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Tag Archives: Indian Larry

Indian Larry’s Daddy O

Indian Larry Daddy O left

The other day I did an article about Jesse Jame’s Sturgis Special which was one of the 2 bikes that got me into choppers. The other bike I that got me into Choppers is the late great Indian Larry’s Daddy O! Like many I first saw this Bike on Biker Build Off a few years ago and when I saw it,  I fell in love it at first sight.

I gotta say,  I think that Indian Larry’s Daddy O is the best chopper I have ever seen! It really is a bike built to perfection. The appearance of daddy resembles  a hot rod, which was done because, the bike was built as a tribute to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. All the small details on the bike are amazing, their is so much detail on Daddy O that I notice something different every time I look at it.

Copyright 2004 Michael Lichter

One of the reasons for this is Larry loved detail and liked to do most of the work himself and make his own parts. He made just about every part from the frame, to the fender, to the gas tank to even spoking his own wheels!  He actually said this while building this bike “Y’know I like a bike to look like a hunting watch, when you open up the back you look in there and its all mechanical and gizmos going on and movement going on, you see a lot of little parts in there. Its more of an art than a science building a spoked wheel. To me it says just elegance. ”

The Frame of Daddy O (and all of Larry’s choppers) had to be made perfectly. By Perfectly I mean, when it comes to the geometry of the frame it had to be exactly right so Larry could stand up and balance while cruising.

If Any bike has Elegance its Daddy O

Everything had to have detail from the writing on the transmission belt to the shifter

One of the best features of Daddy O is, the rear Fender. The Fender is actually made out of a Boat Carrier fender! Larry and his crew took a boat carrier fender, cut in half, at a small piece of sheet metal, cut more of it and rear shaped it into the rear fender!

More Detail, with the Rear Fender being made from a boat Carrier fender, a Maltese cross light and the question mark sissy bar (Photo by Spoolhubs)

The other main detail you will notice is the mustang gas tank made by Paco. This gas tank’s shape fits the 60s stripped down shape of the bike Indian Larry was going for.

Of course the other big Detail of Daddy O is its wild Paint job! Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a crazy artist who pretty much invented air brushing and also invented a lot of crazy characters like Rat Fink who was created because Big Daddy hated Mickey Mouse.

The Paint Job is done by Robert Pradke of Custom Auto Design. Robert wanted to make it look as 60s as possible so the base coat of the paint is Gold Metal Flake. Metal Flake paint was very popular among hot rods in the 60s, so it fits the theme. The Paint also includes the Gasoline Alley Logo and Indian Larry’s name done in gold and silver leaf on the rear fender and true to Ed Roth’s style his Character Rat Fink was airbrushed onto the gas tank.

The Gold and Silver Leaf on the Metal Flake Paint Job by Pradke (Photo by Spoolhubs)


Rat Fink! Notice were it says Mail Box on the right and Beatnik Bandit on the left those aren't just random phrases they are Hot Rods built by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!

Even though I have said it several times before, I will say it again Indian Larry’s Daddy O is the best Chopper ever made! I don’t think any chopper come close to the hard work, craftsmanship, attention to detail and art that was put into this bike. It really is a one of a kind motorcycle and I don’t think that we will ever see another like it.

Tech Sheet

Year Built: 2003

Builders: Indian Larry, Gasoline Alley Crew (now Indian Larry Motorcycles)

Engine: 88 ci Pandemonium Motor

Frame: Indian Larry Wishbone Rigid

Front End: Indian Larry Twisted Springer

Wheels: Hand Spoked Wheels

Paint: Gold Metal Flake by Robert Pradke of Custom Auto Design


The Twisted Front End (copyright Michael Lichter)




West Coast Choppers’ Sturgis Special

Sturgis Special Jesse James

Ever since I covered the American Chopper Build Off earlier this week, I have been getting emails from readers, asking me to do a featured Chopper on one of Jesse’s bikes. I don’t actually have permission from Jesse to do a feature so this Article may not always be up (I’m sure Jesse won’t mind, hey its free publicity) but by request I am going to do a feature on one of the first bikes that got me into Choppers. West Coast Choppers’ Sturgis Special!

