Any motorcycle can become a chopper if modified or “chopped” to be so. In fact, the culture started from those wanting to customize their own motorcycles to make them more comfortable or increase their performance.
Over the years, companies became successful by building custom chopper bikes for people that enjoyed the style but didn’t want to invest the time and money into building their own bikes.
Today, there are still several reputable companies that specialize in creating custom choppers for those that can’t wait to get out on the road.
Choppers are known to be expensive, but you can still find an older model for less than $10,000. But for that price, it will be used and might be from a discontinued brand, which can make finding parts difficult and more expensive.
A truly custom, well-maintained chopper from some of the most popular brands of chopper motorcycles, such as Wild West, Big Dog, and Bourget Bike Works, can easily fetch upwards of $50,000 at an auction. If you want a custom-built mini chopper that goes up to 75 Mph and can be ridden by a 6’5 adult, it will only cost you around $10,000.
This article dives into the world of chopper motorcycles, and what you should know about the most popular brands.
Types of Chopper Motorcycles
There are a ton of customizations that make every chopper different, but the two main categories that a chopper can be in are: hard-tails and soft-tails.
These motorcycles lack a rear suspension because the axle is mounted directly to the frame. Known to give the rider more feel of the road. This technique reduces weight and cost but might decrease the ease of handling. Hard-tails are the original style of chopper.
These motorcycles have a rear suspension, which is fastened to the frame with an axle that enables it to pivot. This creates a smoother ride but is more expensive to install and maintain.
Styles of Chopper Motorcycle
- Classic Bobbers – This style is the original fast chopper motorcycle on a hard-tail frame. They were stripped down to bare essential to reduce weight and increase performance and speed. Many refer to the Classic Bobber as old-school.
- Pro-Street – These newly popular bikes mix the old-school look of a classic bobber with new technology, giving it a fresh look and high horsepower.
- Fat Bob – This style is based on soft-tail frames with big tires for a softer ride. They also feature a fatter tank and a bigger saddle for those looking for a smooth ride on a larger bike.
- Bagger – This style is basically a Fat Bob with added features for long rides, including luggage compartments, passenger seat, and a windshield.
Cheapest Chopper Motorcycle Brands
Owning and customizing choppers is a notoriously expensive hobby, but there are several models on the market that can be purchased for $10,000 or less. At these prices, the custom choppers offered will be used and possibly from discontinued brands but will look great and run well.
|2001 Sidewinder RN||Titan||$7,500|
|High Roller S 240||APC||$7,500|
|2000 Ground Pounder||Ultra||$8,000|
|2006 Auto-Glide Classic||Ridley||$9,000|
|2006 Sterling RM||Thunder Mountain||$10,000|
Customized Choppers Pricing
Choppers are a wildly successful trend of motorcycle that has lasted generations, but each custom chopper’s beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and that’s why you will find such a ranging price for custom choppers.
Prices depend on factors such as the type of frame, engine, added accessories, and paint.
While still highly individually customized, the following several models from the top brands have stood out to become some of the most popular chopper motorcycles on the market.
- 2007 Vigilant Gunfire, Wild West, $20,000 – $45,000
- K-9, Big Dog, $15,000 – $30,000
- 2003 Venom, Big Bear Choppers, $15,000 – $25,000
- 2004 Vendetta, Vengeance, $14,000 – $32,500
- Dragon, Bourget Bike Works, $17,000 – $50,000
- HD Softail Rocker C, Harley-Davidson, $10,500 – $20,000
Most Popular Chopper Motorcycle Brands
There have been many motorcycle customization shops in America since the beginning of the chopper era after World War 2.
Some have lasted and are loved by new generations of chopper riders, and some have closed their production lines or moved on to other ventures. The following are some of the biggest names in chopper motorcycle brands.
This American motorcycle manufacturing company was founded in Texas in 1995, specializing in choppers with V-twin engines and large fins. The company closed in 2008, but their bikes are still easily sold at auctions and special dealers.
Big Bear Choppers
This custom motorcycle manufacturer was started by a man and his wife in California in 1997 and has become recognized worldwide for their impressive chopper creations at reasonable prices.
