The latest rage is not a mountain bike with a new set of gears or a road bike made of lighter material, but rather low rider bikes – low seats, high handlebars, and lots and lots of chrome.
As the world around us continues to become more and more complicated, even our toys become more complicated – for example, our mountain bikes are more complicated than ever with dozens of gears and choices between hard tails and soft tails and having to decide between disc brakes or v-brakes.
In such an atmosphere, it’s not surprising that the “retro-look” is back. Well, actually the retro-look never goes out of style, it just lies dormant for a decade or so before coming back. There really is nothing new under the sun.
Today, low riders and chopper bicycles are resurging in popularity. They are certainly not for riding cross-country or downhill, but for riding on pavement or across soft beach sand, they are wonderful.
It’s more than just the high handlebars, generous seats, and fat tires that provide a comfortable ride, it’s the ability to express one’s individual tastes by decorating their bikes. These bikes have become fashion statements among the youths of the major urban areas of the country.
Chopper bikes first appeared in California in the early 1960s. They were built by kids, who wanted to copy the then-popular customized motorcycles called choppers. Why chopped? Because the bikes had been “chopped” – put together from several bikes.
The most distinctive feature of the chopper bike is its handlebars… also called ape hangers, which extend high above the head of the rider. The seat or saddle meanwhile is situated even lower than normal, and the pedals are pushed far forward.
The design of the chopper doesn’t stop there, of course. Enthusiasts pile on all the accessories they can think of, from chrome to gold to fake fur, from special paint jobs to sound systems.
If you’re mechanically inclined, you can put together your own chopper bike out of bits and pieces of others, but if you’d just like the look without all that fuss, there are chopper bike shops out there who can provide you with the bike, and all the accessories you need to customize it to your satisfaction.
Just like beach cruisers, you might think that these choppers with all their accouterments would weigh you down, but that’s not the case as everything is made from space-age materials for lightness. However, they typically only come with one gear, so riding up hills can be a bit of a chore.
But that’s not what these bikes are for. They’re for riding around the neighborhood, impressing friends, and indulging in one’s creativity.