I first saw this bike a few years ago on Discovery Channels “Motorcycle Mania II” as soon as I saw the Sturgis Special it became one of the Two Bikes that made me fall in love with Choppers (the other is Daddy O by Indian Larry). Just seeing the clean lines, the custom built frame, fenders and gas tank just made love the bike and choppers in General knowing that it was all 100% Custom to the builders liking. A Chopper was a rideable work of art that a builder could call his own and seeing a the Sturgis Special made me realize this.

Just seeing this bike got me into Choppers

What I really like about the Sturgis Special is the frame. The Frame is the body of the bike and its what holds everything on the bike together and the frame of the Sturgis Special just has what a classic chopper frame should look like. With its holes in the front tubes, its clean lines, its large and it just looks strong and aggressive like a chopper should!

Wheels and Tires being mounted on the frame and forks.

The gas tank being mounted

Of course who can forget the gas tank on the bike. The Gas tank is like the Heart and Center of a Chopper, its the first detail you notice on a Chopper, it helps make the lines and over all flow of the bike. The one this chop has great, its smooth, no visible weld marks or scratch marks, its clean and it stands out!

Tank is mounted and the Special is ready for paint!

Clean Paint Job, no scratches or weld marks the only thing missing is the Revolver Gas Cap

Sturgis Special was built during the filming of Motorcycle Mania II, the bike is one of West Coast Choppers El Diablo II choppers that Jesse wanted to build to be his own personal custom that he would debut at the Sturgis Bike show. He built the bike in a few weeks then rode 1400 Miles in 2 days with Indian Larry and other builders to get to Sturgis.

The Sturgis Special uses main components such as a West Coast Choppers El Diablo Frame, Patrick Racing Billet EVO Motor, Baker 6 speed transmission with Jockey Shifter, WCC custom Exhaust, WCC Custom Wheels, WCC custom Foot Controls, Brembo Brakes and Brembo Hand Controls. Front Fork Angle 38.0″ Front Tire Dimensions 80/90, Rear Tire Dimensions 240/50

The finished Sturgis Special at WCC

A look at the Patrick Racing Billet EVO

A closer look at the Patrick Racing EVO

I can’t say their really is anything that I do not like on the Sturgis Special the only is the Front Fender (Its a personal thing, I just hate front Fenders on Choppers) and the chrome on the frame. Its not the most chromed bike I have seen and its actually been ridding a lot so I can’t complain about the chrome.

Overall I got to say the Sturgis Special is one of my favorite Choppers, it’s an amazing bike and its everything you could ask for in a chopper.

Sturgis Special at a Bike Show

Sturgis Special at West Coast Choppers


A good look at the rear Fender of Sturgis special


An old wall Paper for West Coast Choppers and the Sturgis Special

An Old Wall Paper with "Eyecandy" circa 2002


Choppers by Region

Have you ever noticed that Choppers built in So Cal usually look different than Choppers built in NYC or why do Choppers Built in Florida look different then choppers in the Pacific Northwest? What is the reason for this? Is it personal style or is it function?

In the early days of the Chopper (way back in the 60s and 70s) many builders and riders were actually building their to make them easier to ride in their local terrain. Choppers were actually built more with function over style, as where today it seems to be the complete opposite. But what determined what was function?

Region use to determine the Choppers Style

Well, function was determined by where you lived, in the US (or the world). If you lived in the San Francisco were you had a lot of hills your bikes would be suited towards that terrain. Things like high gas tanks for better balance, the gas tanks are also made larger to get more gas out of them (some as much as 100 MPG), shorter rakes for more control on the hills (can’t be too long or it would be hard to make a u-turn on a hill), and the pegs just underneath the rider (like on a horse) rather then in front for more control as well.

