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Sporty Chop: Updates and Where We Started

What have I gotten myself into? As I stare at the half-built chop in a garage that isn't mine (and that I really need to get the hell out of), I wonder where this all started and where it’s going to take me. I have no idea what I’m doing and spend more time on Google and Lowbrow Customs YouTube channel than actually holding a wrench. It’s moments like this that I need to remember the next time I think “I can do anything.”

Last March I posted a TikTok flirting with the idea of a build; I received so much support and love from that, the idea of starting a build stuck. You see, I grew up in chop culture, all thanks to my dad, Chicken. Chick built his first chopper in the 60’s and has rarely kept a stock bike since. So, when I got my motorcycle endorsement last June and my little 2006 Honda Rebel 250, I knew inevitably that I would be following in his footsteps and riding custom builds; stock just isn't in my soul; I only had the Rebel for a month before I sold it.

While at Fuel Cleveland last July, Jake and I popped into the Lowbrow Customs booth. I had heard about Lowbrow from the Lowlife Chopper Podcast, which I had been listening to for a few weeks at that point (great listen, btw, go tune in!). They had a few rolling chassis out, promoting their hardtail frames. The idea seemed simple enough, get a donor bike and transfer everything to another frame. I could do that. Really, like, how hard could it be? I really do believe that I can do anything I set my mind to; I have the willingness to learn and the humility to shut the fuck up and listen to those who have advice to offer.

Attending Fuel solidified my decision to build a chopper myself, I knew my little 250 Rebel wasn't going to cut it. I needed something with more power. Ultimately, I decided to pull the trigger on a 1992 Evo Sportster 883 as my donor bike. Evolutions are my favorite engine that Harley Davidson has produced; the sound of their idol is unmatched, in my opinion, and brings back the best memories for me. Gone are the nights that we would sit in the garage, drinking away the hours of a hot summer evening, listening to the trotting idol of Chick’s 1986 Evo Heritage Softail, Cincinnati Red. Chicken would remind us that the idol should sound like your mother's heartbeat, and so it did.  I spent the remainder of the 2023 riding season on my stock sporty and parked her in the garage one final time, where I would inevitably tear her apart, only to rebuild her onto a hardtail frame. Is it too dramatic to compare the sporty build to a phoenix? It dies only to be reborn from the fire? I attribute that analogy to my recent Harry Potter marathon. I'm cringing; ignore that last part about the phoenix.

Day by day, I learn something new. . . and find another part I need to order, sigh. Plus, with Chick away for 5 months of the year, It’s just me and Jacob left to figure this out. That's not to say we can't, Jacob is by far the smartest man I have ever met, but we both lack experience in motorcycle building. And even though I grew up around knuckles, shovels, flats, and pans, I rarely observed them being built or wrenched on. I’m not mechanically inclined either. Guys, I hate to break it to you, but I’m a Barbie girl turned chopper chick and I have little to no idea what I’m doing. But I prevail, nonetheless. Lowbrow Customs has a Youtube channel that is SOLID. I have watched so many of their tutorials. Lowbrow is doing to right when it comes to building chops; they make it simple for beginners and I am so grateful for that. Speaking of beginners, Lowlife pod released a series earlier this year on everything you need to know about starting a build. I highly recommend a listen if your throwing around the idea of chopping something.

So, here we are. The engine has been mounted in the freshly painted periwinkle Gasbox “Lorain” frame, 2” over chrome springer front end mounted on, bunny bars attached, 21” chrome spoked front wheel has been torqued, and the rear wheel mocked up. Next is the brake lines, cables, and piecing miscellaneous parts back onto the engine. I would love to add a kicker-kit on, but we’ll talk about that another day. It’s been a relatively short, yet seemingly lengthy (and expensive) road to get to this point. I can't wait to see where this chop takes me. . . literally. Rallies and bike weeks are on the calendar and I'm hauling ass to get this build completed by then. It is April after all, May starts riding season in Ohio.

Only a year ago, the thought of building a chopper seemed silly and near impossible. But, like I said earlier, I can do anything, and so I will.

All this to say, I am having the time of my life. Chops are hard; if you're not spitting mad at some point in the process, you've probably done something wrong. I am doing what I was put on this earth to do. The chop community is everything to me. We help each other out when we have the opportunity, educate each other, and we lift each other up. I've learned so much this past year, and I'm just getting started.

Maybe I'll do a price breakdown for you in future posts, or discuss the art plans I will be painting on the sporty chop! I'd love to hear from you too! Leave a comment below on what you would like to hear from me in future blogs. <3

Thanks for being here and reading this! Below is a link to the Lowlife Chopper Podcast and Lowbrow Customs. I have learned tons from both Lowbrow and the dudes at Lowlife pod, so go send them some love from Angel Claw.


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