1970 BSA Chopper
Our friend Rob "Bulldog" from Omaha, Nebraska, United States, sent us these pictures of his absolutely gorgeous 1970 BSA Chopper which is powered by a 650cc BSA Thunderbolt engine.
Rob: "I came across your web site and WOW! There are a few out there but yours does for me what so many don't. I mean, I want to see Bobbers/Choppers the "Old School Way". This is what I grew up with and is what a guy like me can build. No Fat Tires! or Store bought Chrome! A vintage T-shirt spouting your old school . . . . Please."
Rob: "This bike is a riot to ride and the looks you get speak for themselves. This gave me the bug to do my first ground up build so I went to a Triumph. Picked up a 65 Trophy, sold everything except the front loop and the mission began. I put a 1973 750 Bonnie in for the power plant with a 16" harley wheel, the front is a 30" girder I cut down so she will sit level."
"Looking forward to more pics on your site, hope you like mine.
PS: If you would like to see a more current pic of the Trumpet or different shots let me know."
The Original Chopper
Rob: "I have been in love with motorcycles and riding them since I was a kid. It was my dads 1970 BSA Thunderbolt that got me hooked on the old school bikes. So one day out of the blue I said to myself I want to build a Beezer like the old man had back in the 70's. So I found a 67 BSA Lighting out at Baxter Cycles in Marne, Iowa and began to get her running just so I could cut her up."
"One day on the net looking for parts I ran into this old school BSA chop out in Michigan for sale, the price the owner wanted was cheaper than what I had already in my 67 project and I hadn't even cut it up yet! So after talking to the owner for about a month I sold my 67 Beezer to a dude in Colorado for the price I bought the chop for. Story goes is that the guy I bought the bike from was the second owner, he got it from his uncle who said that Ron Finch did the chop on it back in 72-73? But he could not confirm it but if you look at the sissy bar it is surely a Finch bike? Either way it's still cool."
"A four day road trip to Michigan with my buddy Robby took us to a very cool old school chopper virtually untouched from the day. It was truly a step back in time, I couldn't hardly wait to load it in the back of my truck and get on the road before this guy changed his mind. The looks all the way back home to Omaha, Nebraska were crazy, I mean people looked up at her said "What's that?" or "I remember those, my dad had one". The grin on my face went along with the awesome feeling I had inside that I really had something here that was special."
Rob: "Anyway, here above is a pic of my 1970 BSA Thunderbolt chopper that was originally built by Ron Finch. I picked her up from the 2nd owner for a song & dance, drove her around for about a year and then got after it!"
"Broke her down completely, changed a few minor things, and restored her the way she was back a few decades ago."
The Rebuilt Chopper
Chopper Build Off
Rob: "After a year riding my BSA Chopper and taking her to the local bike nights it was time to make her mine! So last winter I turned the heater up in the garage and began tearing her down completely, boy you want to know your bike take her apart bolt by bolt."
Rob: "First things first, I took the motor to Baxter Cycles in Marne, Iowa, were Nathan Wahlert did a stock rebuild and installed a mild cam along with having it balanced. While Nathan was working his magic on the engine I enlisted the help of Mike at Spockets, Inc. and Jimmy from Judd Performance to do some minor modifications on the frame and just clean it up a bit. I then took the frame and painstakingly worked all the little areas before I had it powder coated."
"Changed the battery box moved the ignition and light switch and removed the center stand, I also rebuilt the Hurst Airheart brake, twice. I had "Mumbles" from Custom Air lay the emerald paint down and also had him add flake and pin stripping to it to keep the theme in the same era. Industrial Plating did all the chrome work and my brother Kirk and my son Brandon helped me replace the neck bearings and put the roller together. I had double Carpal tunnel surgery at this time so my hands were not much use."
Rob: "Nathan was finished with the engine so I took the roller over to him to install it in the frame (I would have scratched the s-#@t out of it) with a Boyer electronic ignition and a new Amal 930 concentric carb from Baxters, she was ready."
"Tickled her a few times (for those who don't know British bikes the tickler is a plunger on the Amal carb that floods the bowl with fuel) One Kick Two Kicks BOOM! She started right up and has on the first or second kick since then."
"This bike is a blast to ride, my wife Christy even enjoys it and there's nothing better than pulling up next to another bike and getting the looks of amusement and envy.
I feel I did my father well by doing this project because of the old Beezer he had. I'm already ready to start working on another project, maybe a Triumph Bobber?
Rob (a.k.a. "Bulldog") "
Chopper or Short Chop?
Not all Choppers have been created equal...
In our perception, it's not the length of a front fork that tells us whether a bike is a Chopper or not. To us it is the rake that counts.
To us, as soon as a stock motorcycle or a Bobber has her rake increased significantly, she has thereby become a Chopper. Whether she has a long front fork or not.
For more information on Choppers and Short Chops, check out the Bobber Republic Info Pages!
Hurst Airheart brake in Chopper wheel
The original seat was that banana style and I really wanted something original and cool so I had Preevo Leather Works build me a new pan and pee pad wrapped in hand tooled leather, now that's cool but not half as cool as the RatFink logo I had him tool into the seat to match my tattoo! Very Cool!
1970 BSA Thunderbolt Engine
Rob had the 650cc BSA Thunderbolt engine rebuilt by Nathan Wahlert at Baxter Cycles in Marne, Iowa. Nathan installed a mild cam and balanced the motor.
1970 BSA Thunderbolt engine with Amal carb
A Chopper's Tail
A Chopper's Tale . . . Maximum Rubber . . .