A Frisco Style Chopper

If you happened to live in a City in the Northeast like say NYC for example, bikes would be more suited to the high volume of traffic and rough old roads of NYC. Things like cabs, lots of pedestrians on the street and potholes create the function for the NYC style. Usually NYC Style bikes are built with small rigid frames, short front ends, very minimal with everything not needed stripped off, peanut gas tanks. The reasons for the rigid frames are, so they will stay together at high speeds on the rough roads and through pot holes, NYC riders need a frame that is strong. The short front ends are so the bike can handle better in a tight space, the peanut gas tank is to keep the bike small and to strip the bike down is to make sure it fits through all of the traffic.

Grease Monkey by Indian Larry a true NYC Chopper

Another common style is the Southern California look, for this style think Denver Mullins. Whats common with this style is a long front rake, large frame and large gas tank sometimes diamond shaped. Even though this style is studied well for So Cals open, desert terrain the real reason it started in a Quote from Denver Mullins Daughter is “my dad started modifying motercycles in the late 60′s because he was a BIG man (6’3″ and was @#%$@( pounds) so he wanted to ride comfortably. That is when the low profile frames were designed and produced….to make the low profile frame look cool, he decided that the front end needed to be longer. The laid bake appearence of his choppers, minus the sissy bar, was so that he could ride long and easy with his size getting in the way. Also, regular tanks were to bulky so he created the diamond tank!!!” Kind of ironic that all of that also fit the terrain as well.

Denver Mullins So Cal Chopper

The Pacific Northwest region has its own style as well, nicknamed the grasshopper style due to its appearance. This style of bike is known for its highboy frames, small rear end, and de-raked with tall tubes given it a grasshopper like appearance, also usually the front fender is left on. The reason for these mods are due to the terrain and climate of the Pacific Northwest, it rains a lot up there so the choppers have to handle well in the rain (yes they ride in the rain) and to handle the mountain terrain of the Northwest.

A Grasshopper of the Pacific Northwest

There are many other styles of chopper out there as well, some by region others by look, even though these choppers were originated by there riders regions today you will see all types of choppers no matter what region. I see Frisco style choppers over here in Florida all the time, I’ve seen pictures of So Cal style choppers in NYC, I live in Florida but I like the look of the NYC style the best. So it really doesn’t matter where you live, if you like a style build that style. I just wanted to show how some of the styles of the chopper originated.

Top 10 Choppers


For the past few years now I have looked for the 10 Best Choppers and I am surprised no one has made a list like this before. I couldn’t find any lists of the best choppers at all I started to wonder why that was. I decided I was going to make my own then since no one else has and while I was deciding and looking for bikes to include I realized why no one has done this yet! Its so damn hard just to choose ten Choppers because there are so many different styles and types of bikes its like finding the hay in the needle stack!

As for the 10 I have chosen, I can just say these 10 are the 10 best choppers, this is the list of how I felt at the time and I probably will do more lists with 10 completely different choppers later on, since there are so many choppers.


10. Kevin Alsop and Big Bear Choppers- The Athena- The Athena was  built for Discovery Channels Biker Build Off, and it is one hell of a bike! Its an all American biker built by an Aussie! The bike has an mean and aggressive look to it, which it achieves from its fire orange paintjob, devil inspired frames and handle bars that look like devils horns this is one badass bike!

The Athena


9. Jesse James-West Coast Choppers- Gold Digger- I swear Jesse James and West Coast Choppers are the only people who do not have a gallery that list the names and specs of there bikes! I had to youtube History of the Chopper for the name of it! Anyway this bike is one of my favorites from WCC, Jesse built this bike in History of the Chopper. The Front end of the Bike is built by John Harman and the Frame is a Frame Jesse Found at a swap meet years ago.

"Gold Digger" One of Jesses best Bikes!


8. Billy Lane and Choppers Inc- Money Shot- Now this bike has something really unique about it, and that is that its rimless! Yes the rear wheel has no rim! Other great things about the bike are the unique handle bars that go downward, the mirror is the silhouette of a hot girl, there is pin striping on the forks and sink knobs for gauge covers. Impressive small detail is what made this bike!

