The Green Chopper from Melbourne

I’VE HAD a lot of bikes. My first Harley was a Sportster and I customised that; it was really nice. The guy I sold it to actually crashed it about two hours later and wrote it off.

Then I bought a Springer Softail and I had that for a while until I saw a mate’s chopper and I thought, ‘Gee, that looks great!’ So I sold the Springer and started building my own bike.

I went to see Dave Saddlier at Doc Hogs in Melbourne and we started building a chopper from scratch. To get the right frame was pretty hard as I wanted a show bike that I could ride everyday. We settled for a frame from Scotty’s Choppers; Scotty also supplied the guards, fuel and oil tanks.

The handlebars were really hard to choose. I went through a few but then we actually decided to just to build our own. We did a few trials and this is what we came up with.

The choice of wheels was another thing. I wanted everything to be smooth, nothing to stick out, so everyone who looked at the bike had to look at the ‘whole’ bike, not just one thing. The wheels were chosen with that in mind.

To find the right colour green was very difficult. It took me a lot of colour charts and a lot of magazines and ideas, and this is the end result. Trying to get the right colour for the flame was another problem. It ended up being purple, orange and green with a yellow pinstripe.

The 110 ci RevTech motor is excellent! Yes, you have to hang on—it flies.

There are a lot of things we handmade on the bike—the exhaust pipes for instance—and we cut the angle of the rear guard so it points downwards to suit the handlebars.

The speedo was the another thing. I didn’t want the handlebars to be clogged up with accessories so we made it really simple and put the electronic, digital speedo down beside the ignition box.

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have much trouble getting the number plate. This friend of mine went to the rego department and it came straight up, not a problem.

I like to ride to St Kilda with my mates, put the bikes on the footpath and have a coffee. St Kilda is a beach scene with a lot of tourists. A lot of guys take their bikes there because it’s easy to park plus it’s a café scene and there’s a good pub. The Green Chopper draws a lot of attention; all the locals come up and have a good look at it.

I love riding and I love choppers, and the idea was to build a chopper that I could jump on and ride without any problems. The Green Chopper was built at Doc Hogs but I had already built it in my mind many times before we started. It’s a work of art, although with normal art not many people get to see it, but with the Green Chopper, it can be ridden and everybody sees it. And it breaks down the barriers; you know, people come up, you don’t even know them, and they want to chat about the chopper; and old ladies talk to you and love to have their photo taken beside it because it’s not something they see every day.

I haven’t got a pillion seat because then the flames on the tank and rear guard wouldn’t be balanced. You see, I’m suffering for my art.

pics by Wall to Wall; words by Anthony Pane

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