The appeal of choppers and ape hangers?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by woollybugger, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. woollybugger

    woollybugger Adventurer

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    I don't get choppers. I get them even less when they have ape hangers. They look distorted and nonfunctional to me. And I can imagine they must be a nightmare to steer.

    I say this as someone new to motorcycles who has never actually ridden one.

    Am I missing something? If so, can anyone educate me?
    #1
  2. Paul466

    Paul466 Adventurer

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    Don’t look at them from a motorcyclist point of view, look at them like a low rider that is useless to drive and only for image. Hope this helps:)
    #2
  3. mikes'gs

    mikes'gs what R U looking at Supporter

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    BECAUSE IT'S COOL THATS WHY...
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  4. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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  5. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    Initially The bobber guys were installing longer fork tubes for increased cornering clearance on their race bikes. This sounds logical to those of us who have tried to ride fast on a big twin H-D. The fans started copying and exaggerating the look until you have what we see now. I test road a 2018 Street bob with mini apes and was surprised by the comfort, actually like the Iron 1200 with them also. The exaggerated height up above the shoulders is just stupid. I have seen around Sturgis guys leave the clamp loose if their apes are above legal height and pull them back and down when they see the cops to avoid a ticket. Can you imagine trying to do a hard emergency brake maneuver with loose handlebars?
    #5
  6. sshbsn

    sshbsn Been here awhile

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    832018C3-412E-4877-8519-D031A494848D.jpeg the whole chopper thing was inevitable, our generation was led astray in our youth by this guy, er, i mean dog
    #6
  7. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    Maybe they do it because it makes them smile.
    Some would ask that question of sport bikes, adventure bikes, cafe racers, etc. They don't care if others "get it", just as I don't give a flying fuck what others think about my car, house, clothes, friends, bikes, the Vespa, Moto Guzzi, Indian, BMW Roaster, GSA. They all make me smile and that's all that matters.

    Paul
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  8. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Adventurer

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    Most true hardtail chopped bikes I see, especially in the retro/vintage scene, don't have apes - rabbit ears, elkhorns, and t-bars are all in vogue, though!
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  9. Motonirvana

    Motonirvana Can't make this shit up

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    What does the "increased cornering clearance" from the longer fork tubes provide in regards to handling? Better in turns? I was under the impression that choppers are good on straight roads but not as good in turns? Just curious and always wondered how choppers handle.
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  10. Stato

    Stato Adventurer

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    The same reason people drive 1950s Cadillacs with 20in wheels and lowered suspension, or hotrods with 4 inches chopped from the roof.
    Sure a sports car will handle better and a minivan/pickup is a lot more practical.
    But you just don't get the same "feeling"
    #10
  11. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    According to lore, ape hangers were originally used to make it easier to stand over bumps on old hardtail motorcycles. For example, the Harley FL series didn't get rear suspension until the 1958 Duo Glide. The 1957 Hydra Glide was a hardtail. While the seating wasn't gyno-chair cruiser like on a typical chopper, it was feet in front dining-room-chair style. And it seems like higher bars would make it easier to pull yourself up on your feet to absorb bumps with your legs rather than your spine.
    #11
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  12. ddavidv

    ddavidv Dark web dangerous

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    This:
    [​IMG]
    /thread
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  13. KneeDrachen

    KneeDrachen Long timer

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    firewalled for me, but check out the Japanese Bosozoku (sp?) vehicle style....
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  14. Laoch

    Laoch Am I still here? Supporter

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    Cuz. that's why.:deal
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  15. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    I personally tend to like mild ape hangers. I find it comfortable to have my hands somewhere up towards my shoulders often times. Don't like apes up over my head, don't like clip ons down by my knees.

    Choppers have never been particularly interesting to me, though I'd certainly try riding one if given the chance. I don't have to "get it" to simply recognize it as something that appeals to others. No different than argyle sweaters, yoga pants, rock crawling or the zillion other things that people do and enjoy that aren't so wonderful to me.
    #15
  16. KneeDrachen

    KneeDrachen Long timer

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    I agree with the above but yoga pants on the right woman are very wonderful to me.
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  17. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Yea, but you should see me in an argyle sweater and yoga pants.

    Or, perhaps, you shouldn't. :rofl
    #17
  18. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    Choppers are only good on straight roads, but they evolved from Bobbers. Bobbers were standard motorcycles (all that was made in the 30's and 40's) with all the extra stuff chopped off to save weight and modified for more performance. Long low bikes have very limited cornering clearance, so if you raise it up a couple of inches you get better lean angle and can carry more corner speed.
    #18
  19. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    From Wikipedia

    Over time the choppers became more and more about achieving a certain look, rather than being primarily performance oriented modifications. The modifications that had had their origin in hotrodding evolved into an artistic and aesthetic direction. By the mid 1970s stock Japanese and European performance motorcycles would outperform most bobbers and choppers. The one exception to this was the drag racing arena, which placed a premium on pure engine power, rather than handling over curvy courses. Chopper styling continued to be influenced by drag-bike modifications throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
    #19
  20. Tallbastid

    Tallbastid KTM Convert Supporter

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    I've been riding motorcycles for nearly 20 years, and I'm convinced I would die on that bike within minutes.
    #20