Who needs rims anyway


7. Chica and Chica Custom Cycles- Ace- I gotta say I love this bike! The Bike has that classic 50s and 60s look to it. With its black paint job with red white and yellow strips, its low, with short custom forks, has a smooth fuel tank, and it also features a cool bend in the frame that Chica is known for. Making this a nice one of a kind chopper!


6. Ian Barry and Falcon Motorcycles- The Black- Part of Falcon Motorcycles Concept 10 series, the Bullet was built around a 1952 Vincent Black Shadow engine. What makes this bike great is all of the  small details of every part on the bike. Just about every part is custom made and almost all of them are painted! The Black overall has a bit of a retro future style to it, The Bike is an antique art piece that is rideable!

Its the small details that make the Black Great

5. Chopper by Denver Mullins Built by the founder of the Chopper himself back in the early 70s. Denver Mullins was the godfather of the chopper, he started building Choppers back in the 60s, opened his first shop in So-Cal in the late 60s and created the Long Fork, smooth paint, Diamond Gas tank look that is still popular among choppers today! Little Known fact, even though Denver built Harley Choppers his favorite Motor by far was Honda! He loved Honda do to their cheap cost, durability and power!

Here’s more on Denver

Denver on his Chopper at his Front Lawn Circa 1970


4. Hank Young and Young Choppers and Hot Rods- The Flying Pan- What I really love about the Flying Pan is that it looks like an aircraft! (that explains the name). I love aircraft and aviation so this I really like this bike.The colors and the paint make me think of a WWI or a 20s barnstorming aircraft. The way the Fender and the Tank are shaped also look aircraft inspired. What stands out about this bike is the fuel tank hangs from the frame and it is under it rather then being on top of the frame. The pegs like like they are made from an old machine gun which ads a cool effect to the bike, I actually have heard a rumor somewhere that Hank builds his parts out of old aircraft and car parts! (Which I think is cool)!

Bandits! Twelve O Clock High!

3. Indian Larry and Gasoline Alley- Grease Monkey- Built in the 90s by the late great Indian Larry. The bike looks just like a 60s Hot Rod or Gasser, with its candy red paint job, white flames, the text have that 60s style fonts, the short front forks, and small style gas tank all make this bike look like its right out of the 60s!  Grease Monkey is a true tribute to Hot Rodders and Bike Builders! It even features Indian Larry’s Iconic paint on the transmission belt! Grease Monkey is a True Master Piece!

Grease Moneky by Indian Larry

2. Cole Foster and Salinas Boys Customs- The Beautiful Loser- It’s a Beautiful Winner in my book. It is one of the best motorcycles ever built! Its paintjob gives it a 60s Hot Rod look, which the ribbed fender and fuel tank add to. The “burnt orange” paintjob is flawless, along with the white. Another I really love is the rear fender is not just chopped but its also rounded and smooth giving the whole bike a nice clean look. Overall the Bike is a true Hot Rod.

A Beautiful Winner in my book! I believe its still forsale

1. Indian Larry and Gasoline Alley-Daddy O-  If I had to chose one bike in the world that represented what a Chopper is, I have to say it would be Daddy-O by Indian Larry! Daddy is the example of the perfect chopper! Well done, smooth paint, perfect lines and a custom engine! Everything about this bike is amazing, from the custom gas tank that flows perfectly with the bike, to the rear fender that helps with the lines, to the custom built frame that has perfect balance  to the even an engine that is a Panhead and a Shovelhead in one! The Paintjob and the bike was built as a tribute to hot rodder Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Larry used Big Daddys character Rat Fink on the bike and metal flake paint like an Ed Roth Hot Rod.  Daddy-O really is the number 1 chopper!

“In God We Trust – Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord – No Fear.”


As I said before there are so many choppers that its overwhelming and more could probably go on this list. I spent probably about 2 weeks trying to come up with this list! There will be more Top 10 best chopper lists so look out for them!

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