This company started in 1994 with one man in his garage chopping a Harley-Davidson and has gone on to become one of the most recognized chopper brands in America. Closed in 2011 but has since reopened and restarted manufacturing of their classic bikes.
Bourget Bike Works
Started in 1993, this American custom motorcycle manufacturer has remained an American favorite for their skilled craftmanship, commitment to quality, and unique custom choppers.
This iconic Motorcycle company is not originally known for producing choppers but once they started becoming popular, they come out with their own line of choppers that were created out of their classic motorcycles.
Started in 1995 with the release of the Speedster model, this company quickly gained success until it was sued by Harley-Davidson for producing a motorcycle with the Auto-Glide name attached to it.
It was settled out of court and the Ridley filed for bankruptcy shortly after. The popular bikes which were based on being automatic, lightweight, and low to the ground still do well at auctions.
This custom chopper shop was started in 1999 and used primarily Harley-Davidson parts to make hand-crafted custom orders. They also do well by specializing in very custom paint jobs.
Founded in 1995 during a time when dealers were short-stacked on Harley-Davidsons, this company became the first custom chopper manufacturer to produce bikes in a large volume. The company closed in 2007 but its custom choppers are still found at many auctions and specialty dealers.
Other Motorcycle Guides
While they stopped producing their popular custom motorcycles in 2008 due to economic restraints, this company’s motorcycles are loved by many enthusiasts and still fetch a high price at auctions due to their iconic all-American style, V-twin engines, and unbeatable quality.
Created by the Polaris company, this brand was built to compete with Harley-Davidson and while it made high-quality custom bikes, it didn’t create the brand loyalty they desired.
So, in 2017 Polaris shut down production of Victory Motorcycles and revived the Indian Motorcycle brand they purchased previously. Victory brand choppers are now some of the cheapest choppers on the market.
This custom motorcycle company was started in the late 80’s, has overcome many hurdles, and is now one of the few remaining manufacturers of custom choppers. Wild West bikes including the Vigilante and Dragoon style choppers fetch some of the highest values at the auctions today.
Mini Chopper Motorcycles
As with many things, chopper motorcycles went mini. There are a ton of custom options available, and several different companies offering complete mini choppers or parts to build your own.
You can get a brand-new basic street legal 125cc mini chopper for less than $2,000 or a custom ordered highspeed mini chopper that costs up to $10,000.
Little BadAss Motorcycle Co
HD or Heavy Duty – Weighing only 75 lbs., this hand-crafted old-school style mini chopper can comfortably ride a person up to 6’5 feet tall and go up to 70 Mph. This is a real bike in a mini package. $10,000
Dave Miller DMC
Half Bagger – Modified Little BadAss frame with a NHRA Billet Front Wheel, hydraulic brakes, electric start, fatty style forks, and much more. This 120-pound custom mini chopper can carry almost 300 pounds and can be rode comfortably for long periods. Pricing based on custom orders.
Boom Bobber is mini chopper is a 125-cc street-legal version of a vintage Café Racer. 4-speed manual transmission with a top speed of 65 Mph. Top-of-the-line equipment gives this mini chopper and smooth and comfortable ride. $1,700
Villain – This mini chopper is a 49cc 2-stroke engine on a solid steel frame. Meant for those aged 4-16 or adults traversing their property, this mini chopper will easily go 35 – 40 Mph all day. Not street legal. $750
Owning a chopper can be a rewarding hobby, but it doesn’t come without its major costs. Remember to figure in parts, upgrades, maintenance, and gear into your total chopper ownership costs, but at least you will save money in gas and have fun doing it!
For those that can’t wait to get out on the road, there are several high-quality companies that specialize in creating custom choppers for between $20,000 and $75,000. If you’re looking for something cheaper, then there are several choices for used, but possibly discontinued, choppers for less than $10,000. But do your research to make sure parts are still available. At the auctions and specialized dealerships, custom choppers from brands such as Wild West, Big Dog, and Bourget Bike Works, can easily fetch upwards of $50,000.
We hope this article helped you learn something about chopper motorcycle brands, and we thank you for reading!
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.