The Chopper

A chopper is a motorcycle but not the traditional type. Choppers are motorcycles that have been radically modified by the owner or even the manufacturer. Choppers are motorcycles that have a few less features than a regular motorcycle. The chopper came into existence following World War II when soldiers came back to the United States and began modifying their motorcycles. The soldiers removed any part of their motorcycle that was unnecessary, too big, too ugly and too heavy. The parts that were removed were the fenders, the front brakes and turn indicators. Most motorcycles also have a spring saddle, but not choppers. Choppers have the spring saddle removed from the frame so that the driver can sit as low to the ground as possible. Most choppers are made with a v-twin engine.

The main reason for redesigning and editing a motorcycle into the form of a chopper was to prepare the bike for dirt track racing and even mud racing. Removing all of the heavy, unwanted and unnecessary parts made the bike lighter and easier to handle in a high speed race. The large front tire is replaced with a smaller one and so is the headlight and the fuel tank. Most motorcycles have a large fuel tank but choppers have a smaller fuel tank to lighten the load of the bike. As required by law, almost all choppers across the country have to have protective bars for the driver installed. Those bars, which are on the back of the bike and stick straight up in the air, are often referred to as ‘sissy bars.’ More often than not the ‘sissy bars’ can be seen over the driver’s head when looking at a chopper from the front of the bike.

The reason for returning soldiers from World War II to work on their motorcycles was that the majority of them had been trained by the United States to work on automobiles and heavy machinery while in the armed forces. They were trained to repair these vehicles while on the battlefield and while at the camp in case of breakdown or other technical problems. Almost all of these soldiers weren’t even mechanics before joining the service.

There are a handful of companies across the country and the world that produce choppers. Jesse G. James’ West Coast Choppers, Orange County Choppers, Indian Larry, Falcon Motorcycles, Warlock Motorcycles and Von Dutch Kustom Cycles are just a few companies that manufacture chopper motorcycles.

Where did the term chopper come from? Well, when the servicemen originally began chopping up and welding the frame of their motorcycles the term chopper was born. Choppers are not only popular in the United States but have become wildly popular in Australia, where ATV and dirt bike racing is also incredibly popular among the sports fans. Choppers have become so popular in the United States that even bicycles are being manufactured to have the look and feel of a chopper motorcycle. So now, even kids can ride a chopper if their parents don’t own one.

Motorcycle Riders – Say GOOD-BYE To Black/Scuff Shoe Marks Caused By Gear ‘Up-Shifting’

Although the first motorcycle was invented over a hundred years ago and has seen many major changes since its first inception, one item which seems to have been forgotten and left out of the technology advancement is the motorcycle gear shifter lever.

And, it’s this motorcycle gear shifter lever that, after all these years, has never failed in ruining every motorcyclists’ boots and shoes by leaving those tale-tale ugly black shifter marks on them.

Amazing as it sounds, up until now no one has done anything as far as changing or upgrading the gear shifter lever to prevent this irritating problem – which occurs during gear ‘up-shifting’ actions.

The other problem with the current hard rubber that comes standard on all motorcycle gear shifters is that many motorcycle riders also may experience discomfort to the upper left foot during long rides having numerous ‘up shifting’ actions.

While there are a couple of products out on the market today which do sell slip on boot/shoe protectors, the drawback with these is that they have to be placed on and removed from the riders shoes each time the rider starts or finishes riding. These products also don’t offer the rider any type of cushion or comfort while riding.

However, motorcycle riders are in luck now because all of this is about to change. Shiftcush, the revolutionary company which invented the product bearing the same name, designed their Motorcycle Gear Shifter Cushion exactly to prevent all of the above from occurring.

The best part about Shiftcush is that their new easy-to-install gear shifter cushion not only prevents shoes from being ruined but also offers unrivaled shifting comfort by providing an air cushioned padding between the riders foot and gear shifter lever.

This revolutionary air cushion is made by the same technology as used in the Nike Air-Max tennis shoes.

Thanks to Shiftcush, now motorcycle riders can say good-bye to black/ugly shoe marks and any shifter discomfort caused by gear ‘up-shifting!’

