Bikes and Beards shows us how it works in the real world.
We all know (but don't necessarily love) American Chopper, a soap opera filled with drama, family strife, and anger management issues. Occasionally they even build a motorcycle or two. Love it or hate it, the show has had a massive influence, both inside and outside the motorcycle community. It even got its grip on Shawn of Bikes and Beards, who has long since dreamed of owning a genuine Orange County Chopper. Well, now he has one.
This bike was featured in season three of American Chopper. It was part of their "FANtasy Bike" series, where they built some bikes specifically for fans of the show. This particular bike, named Corporal Punishment, was built for Jeff Clegg, an Army veteran. He, like many, had been dreaming of owning a custom chopper, and already knew exactly what he wanted. All OCC had to do was build it. Fast forward a few years, and Shawn found it up for sale for $14,000, a fraction of its original $80,000 value. He made a lowball offer of $8,000, which was promptly ignored—until it wasn't. Now he owns it.
So how does it ride? Terrible. Shawn has ridden countless motorcycles, including some truly terrible ones that he built himself, yet he says this is the worst of them all. This chopper, by design, has a rigid rear end. That means not only no suspension but not even a sprung seat. This bike's rear suspension is your spine. (Perhaps this is why Jeff Clegg sold it.) The seat is slippery and slopes backward, which is perfect for falling off the back. The front brake is useless. The back brake is too powerful, all too easy to lock up. The open primary acts like an upside-down belt sander for your pants, legs, or anything else nearby.
What this chopper does have going for it is its heart and soul, a massive American V-twin engine. How massive is it? Shawn took it to the dyno to find out. Guesses ranged anywhere from 70 to 110 horsepower. What was the end result? Sixty-five. This is a bone stock 80 cubic inch Harley-Davidson Evo engine. I suppose that's good for reliability, which is totally something you look for in a custom bike, right?
They say you should never meet your heroes. While I've had good experiences meeting some of mine, this saying is definitely true for Orange County Choppers. At the end of the video, though, Shawn hints that he might be considering the ultimate act of desecration and modifying this chopper, making it ridable and perhaps even comfortable. The horror.