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Original Article:
Mainstream Choppers Shootout

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article Mainstream Choppers Shootout in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
 

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Those behemoths are as far from "choppers" as they can be.

What's "chopped"? (That is, cut down or removed as excess and unnecessary?) Nothing. They are banal bikes at best.
 

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Tho the bikes ain't my cuppa' Joe, I enjoyed the article. Enough-so, I read the entire thing (somesing I normelly do not do mit "Kruzer Artikles").
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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I guess whatever flips your switch is about all I can say. They're neat looking factory bikes though way too flash for me. Now let me get my nose in the air at the appropriate angle and say you don't buy a chopper you build it. Anyone can buy a bike and add or remove parts to make some kind of statement, the more rad you go the more chopped or bobbed the bike is and the more personal it is to you, you don't just f*ckin' go "buy a chopper"

Like I said, these are cool looking factory bikes but they're no more choppers than that OCC sh*t on TV
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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...And wasn't the point of the original chopper concept was to buy a cheap POS and than fix it up and Frankenstein the hell out of it because you couldn't afford a new manufactured bike?
Somewhat, but mostly the 'chopper' was a symbol of self-expression I believe. It was to build something with your own two hands making something that was different than anyone else's bike. Now you just slap down 20G and buy one!
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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True dat! Build what you ride, don't buy it. Especially when two of them are trying too hard to look like the third one. Hopefully, this whole scene will soon be a bad memory, and the copycats can go out of business, the idiots with too much money will find another hobby, and the Japanese can go back to copying themselves full time. It's time for something new, and these ain't it.
 

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The Yam is just to ugly to compete in this group. Yeah, yeah, better performance, less money, blah blah blah. IMO, people who are considering a $20,000 Harley are not going to even consider buying the Raider. The Victory might get a look, but I don't think performance is the motivating factor in this purchasing decision. It's styling and cool factor, and the Yam lost big in both of those categories. If you compare the Raider to H-D and Victory products with similar prices (which is more realistic anyway, since people generally shop based on how much they can afford to spend), you might end up comparing the Raider to the standard Vegas and the Harley Superglide (I would have said Softail Standard but it has been discontinued). I don't think that would have changed the results of this shootout (since the Raider won on performance), but it would have eliminated price as the primary factor.

Let's talk about looks. Why is the Raider ugly? Let me count the reasons why. First, looking at the front, why did they use a headlight with ugly mounting brackets on the sides of it? Look at any custom cruiser and they will have a headlight with less obvious mounts. Then there's the big gap between the fuel tank and the steering head. Looks like some amateur hack and reweld job was done on the frame. The fuel tank doesn't look like it was custom designed for this bike. For the next eyesore, take a look at the rear fender strut. What's up with the weird angles? I read the part about them going for the "gothic" look, but this thing is just ugly. The seat angles are nearly as bad. And the exhaust, although it does provide the angles that Yam was looking for, just doesn't flow well. That's the problem with this bike. The photo MO posted of the bike looking down on it from behind doesn't look too bad, but the flow of the bike, looking at the side view, it just looks broken. JMHO.
 

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The Hawley looks way cool. The Vic looks like something conjured up from a wholesale thrift shop, with that screwy desk lamp headlight shell. And the Yamaha looks like, err... a Yamaha.
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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...And wasn't the point of the original chopper concept was to buy a cheap POS and than fix it up and Frankenstein the hell out of it because you couldn't afford a new manufactured bike?
Well that's why I built my first Harley. I was riding my 750 Kawasaki, working for the State getting paid once a month, so every month I'd buy as many parts as I could. I started with a stretched '57 straight bar frame a buddy had, then a couple of wheels and a front end. Once I had a rolling chassis I took out a loan from the credit union for a hammered 74in. Shovelhead engine and ratchet top trans. clutch and inner and outer primaries. I paid a guy a couple of hundred bucks to spray the tanks and fenders black lacquer w/ rasberry metalflake, another bud wired it for me and we got it running, then I took off the heads and barrels, had bored them to 80in. and added a J grind cam and had the heads flowed with new valves and guides. It took about a year to get it on the road and running good, then another 6 months of replacing all the used junkyard parts with new Harley stuff. After that I just rode the wheels off it, never really had any trouble with it except the 5 gal tanks leaking, I rode around with a Sportster tank on it for a while then I went to 3.5 gal fat bobs and rubber mounted them and solved that problem.

It was really a lot of fun, I wish I still had it.
 

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One thing I mentioned during the test is that all of these bikes worked way better than they should considering the geometry, etc. The front ends were a little heavy, but other than that, they rode like normal motorcycles. I was impressed with all of them.
 
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