View Full Version : Deranged choppers anyone ?

09 February 2012, 0511
Hi guys,

Seems my project to build a chopper from a rolling chassis of a Big Bear chopper has a bad start: I'm reading Big Bear choppers is filing for bankruptcy ?!?! just googled it...too bad, cool bikes.

If true, I found this web site where they sell chopper rolling chassis :

seems i could fit a fair quantities of batteries in this one.


Anyone knows them ?


09 February 2012, 0650
Howdy Hugues - man im really rooting for you on this one... i would really love to see a total full blown custom chopper become a EV...

i like this choice a lot better than the first one - if you need to scale this bike out on paper so we can find out what will fit just let me know...

09 February 2012, 0704
from the pictures it seems there is a decent space,

i dropped them an e-mail to see if they have a 3D CAD file, i can always dream...or at least give me 2 or 3 measurements...

i'm defintely gonna go with GBS batteries from Elite and the dual hub from Marcycle, and Kelly controller. Now the toughest part suddenly becomes to find a frame that can be certified by my DOT here in Switzerland. Big Bear's were certified :-(

09 February 2012, 0736
this is a close proximity of the scale of this motorcycle you picked... which means its not exact - if i had an exact size of that front wheel i can get a bet size for you...

09 February 2012, 0738
if you tell them your building an EV out of it, im sure they would be glad to give you dimensions...

09 February 2012, 0811
clever, i should have thought about that method.

only specs i can read are:

i often see these OUT, UP specs, any idea what they mean ? i suppose it's about the fron fork angle or something like this ?
and the 300 RSD ? does it relate to the wheel you think ?

which rolling chassis you are showing there ? nice one too, do they sell them ?


09 February 2012, 0857

Is there a way you can find a used chopper frame in Switzerland? With your warm climate how will that effect your battery efficiency?

Los Angeles

09 February 2012, 0917
Hi Tony,

I'm looking also locally, but not many choppers around, and when you find one, it's normally still in working condition and way too expensive to strip it down.

At the altitude where I live in Switzerland it's not that cold normally, a few degrees below freezing point, so batteries are ok, apart of a few weeks per year,

09 February 2012, 0958
i hate to say it, but ebay has chopper frames...

09 February 2012, 1330
well, they have a few decent customs bike designers too in Switzerland....

not sure i want to ask the price of this one though :O


09 February 2012, 1339
I think you want to start with a TUV approved frame such as this one

Good article it's focus is the UK

I think the thing to do is source all you can in Switzerland, go to the local chopper bike shop (if they exist) and ask questions of those who have gone through the process, even if it is on a ICE bike. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of custom chopper frame builders but very few who can put a bike on the road in Europe.

09 February 2012, 1348
Hi Mark !

we're posting at the same time, thanks for the links, seems that registering a bike in Europe is not that simple when i read this.

I need to investigate more locally as you suggest.

Digging on the same web site as the one i showed above, i found that they sell rolling chassis, seems to have a decent space too. Below is a finished bike with that frame, not bad at all, i can see your dual monster fit in that wheel ! and here's the link with the price and picture of rolling chassis. Swiss franc to US dollar is more or less 1 to 1 these days


i think i'll pay them a visit this saturday, about 2 hours drive.

i'll keep you posted,



09 February 2012, 1522
Would modifying a current swing arm to rigid and stretching the frame to "chopper" still give you grief?

09 February 2012, 1816
Just want to make sure that you're aware that bikes with geometry and tire sizes like that handle like riding a dumpster.

They excel at nothing, except trying to stoke the ego of the attention starved by causing other envious imbeciles to point and stare.

09 February 2012, 1902
naaahhh the low rake angles are a perfect fit for the cruiser bikes... Low speeds and mostly straight lines or long distances without much steering input needed... Cuts down on the fatigue from having to keep on it. Sure they don't turn worth a darn but people who are into the performance side of it don't even consider a cruiser.

09 February 2012, 2234
Just want to make sure that you're aware that bikes with geometry and tire sizes like that handle like riding a dumpster.

They excel at nothing, except trying to stoke the ego of the attention starved by causing other envious imbeciles to point and stare.

Thanks for sharing your impressions ,
That's gonna be more for Sunday afternoon cruising at low speed, no high speed driving in mind.
As for the other point, well, if we leave the imbecile part aside, that's pretty much my number one objective honestly , as stated in my other post:

10 February 2012, 0307
I can't stop thinking about Mark's dual motor in one of these beasts.



10 February 2012, 1022
I can't stop thinking about Mark's dual motor in one of these beasts.



I'm with you.....then think water cooled! ....ouch my brain hurts....

