Motorcycles and Choppers

The Motorcycles and Choppers Channel explores how these machines are built and customized. Learn all about motorcycles and choppers at HowStuffWorks.

The quick 1964 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster motorcycle was dubbed King of the Drags. Its impressive 883-cc V-twin engine out powered most competitors of the era. See pictures and learn about the 1964 Harley XLCH Sportster.

The 1965 Harley-Davidson FL Electra-Glide motorcycle combined a Panhead engine and electric starter. Though a curb weight of more than 700 pounds restricted performance, the Electra-Glide was a popular touring mount. See the profile of this classic bike.

The Dirty Love chopper is based on Harley-Davidson designs of the past yet it sports a high-performance engine. It's pure performance in a plain black wrapper. Learn about this classic design.

The 1926 Cleveland motorcycle was the company's answer to buyers yearning for four-strokes. The result was a four-cylinder model that was not the most impressive performer. Find out why the Cleveland fizzled in this profile and see pictures.

The 1940 Crocker motorcycle outperformed better-known bikes of its era. Manufactured in Los Angeles, California, from 1936 to 1940, only 61 Crocker V-twins were built. See pictures and find out what made the brawny 1940 Crocker so special.

The 1958 Cushman Eagle and Cushman Pacemaker motorcycles were great starter bikes for new motorcyclists. Cushman was also one of the few manufacturers of motorized vehicles permitted to continue civilian production during World War II. Learn about these scooters.

The 1936 DKW SB 500 A motorcycle was a stout bike that looked back to racing success and ahead to battle duty. Fed by a Bing carburetor, the two-stroke engine produced 15 horsepower. Learn more about the DKW SB 500 A.

The 1965 DKW Hummel 155 motorcycle featured styling unlike any bike of its day. When the 1965 DKW Hummel 155 motorcycle was introduced to the public the European motoring press dubbed it the "Tin Banana." See what made it so unique in this article.

The FLH is a custom motorcycle with chameleon paint and a Panhead engine. Owner Jerry Morgan first customized this 1958 Harley-Davidson FLH in 1969 and he's redone it five times since.

Originally built in the 1970s, this Triumph Bonneville chopper was left for dead before being located by the current owner. Once acquired the machine was treated to a complete restoration and renamed Outlaw.

Whether new or old, what often sets one chopper apart from another is the paint scheme, and the Cherry Chopper is no exception. Its deep Cherry Red basecoat was treated to swirling gold graphics that dressed the tank rear fender and frame.

The Mississippi Queen is a custom motorcycle with a unique suspension system. Although this bike used many Harley-Davidson components, it was never a complete Harley to begin with -- the builder wanted certain features the Milwaukee company never offered to the public.

The Captain America is a custom motorcycle best known for its role in Easy Rider. After the filming the wrecked bike was procured by actor Dan Haggerty who began rebuilding it but never finished. Find out what happened next.

The Shovel chopper has custom-bent exhaust pipes and milled valve covers. Beginning life as a 1974 Harley-Davidson FXE, the owner began modifying the bike to meet his own personal tastes and continued for 15 years.

The EL is a custom motorcycle with a Paughco frame and ape-hanger handlebars. As a prime example of the Old School chopper, Robert Berry's EL shuns the sculpted metal billet trim and big-inch engine of most customs.

The Model U is a custom motorcycle with 74-cubic-inch V-twin engine. A 1941 Harley-Davidson Model U formed the basis for this flathead chopper. For the most part the original hardware was retained.

Old Skool is a custom motorcycle with a Paughco frame and Shovelhead engine. Harkening back to the early days of chopper building Old Skool caters to the simpler design elements found on machines from the 1960s.

The Board Track Replica is a custom motorcycle with a foot-operated clutch. Constructed and painted to resemble early 20th-century motorcycles, this bike recalls the excitement of board track-racing.

The Tramp is a custom motorcycle with a Daytec frame and unique engine. Powering the Tramp is a V-twin made from aftermarket parts but built to resemble a classic Harley-Davidson Shovelhead engine.

The Hobo is a custom motorcycle with an original frame and eclectic parts, and it's aptly named since its assorted bits and pieces were collected from many sources over a two-year period.

The Oozn Evil is a custom motorcycle with a Shovelhead V-twin engine. This chopper started its life as a wreck but after 12 long months it was ready to hit the streets again.

The 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH Electra-Glide motorcycle featured increased horsepower. Weight of the FLs had crept up to nearly 800 pounds and the extra power was appreciated by owners. See pictures and learn about the 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH Electra-Glide.

The 1966 Harley-Davidson Sprint motorcycle was the teamwork of Harley-Davidson and Aermacchi of Italy. It was powered by a 250-cc horizontal four-stroke single and was popular with buyers. Learn more about the Harley Sprint.

No question about it the 1996 Boss Hoss motorcycle is the biggest baddest bike to ever roam the streets. It defines 'bigger is better' by packing a Chevy V-8 engine. See pictures and learn about the outrageous Boss Hoss.

The 1967 Bridgestone 350 GTO motorcycle was one of a few bikes created by the tire company in the 1960s. Bridgestone was synonymous with "performance" in motorcycle circles -- though that really wasn't the company's original aim. Learn about the Bridgestone 350 GTO.