Anyone wanting more information on the Shiftcush can find can it by visiting their web site at; http://www.shiftcush.com/

Victory Kingpin Review

This is not an article written by a wannabe motorcyclist article writer that is under direction from the magazine owners on what to write and say based on which motorcycle company is paying the most in advertising dollars at the moment. This article keeps it real.

As I mentioned, I purchased my Victory Kingpin in February of 2004 — A very good year. After looking at Harley Davidson and seeing how Harley has become a mass production company of cookie cutter, oil-leaking machines, I decided to look elsewhere. If a Harley is you bag, then that is all good. For me, I do not understand the appeal. Next I looked at the Honda VTX 1800 — Very nice bike. Best performance and all around cruiser for the money. I wanted this bike.

At the last minute I catch glimpse of a Victory Vegas advertisement. I decide I need to know more. I find that the 2004 Victory motorcycles are being sold by mostly Indian dealerships. Why? Well this is about the time that Indian corporation has decided to go out of business. So the nervous Indian dealerships are quickly signing on with Polaris to sell the Victory motorcycle lines. Was this fate or what? The Victory dealers are enjoying record sales now and selling high-quality American motorcycles. I go to my local Indian dealership, check out the Vegas, then in the back of the small showroom I see Victory Kingpins sitting there calling to me. One was the Black/Bronze 2004 two-tone color. I wanted this motorcycle. The look of the bike, the test ride.

Yes, I said test ride. And the professionalism of the Victory dealer made me sign for the bike that day. Sure I was nervous buying an unknown and unproven American (86% American that is) motorcycle. I knew the inherent problems with buying a Harley and I did not want to go there or be labeled a Harley rider. Not for me. Common sense told me I should have gone with the Honda VTX 1800. But the Victory had styling, had performance, and had comfort and handling that I wanted. It cost eight thousand more than a Honda, but who cares when it comes to the bike you want.

The Kingpin was a joy to ride from day one. I upgraded to the Stage I performance kit, which included new slip-on exhaust, a new K&N air filter and a remapping of the Victory Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The new slip-ons gave the bike a deeper throatier sound. Not the metal clanky sound you hear with Harleys. After doing the recommended engine brake in, I started to get comfortable with the new machine and explore its handling capabilities. With its low-center of gravity, this bike handled like a dream. Not as good as my sport bike but very impressive.

I initially was afraid to work on the bike since it was so expensive and foreign to me. But that winter I started doing some modifications on the bike. The modifications started small with simple bolt on add on like the highway bars, chrome goodies and mirrors. The following year I got even more serious and started wiring in brake light and headlight safety modulators. Then I started swapping out stock parts like the ugly stock turn signals and replacing them with custom LED lighting products from the boys at MBW Motorcycles. Now the bike was started to look custom and I was learning my way around.

The latest modifications I have done include more wiring in of the PIAA driving lights, adding a custom after market drive sprocket overdrive pulley. The latter modification involved removing the fuel tank, exhaust, rear wheel, belt drive, right foot controls. This was a serious modification and I had to make sure I put her back together correctly. I strongly suggest you buy the Service manual for your motorcycle. You need to know the torque specifications and which bolts need Loctite. I did succeed in getting the Kingpin back together and running. I took some time in practicing how to align the rear wheel with the belt drive. I did this a few times and bought a Motion Pro belt tension gauge to make sure I was a close to accurate I could be. With all of these modifications, my confidence in working on the Kingpin has gone from zero to what can I try next. It is Zen like to work on motorcycles and to ride them.

Now we are in spring of 2006. The Victory Kingpin is two year old. With all of my modifications and 10,000 miles I have not had one single mechanical problem with this motorcycle. Yes I am shocked. Especially since this was the first year for this motorcycle. There were bound to be some problems. The answer is simply no. This motorcycle is a gem. I can count on this bike on long trips. Feel comfortable riding the bike, and feel confident that I can keep her running for years to come.

I have my Kingpin completely customized to my style. With one or two performance modifications in place, I find the need to give the Victory Freedom 92 cubic inch engine more power. The method to which I will use to satisfy this need is to install an Eaglecat custom Victory air box and a Lloydz Victory Fuel Control module. Bit the items combined will give your Kingpin an additional 11 horsepower. Yes I said eleven horsepower. I have the dyno sheets to prove this.