Harley-Davidson is known for its touring and cruising bikes, but did they ever make a chopper model? The answer is yes. There are a few custom factory bikes and even more fabrications. We had to look hard to find them as they’re elusive. It hasn’t been HD’s thing, but they exist, mostly as custom modifications by some of the most brilliant engineers in the motorcycle fabrication industry. If you’re a Harley enthusiast and you think that chopper models are cool, here are the ten best Harley Davidson chopper models of all time for your enjoyment and consideration.
10. Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C
Popular Mechanic highlights their pick for the best factory chopper as the Softail Rocker C. This bike is made for highway cruising with the creature comforts one would expect from HD. It comes with the complete package with a 96 cubic inch Twin engine mated with a six-speed transmission and a tall sixth gear. The transmission gear display is lighted which we thought was a nice luxury feature. The torque is what got our attention. The bike accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.73 seconds. In testing, it jumped from 40 to 70 mph in 4 seconds flat. It’s got plenty of power across the range with a fuel economy of 43 mpg at a cost just below $20,000
9. Thunderbike 35th Anniversary Edition Harley-Davidson Chopper
This may be one of the most interesting of all vintage conversions. You can find it on Thunderbike Customs website. The team gives us a look into their processes for fabricating the old vintage Thunderbike and converting it into a gem of a chopper under the HD banner. Thunderbike Customs excels at fabricating choppers out of vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles. One of their best efforts is the 35th Anniversary Thunderbike Chopper. They go heavy on the CNC and build their own heavy-duty Springer front forks, crafting each component to achieve the ultimate chopper design while maintaining the integrity of the original design.
8. 1960 Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper
The orange 1960 HD Sportster Chopper is from the Legends Motorcycle Collection and is being offered without a reserve. It’s an XLCH chopper with a magneto ignition, raked and molded frame, and extended Springer forks. It’s classic to the bone featuring a coffin tank, King and Queen seat with a twist sissy bar, twist Z-bars, and a 5-spoke rear wheel. This bike would make a nice addition to any collection of vintage Harleys.
7. 2019 Custom Long Fork Harley-Davidson Chopper (1981 Shovelhead)
Auto Evolution features another interesting custom HD chopper. This bike is custom-built by Hawke Lawshe of Vintage Technologies in Montana. He used the base of a 1981 Shovelhead engine with a custom-made frame with long forks, an inverted fishtail exhaust, and 17-inch wheels on front and back. It’s one of the most extreme and long-forked chopper mods we’ve seen, worthy of inclusion in our top ten list.
6. Harley-Davidson Panhead Chopper
Peter Pohl is a German fabricator who created this Panhead Chopper mod that he calls Agent Orange. It’s one of the most outstanding visuals of all the custom choppers we considered for inclusion here. It took him years to finance the supplies and mill the parts, but he finished the job on this vintage bike that features an infantryman painted on the tank. He equipped it with a Pandemonium engine along with an S&S carburetor. It’s a dream bike that took years to fulfill and although it’s not for sale, it’s nice to look at.
5. 1973 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Chopper
This vintage bike is a part of a private collection that features a modified 1973 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead as its base, with an engine from 1941, so it’s hard to put a model year on this bike. They fabricated the bike in the USA. The custom build used a 1207 cc OHV 45 degree V-twin engine that cranks 53 horsepower. This bike was featured at the Australian Cinematheque at the Gallery of Modern Art in the “Motorcycles on Screen” feature that ran through April of 2021.
4. 70’s Old School Harley Davidson Chopper
We found this custom Harley chopper for sale from a builder in Spain. It’s based on a Harley Shovelhead engine with an open primary drive, featuring a Sportster tank, dual set, and an ape-hanger. with a left drive gearbox, right-hand suicide shifter, and 16-inch overstock girder front-end. They’re offering it for sale on Renderhub.
3. Hubless Harley-Davidson Chopper
They created this custom HD chopper from a 1969 FL Harley Davidson. after 4,000 hours of fabrication and design tweaking, Howard Sofield used the technology of Franco Sbarro to create centerless wheels and design one of the most futuristic Harley choppers we’ve ever seen. The bike tops out at 100 mph on the freeway with a curb weight of 700 pounds.
2. Woody Harley-Davidson Chopper
We didn’t fall in love with this full-custom HD chopper, but it gets high marks for its uniqueness. The design team made it out of wood wherever possible, giving it the look of a wooden bike. There isn’t another one like it in the world and arguably, is a masterpiece of creativity and skill. The engineering team threw in chrome plating and polish for all the components not made of wood to make it a beautiful bike. It was listed for $15,000 on a California internet site. The bike is famous, appearing on “The Speed Channel, reminiscent of the old Woodie Cars.
1. Captain America Easy Rider HD Chopper
This modified bike is the most iconic Harley-Davidson chopper of all time is the bike that Peter Fonda rode in the phenomenal hit film “Easy Rider.” It inspired a fresh wave of enthusiasm for customizing HD bikes into choppers. The phenomenon picked up after the movie showed in theaters. The highly desired 1969 collectible bike that appeared in the film sold for a whopping $1.35 million.