OldSkool Chopper - Page 1 of 5


Figure 1

Old Skool Attitude chopper brings back the golden age of chopper building when most bicycles had only a single speed, one brake, balloon tires, and nice flowing lines in the frame. Your daddy would remember the days when he and his buddies would take that old bicycle, extend the forks by hammering another pair end to end, replace the front wheel with a smaller one, and then strip all unnecessary parts from the frame. Those builders who had access to a welder may have even modified the frame or forks to adjust the rake, which is what I plan to do here.

The fun thing about this project is that all of the parts are true to the era, right down to the 1970s exercise bike that I used for parts.

This photo shows the vintage 1970s single speed frame that I found at the dump one day while scavenging for parts. I was just a young "whipper snapper" when these bikes were on the road, but I do remember seeing them chopped and modified, ridden by garage hackers of the day. I thought it would be cool to salvage this old frame from the mud and give it the life it always wanted, keeping true to the style of the era from whence it came. I had an old 1970s exercise bicycle sitting in the back of my garage, as well as a banana seat, an old single speed wheel, and a vintage bicycle light, so this project was certainly possible.

Figure 2

I planned to add longer forks to the chopper, but did not want it to lean back too much, so a simple frame extension would be necessary in order to increase the rake and length of the frame, which would keep the bottom bracket roughly at the same height to the ground.

As shown, the original head tube was removed and two pieces of conduit, equal in diameter to the original frame tube were fit in place. The original head tube could not be reused due to the lugged construction, which leaves huge holes in the head tube and contaminates the joint with brazing filler. Another head tube from some scrap frame was used to replace the original head tube.

Figure 3

This photo shows the top tube extension tack welded to the frame. This 8 inch long piece of conduit has the same diameter as the original frame tubing, so it would be easy to seamlessly integrate it by grinding away the weld material. Head tube angle was also increased to allow the new forks to have quite a bit of rake so that the frame would not be lifted at the front, creating a skyscraper style chopper.

When doing these ad-hoc frame modifications, it is a good idea to place the parts and wheels on the ground to make sure your final product will have the angles and dimensions you are after. Bottom bracket height is another matter of concern, as you don't want your pedals to hit the ground around corners.

Figure 4

The first extension tube was completely welded at the top tube joint as well as the head tube joint as shown here. The head tube was checked for vertical alignment with the seat tube just after the first few tack welds were made.

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You can build it yourself from our easy to follow DIY plans!