A History of Custom Motorcycles
The desire to customize your ride is part of motorcycle culture.
Motorcycles have always represented freedom and individuality. Cruising down an open road in perfect harmony with your ride is an experience that all bikers cherish. Customizing one’s bike allows us to add performance or personal style to our rides in a way that helps us express what our bikes mean to us, and has been part of the game since the very beginning. Let’s take a look at the history of custom motorcycles.
In the beginning, motorbikes were all custom built by or for one person. So, it makes sense that we aspire to bring our own bikes back in line with the unique origins of bikes in general. Among the earliest custom bikes, we know about is the Dreadnought, built by Harold “Oily” Karslake in 1902. He bought an engine and used scratch-built components and pieces of other machinery to construct the frame.
Back in the day, bikes were usually modified to enhance performance. The Dreadnought itself was built for endurance races, and performed well into the 1920s. Bikes were built with lower and lower seating positions to allow riders better control and handling.
Bobbin’ and Choppin’
Soldiers returning to America after World War 2 were in search of cheap transport and excitement, which inevitably led them towards motorcycles. These Americans were familiar with the European bikes they had been riding overseas, and sought to modify the American models to replicate what they were used to. Early modifications were usually attempts at making their American bikes feel more European.
Aesthetics were just as important as performance, so through the 50s biker culture became used to more and more flashy paint jobs, including pinstripes and bright colours. Riders were especially keen on lengthening the forks. To accommodate the long forks, the frame had to be completely chopped and reassembled, thus, the “chopper”.
Rock and Roll
Biker culture was timed perfectly for the rise of Rock and Roll. Young people were learning the value of individuality and indulging their rebellious nature. It was the same energy that popularized Rock and Roll that made unique bikes so desirable. The style became known as Kustom Kulture, and has left an influence that we still feel to this day.
At Dynamic Hydrographics we are doing our part for custom bike culture. We help bikers customize their bike for a fraction of what an air brush artist would cost. We can dip an infinite number of pattern and colour combinations on Gas Tanks, fairings, fenders, and any other part of a bike that can be safely removed and dipped. If you are looking to put your own unique stamp on your bike, then look no further. Stop by or give us a call today.