10 February 2012, 1058
choppers are the most uncomfortable and hard to keep straight on the road, but if you ever rode one, its almost worth the effort... especially if your just using it for riding once in while...

thats why i didnt go for the long forks, because i will be riding it daily, but i hope to one day make a full blown chopper as one of my projects in the future...

:O Please... Dont... Stop...

somebody make it stop...

10 February 2012, 1158
As impractical as choppers are, you can't deny their popularity and cool factor, particularly in the US.
I keep thinking, it would be a pretty cool project if you could capture the same aesthetics.

Good luck Hughes.

My wife is going to kill me if I bring home another bike....

10 February 2012, 1455
choppers are the most uncomfortable and hard to keep straight on the road, but if you ever rode one, its almost worth the effort... especially if your just using it for riding once in while...

How is choosing to operate the worst feeling, worst riding 2 wheeled machine ever going to be "almost worth the effort" ?

It's popularity stems from the extremely ignorant thinking its "cool" to ride something retarded.

People that ride choppers are not even riding for themselves, or for the riding, they are riding because they are so pathetic they are trying to fill some attention void in there life with the views of other people as they ride by, the ignorant masses thinking "cool", and the educated and/or experienced masses thinking, "what a f*cking retard".

I have ridden a few different choppers, bobbers, badly raked out hard-tails, long fork bikes, etc. It is absolutely pathetic. It's like defining pathetic in machine form. It's intentionally taking something that could work, and crippling it so it can only hobble around.

If we were back in the days of riding horses around, it would be like putting your horse in leg-irons with a chain between them that only lets it hobble around with little crippled 1ft steps, and thinking it's awesome because somewhere some group of idiots decided it was a cool fashion to have your horses legs all tied up so it can't excel at anything.

It's intentionally choosing to cripple your motorcycles potential to be good at anything, and even paying extra to ensure it will never be good.

It just completely blows my mind.

Hughes- Before you spend the money, PLEASE try riding one. If it doesn't make you want to throw-up in your mouth after the first time you try to turn or brake or do anything that is part of the fun of the riding experience, then spend the money. But spending the money before even trying one is going to really sour you on the bike after you've got a lot of time and money invested into something that you hate operating.

It seems like I'm being a d*ck, and maybe I am, but PLEASE just try one before you spend the money, you will come back here thanking me for saving you 10's of thousands of dollars and lots of your time only to end up with something that does nothing well, and is awful to ride.

10 February 2012, 1516
Wow , you're not on a good mood today, but I hear you.

Actually, maybe CHOPPER is not exactly the right word to describe the bike style that I have in mind. I'm not an expert in American bike terminology.

For sure a bike with long never ending front forks is not what I want to do, and I guess people think about that first when reading chopper.

I bumped into this German custom bike builder today, they sell TUV certified frames for Europe .

They have pretty cool bikes . The one I link above is more dragstyle than chopper I guess and might be easier to handle ?

My local bike shop just happen to have a rolling chassis on stock of one of these Germanic brute , I'm gonna see it tomorrow, I'll keep you posted

10 February 2012, 1529
I like where you are going with your project,if you can pull off that single sided swing-arm on the last link that would be really cool.

10 February 2012, 1630
If you're trying to make a semi-mobile art project, then by all means do whatever you think is "cool". You could save money and not even put batteries or a motor in it.

If you're making something you want to ride, it's INSANE not to ride the various types of bikes before picking something that you're going to be spending a lot of time with riding around.

You will find that some bikes just fit like a glove, and riding feels like you've got an almost psychic connection with the machine, and it just enables you to do anything your heart desires as perfectly as you even imagined it could be done. I've experienced this connection on a wide range of bikes, from giant Honda Goldwing touring bikes that handled so well you could scrape the pegs on them at every turn, and chase down newbs on sportbikes on twisty roads, or cruise a twisty highway for hours of effortless riding bliss. Or, supermoto's that barely can do 70mph, but put a huge smile on your face through every turn, and rip through fun technical riding, or urban stair climbing sessions or tight windy road carving. Or superbikes like my GSX-R that feel so comfortable at speed, you could fall asleep at 140mph if it wasn't for the hurricane of wind-buffeting your body, and brake from 100 to 0mph in just a few seconds, and can carve corners solidly at triple digit speeds.

All those different types of bikes each have something special they are very good at, things that they do very well.

You should ride as many different types of bikes as you can, sportbikes, touring bikes, supermotos, etc, and feel and understand the different riding qualities that various types of bikes provide. Then ride a chopper and tell me what you thought about the experience...

Good bikes exist in many different styles, and good bikes leave your cheeks aching after a ride from all the smiling you're doing. However, bikes that are painfully poor at every attribute of the riding experience do not leave your cheeks sore, they leave your back sore and your soul disappointed and unsatisfied.

10 February 2012, 1636
I like where you are going with your project,if you can pull off that single sided swing-arm on the last link that would be really cool.

