which only cataloged racing motorcycles were allowed to be used in the event. In a bid to remove the excess weight to increase the bike’s speed, competitors in the event the parts that they think didn’t serve many purposes like the fenders.
After the event, non-racers started to emulate this style of motorcycle customization, and the bob-job became the trending customization style. The popularity of this style was increased by soldiers that just returned from the World War 2. In a bid to get more excitement and a cheaper means of transportation. They opted to replicate the cut-down and bob-job styles in an attended to replicate the event. They took it a notch higher by adding parts from British motorcycles to imitate early customizers in the United States.
All through the 1950’s, this new maker of customizers began to assume more modifications in its customization process. Based mainly on Harley, they got inspired by dragster motorcycles and added raked forks while changing smaller wheels to large wheels and installing smaller fuel tanks. When you combine these with the pinstriped paint, you get the same energy that was used to popularize rock and roll. This customization style was then referred to as Kustom Kulture, and it still influences the style of most custom motorcycles produced in recent times.
This Kustom Kulture is unique for its long forks and instead of the small cuts and bobs, they required the bikes to be dismantled totally before the frame is chopped and reassembled to accommodate longer forks. This was how chopper came into existence.
Even into the 1960’s builder took the customization process further with more noticeable decorations and longer forks. The counterculture classic Easy Rider released in 169 which featured Dennis Hopper, and Peter Fonda helped to solidify the popularity of choppers. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda were videos riding cool looking choppers to demonstrate how far the customizer’s art has come since its inception.
Motorcycle manufacturers have been aware of what these customizers have been doing to their products for a while. Instead of fighting them, they made the right choice of reincorporating the ideas from the custom scene to become a part of their primary products. The first custom bike was the Harley Davidson Super Glide which was placed at the front end of a Sportster-spotting chassis from bigger FL models. Since then, many other similar designs have followed.
In recent times, there has been a rise in the increase of the popularity of custom bikes. The American Chopper series which is a show that has over 160 episodes is majorly responsible for this. These bikes are a representation of the high ends involved in making a chopper and the end products always look unique whether they are packed in the maker’s garage or a wealthy person’s garage. The British artist Grayson Perry in 2011 made a custom bike a central part of his show ‘Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman.’