“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When Newton proposed his third law of motion over 400 years ago, it aimed at explaining forces on physical objects. I have found that this law also applies to human spirit. Every trend, fashion, viewpoint, belief or action seems to result in an opposite trend, fashion, viewpoint, belief or action. This is probably why we will never experience world peace. Although world peace would be wonderful, this constant state of human revolution is what makes us unique and life interesting. Disco music makes way for punk rock, which makes way for Techno, which sparks Grunge and so on… This brings us to our featured motorcycle; the new Old School Chopper.


After World War II, thousands of American troops returned home. The horrors of war left many of these men with restless souls and they found normal day to day living at home unsatisfying and frustrating. Many of these men had experienced motorcycles during the war and had also gained mechanical knowledge. They bought up ex military Harley Davidsons and by default formed groups with other thrill seeking war veterans. These groups were to become the motorcycle gangs of the future. In the pursuit of more speed and better handling, their Harleys were made lighter by removing all parts and components which added weight. Even front brakes were removed. Mudguards were cut shorter or ‘bobbed’. To lower the centre of gravity, sprung saddles were replaced with saddles mounted directly onto the rigid frames. Frames were left unaltered. These ‘Bobbers’ were the rebel yell of the 1950’s.

The social turbulence of the 1960’s in America reflected in motorcycle trends. Harley Davidson was building heavy and ornate motorcycles with big valanced mudguards, running boards and luggage bags. The rebellious response was to take the already stripped down ‘Bobbers’, cut or “chop” the frame, change the rake angle and install extended springer forks with skinny front wheels and tyres. Initially the increased rake and longer forks were introduced to improve straight line stability at speed. As the 60’s became more psychadelic, these “Choppers” became less and less about function and more about form. Drab colours made way for fantastic metal flake paint jobs. Ape hangers, sissy bars, small custom petrol tanks and custom controls were installed onto the lengthened and raked rigid frames. In Europe a similar trend evolved but more readily available Triumph and BSA motors were used. These choppers expressed the anti-establishment, non-conformist mood of the time.
The old school choppers became less popular by the mid 1970’s. Movies like Mad Max created a new type of rebel machine built from Japanese 4 cylinder motorcycles. These ‘Street Fighters’ were faster and more practical. In the late 1990’s, a new type of custom motorcycle gained popularity and became the ‘must have’ toy of the rich and famous – the custom chopper. These two wheeled works of art are raked out, completely custom made motorcycles with huge amounts of bling. Specially machined wheels are fitted with up to 400mm wide back tyres. The engines powering these creations come from V-Twin motors manufactured by suppliers such as S&S. Engines capacity generally exceed 2000cc. Thanks to Newton’s law, the reaction to these custom bikes has resulted in a resurgence of the old school chopper style of the 1960’s. It is a ‘new’ Old School Chopper.
Stefan’s chopper has all the characteristics of a 60’s chopper. It has the rigid frame with the raked and lengthened springer forks as well as the correctly styled tank and ape hangers. It also has a modern Harley Evolution motor and disc brakes which make it reliable and safe. The hand and foot controls, front and rear light are custom pieces which were, together with other parts, further personalised by machining. The 200mm wide rear tyre is as wide as you will see on this style of motorcycle. A genuine Mexican serape was used to cover the sprung seat. The bright colours of the seat contrast with the muted matt colours on the motorcycle and also reflect Stefan’s love of colour. Louis from the Wrench in Pretoria created this motorcycle from the ground up with Stefan orchestrating the personal touches. The end result is a motorcycle which oozes nostalgia but remains desirable today. I wonder what Newton has in store for us next!