What would make it cool? You know it's impossible to match the strength and rigidity vs weight with a single arm right? It was done for a short period in superbike racing to aid in rapid tire changes before they made quick-swap axles, and everyone went back to double sided swing arms that offer less weight and better rigidity and lower complexity.

This will be my last post in this thread, as I clearly do not understand what makes something "cool".

10 February 2012, 1735
This will be my last post in this thread

that would be awesome. Save it for ES.

("dick" would not be what came to mind...)

10 February 2012, 1742
and everyone went back to double sided swing arms that offer less weight and better rigidity and lower complexity.

please explain the entire 2012 Ducati line up then, better yet save it for somebody else. As for your rant above it comes from the view point of someone who has an extremely narrow vision of the motorcycle industry maybe you should stick with your bicycles.

11 February 2012, 0326
Sorry if my post last night seemed a little harsh.

I suspect liveforphysics' heart is in the right place... he feels strongly about this style of bike (uh, I guess that's obvious, huh?). Maybe he's seen other guys spend lots of time and money building bikes they ended up not liking much. I feel the same way about planning the build, in fact, I talk about that in my book a bit. Make sure you build a bike you actually want to ride, starting with a chassis designed for that purpose.*

That said, bikes are like colors of paint. There are a whole bunch of them for a reason... everybody has a different idea of what's awesome. (I, of course, enjoy the sole position as being the only purveyor of what really is awesome... but there can only be a few of us, right? :D) I think that, given the assumption that you have the sense to know what kind of bike you want to end up with before embarking on a build, the rant was a little out of character for the ElMoto community- which both you, and liveforphysics are relatively new to. I don't think I've ever seen a post slamming a type of bike build on ElMoto, except where it's potentially unsafe from a structural point of view.

Calling a build "pathetic" or "retarded" on this forum is just something that just pisses me off. ...totally unnecessary to make his point, too - and a very valid point at that.

To tell the truth, I'm not much into building choppers either... I don't like riding them, but I do love to look at them. (The show I was at recently was just astounding... but there was a little voice inside my head saying, crap, how does he get that thing down the street?) My own builds are also equally impractical. I'm positive that most people look at the R5e and think, oh, my achin' back. But I've got nothing but respect for what you're trying to do, and I hope it is everything you want it to be.

In fact, that whole idea of running one of Mark's dual motors on a chopper has pretty much destroyed any ability I have to concentrate on whatever it was I was doing. :D

I hope the direction this thread has temporarily taken hasn't discouraged you at all... maybe quite the opposite!

*My own experience, to tell the truth, was making exactly that "mistake". I learned how to build on a bike I didn't much like, then when I found the frame I really wanted, just swapped components over to the new bike and sold the old chassis. No big deal, ultimately. It took a week to go from a mid-'80s sport bike to a vintage, early '70's roadracer, once my frame was ready.

11 February 2012, 0426
Good morning Ted, woke up early it seems. Here it's early afternoon and as the temperature is a little less cold i'm gonna go ride my snow bike in the trails to try my new snow traction device.

As for the heated discussion, well, if we leave the choice of words aside, there are some valid points made and i'm gonna integrate some of them into my project. I know LFP from the ES forum and the guy has a very deep knowledge of motors and he has built some crazy fast bikes. Don't know if he was in a bad mood but i believe some of the words he used to get his point across were inappropriate and unnecessary in my opinion and can only irritate people. That makes me think of your other thread this week about the anonymity of internet forums sometimes amplifying the tone of certain discussions. I bet you and him could be very good mates if you met in person and discuss and exchange on many topics you like and are very knowledgable about. Anyway, i'm not here to moralize anyone.

Just got back from my local bike shop this morning, the guy has on the floor a nice rolling chassis made by HPU in Germany, Swiss certified already, that's a plus. I can't call it a chopper, more dragstlyle i guess, so i'm gonna start a separate (another one ?) thread with the details. I measured it and it seems there is a little more space than my initial Big Bear frame choice. Speaking of Big Big Choppers, seems they might avoid bankruptcy as they will be helped out by the main Swiss importer ? well maybe just rumors at this stage.

11 February 2012, 0439
HA! Yeah, I'm always up this early... not gonna tell you what time I go to bed. It's so embarrassing.

Any shots of the bike you saw this morning? This whole thread has rekindled an idea I had a while ago... teaming up with a custom chopper builder who wants to do an electric bike... and show the OCC guys how it's done. :D

One of my problems with choppers, too, is that the bikes I really am drawn to are the BSA/Triumph builds. Smaller, skinny things where all hell's breaking loose between your legs. LOL!

11 February 2012, 0847
Definitely got pics, will post them in a separate thread later today,
back from the trails just now, damn it was cold,
got to pick up the kids from ski,
will post more later.