Chopper mania – USA

chopper bike

Fantastic detail on this bicycle chopper.

 New Yorker and AtomicZombie member, Kempracing, has an addiction. But, don’t worry, it’s a good one.

He loves to design and build choppers. It doesn’t matter if they’re on two wheels or three. Each one is unique. Kempracing puts a lot of thought and care into his bikes.

Check out the detailed web design of this chopper. He built and donated this chopper for a raffle at the Howe Caverns Bicycle Show and Swap Meet in New York this past July. A lucky winner pedaled off with this beauty.

chopper trike

A custom built chopper trike for the Mrs.

And, an embedded star burst heart on the trike he built for his wife, Patty. Awww.

See more of kempracing’s custom built choppers.

Bike builders news Dec.10: Build a velo, Part 3


Feature article by RadicalBrad of Building a Velomobile – Part 3
In this week’s issue, choosing a material to make the skin. Coroplast vs. luan. Decisions, decisions.


Hub flanges and axle adapters for your trike and quad bike projects
Bike builders community chat – stimulating conversations
Builders Feedback you tell us what’s on your mind
Bike builders gallery – new additions: recumbents, trikes, choppers, cargo bikes & more

This and archived newsletters are here.


Thanks for your feedback, and keep those suggestions coming.

See you in the Builders Forum.

April 25 newsletter – AtomicZombie

Feature article by Brad Graham (Radical Brad):
Building a rebar greenhouse
Costa Rica recumbent lowracer
Edmonton trike
Chopper in Turkey
USA velomobile
Trike in Denmark
Michigan custom bikes
Australian chopper
Spring into bike building
Manufactured bike parts
This and archived AZ newsletters are here.

AZ newsletter April 10


Welcome to our new Atomic Zombie web site!
*** Feature article by Brad Graham (Radical Brad):
Salvaging Wheel Parts ***
Choppers in Greece, Estonia, Australia & Croatia
 USA SpinCycle
Australia radical trike
Bike builders chat
California recumbent & trailer
Spring into bike building
Atomic Zombie manufactured parts for your bike projects

More chopper crazy

New to the builders gallery this week:

From Estonia

 Margo Maripuu, Tallinn, Estonia

More >>

Bike builders rock!

Brisbane (Australia) Chopcycle build

“Hi All. Just thought I would put up some photos of the chopper cycle I am working on. Its nearly ready for paint but I was too focussed on building to post till now.

The idea was to build a chop cycle which looks as similar as possible to an old rigid frame Harley and using the atomic zombie plans as a base of course.

I’m not quite finished yet but only have the bobber seat (half finished) and the mudguard and maybe a sissy bar to go before paint. Anyway a picture is worth a thousand words they say so here goes.”

More >> Brisbane (Australia) Chopcycle build

How to build a phat ass chopper wheel – Part 1

AtomicZombie's OverKill chopper

Let’s face it, a chopper needs to have a wide rear wheel in order to stand out among the pack. In fact, the wider the better! I remember the days when a bicycle chopping involved hammering a cut off set of forks onto the ends of another set and then replacing the front wheel with a smaller diameter wheel.

Well, those days are history, and now a custom chop may involve a year of work and several hundred dollars of machined “bling” in the mix. Things changed about 10 years ago when department stores began mass producing these chopper bicycles with 4 inch wide tires, something that was not available before that time.

At first, I was thinking “cool, a new source of parts”, but then I started seeing these cookie-cutter factory jobs all over the place, and they all looked alike. In fact, the only difference between these so-called “customs” was the color and the eight digit serial number. Seeing this sacred ground infected by the big box stores made me take drastic action, and I set out to make a chopper that would mock these department store bikes both in look and in cost. I wanted to blast the chopper proportions way out there and do it for only a few bucks, so I designed OverKill.

To spew insult at these 4 inch wide rear wheel departments store chops, I would have to go way overboard on the rear wheel, so I started looking at ways to fit a motorcycle wheel to a bicycle hub. After a few prototypes I realized that I was only a slight bit larger, having tires of 5 or 6 inches in width. I scraped the motorcycle wheel idea and went to the auto wrecker to scrounge up something bigger, much bigger.

After a bit of digging, I found an old steel rim with a 15 inch wide drag slick, and that formed the basis for the OverKill Chopper. After that, many other creative chops started popping up based on the OverKill plan, each with some amazing custom twist. Am I laying claim to inventing the car wheel chopper? No sir, but I would like to think I had a hand in putting these department store chops back in their rightful place – well behind the real custom.

So, let’s have a look at how easy it is to whip up a phat rear wheel for a bicycle chopper. All you need is an old steel rim with a tire and some common bicycle parts. I didn’t have room in this release to show the creation of the wide hub, so we will just start with the process of lacing the wheel, which is much easier than you might think.

Figure 1 – Getting ready to lace a car rim

At this point, we have the custom wide hub which is made from an old steel BMX hub and a set of 72 matching spokes. Why 72 spokes? Because the original hubs had 36 spokes and I drilled a second set of holes on each flange to double the number of spoke holes. This allows the creation of what is really 2 laced rims on each side of the car rim to offer both strength and a thick look to the finished wheel.

Spoke length is not important here, just use common spokes made for a 20 inch rim when you are lacing a 15 inch car rim, and they will fit. If you know something about lacing a bicycle wheel, forget it now because the technique used to lace a car rim is completely different and much more simplified.

Figure 2 – Adding the first two spokes

Start by handing the hub by two spokes as shown in Figure 2. These are both “inside spokes”, meaning that you push them into the spoke holes on the hub towards the inside of the rim so that the round head is facing outwards. Spin the spoke nipple around two or three times to hold the spokes in place. Be careful when pushing the spokes around that you don’t scratch the paint on your rim. The spokes are sharp at the ends and will easily mark up your new paint job if you are not careful, especially when getting the last few to bend into position.

Figure 3 – Keep adding more spokes into every second hole

Keep adding more spokes to the rim, but only in every second hole so each spoke pair has a blank hole between them. These spokes will all be inside spokes, so they are pushed into the holes towards the inside of the rim. You will need to add 36 of these spokes to the rim.

Only turn the spoke nipple a few times, and try to turn them all about the same amount.

Figure 4 – Turn the hub to remove the slack

Once you have one side completely laced with spokes, you will notice how loose they all are. Did we use spokes that are too long? Nope, this is all part of the plan, and if you give the hub a spin, you will see that the slack is picked up as the spokes begin to exit the hub at an angle. This can be seen in Figure 4, as I have one side laced and have the hub twisted to take up the slack in the spokes. Continue adding spokes to the other side of the rim in the same manner.

More in the February 27, 2012 newsletter  >>