Custom Motorcycle Fans
At the turn of the new millennium a new obsession invaded everyday American culture. This fad was custom bike building. Shows such as American Chopper and Monster garage became huge hits and Jesse James (the custom bike builder, not the outlaw) and Paul Teutul Senior became household names. Everyone was now a custom motorcycle fan and dreamed of riding around on a modified Harley Davidson that was customized by some top name designer. I, like the rest of the country was swept up in Chopper mania.
Custom motorcycle fans have been around a lot longer than just a few years ago however, and will no doubt still be around when the fad finally disappears from the collective public consciousness altogether.
The idea of building custom bikes began after world war two when the veterans came back and found the huge, clunky motorcycles put out by the Harley Davidson and Indian companies unsatisfying. They began to "chop" off the fenders and remove anything deemed unnecessary in order to make the bike faster and more streamlined. Soon thereafter these customized choppers started to become popular.
The movie, Easy Rider, thrust the idea of the customized chopper onto the public consciousness and the custom motorcycle fan base began to grow. Pretty soon, designers began to take over the domain of the backyard mechanic turning the art of motorcycle customization into a big business. Custom motorcycle fans no longer needed to chop up and individualize their own bikes. They could instead, go to a top name designer and get a unique bike built to their specifications.
Then, cable television caught on to this growing trend and launched a series of extremely popular television shows that featured people building these customized bikes. These shows initiated a bandwagon effect and soon everyone in Hollywood became a custom bike enthusiast over night. Talk shows were booked and motorcycles rallies started to turn into large family oriented events.
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