Looking For Classic Motorcycle Cut-Downs, Bobbers & Choppers

A late 1920s Harley JDH Cut-Down custom motorcycle

A late 1920s Harley JDH Cut-Down custom motorcycle

The long history of choppers and custom motorcycle is a uniquely American story, akin to Rock ‘n Roll in its cultural impact and global influence. The National Motorcycle Museum is assembling the first-ever exhibit comprehensively documenting the evolution of the American Custom Motorcycle; the Cut-Downs, Bob-Jobs, show bikes and choppers, from the late 1920s to the mid-’70s.

Opening in May 2015, the exhibit will include only period-built bikes, plus related artwork, memorabilia, film posters and photos, plus contemporary artwork commissioned for the show.

The National Motorcycle Museum is looking for original or restored 1920s-1970s custom motorcycles and related memorabilia; do you know where machines built ‘in the day’ can be found?

Americans started ‘chopping’ bikes long before ‘Easy Rider.’ It all began in the late 1920s with the ‘Cut-Down’, based on the Harley JD, with shortened and lowered frames.  Cut-Downs were hot, high-performance bikes and very rare today. Next came the ‘Bob-Job’, stripped-down Harleys and Indians and even British imports from the 1930s, built to look like the new Class C dirt-track racers.

From the late 1940s, a few riders began decorating their Bob-Jobs, using chrome and wild paint, adding ape hangers, upswept exhausts, and small sissy bars, which by the 1950s became the established ‘show bike’ standards at combined car/motorcycle Hot Rod shows.  Drag racing motorcycles also influenced street customs using drag bars and raked forks.

By the late ’50s what we’d recognize as Choppers emerged, and in the early to mid-’60s raked steering heads, extended springer forks, wild pipes, sissy bars, sculpted tanks, and moulded frames were ridden by the hippest motorcyclists in America.

As a great coincidence, the first comprehensive history of American customs has just been released – ‘The Chopper: the Real Story.’ Museum staff are working with author/curator Paul d’Orleans to create the new exhibit based on his research for the book. Paul is a well-known writer (‘The Ride’, ‘Café Racers’, Motorcycle Rides & Culture, plus TheVintagent.com) and curator (most recently at the Sturgis ‘Motorcycle as Art’ exhibits with Michael Lichter), and contributes monthly to magazines in six languages.

Do you own an original or restored 1920s-1970s custom motorcycle or related memorabilia?  We’d like your help to tell this important story, or if you are a fine artist who would like to loan motorcycle artwork, please send an email to Mark Mederski:  mmederski@nationalmcmuseum.org, or Paul d’Orleans: thevintagent@gmail.com. Tell them the crew at American Iron Magazine sent you.

Mustang’s Seat Custom Program: Win Free 1 Year Subscription

Custom-Seat-LandingMustang is now offering custom seats that you can make yourself on their web site from their selection of different stitch patterns, inlay panels, and thread colors. To create your seat, first pick a stitch pattern: Plain, Tuck And Roll, or Diamond. Then chose from their variety of color options. During the custom process, you can also view your seat in better quality by using the provided magnifying glass tool. And just in case your computer’s not color calibrated properly, Mustang can send you a color swatch to confirm the shade and style, as per request. The custom seat option will be introduced on three of their most popular models: Tripper Solo, Tripper Fastback, and DayTripper.

Anyone who orders one of these seats from Mustang will also get a free 1 year subscription from either American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, or RoadBike. On top of that, one lucky winner will have their bike (installed with its new Mustang seat) featured in one of these three magazines. Mustang will be posting a custom seat gallery that can serve as inspiration for your own ideas. To make your custom seat now, click here.

Mustang’s Seat Custom Program: Win Free 1 Year Subscription

Custom-Seat-LandingMustang is now offering custom seats that you can make yourself on their web site from their selection of different stitch patterns, inlay panels, and thread colors. To create your seat, first pick a stitch pattern: Plain, Tuck And Roll, or Diamond. Then chose from their variety of color options. During the custom process, you can also view your seat in better quality by using the provided magnifying glass tool. And just in case your computer’s not color calibrated properly, Mustang can send you a color swatch to confirm the shade and style, as per request. The custom seat option will be introduced on three of their most popular models: Tripper Solo, Tripper Fastback, and DayTripper.

Anyone who orders one of these seats from Mustang will also get a free 1 year subscription from either American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, or RoadBike. On top of that, one lucky winner will have their bike (installed with its new Mustang seat) featured in one of these three magazines. Mustang will be posting a custom seat gallery that can serve as inspiration for your own ideas. To make your custom seat now, click here.