Big Bear Choppers Athena Chopper ride review Thunder Press

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Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI

Big Bear Choppers Athena ride review


September 13, 2007

Flight of

No shake, no rattle… just

One look at the fantasy-art profile of the Chopper from Big Bear and you might reasonably speculate it’s the work of some alien being who set down on a high above some place like, say, Los And the funny thing is, you’d be least technically. Big Bear mastermind Kevin Alsop is, all, from Australia, and plenty weird and we say that in a way, having yet to meet an of any consequence who isn’t.

And his company is sited high up in SoCal’s San Mountains in the idyllic burg of Big Lake, where Alsop and his Mona have grown business from a garage into an industry-leading kit-bike and then into a cutting-edge custom bike manufacturer.

That’s the backstory on Big Bear as a company, and there’s also a that goes with the Chopper model, so named in of Athena Aspiotes. She was the daughter of BBC Mike the Greek Aspiotes, and was in a car crash in December of 2005 at the age of 16. The design of this bike was created in March of last to compete in the Discovery Channel’s Build-off” series, where it a winner.

From there the was morphed into a pair of models—both the Chopper shown and a pro-street model. While details had to be revised for public jockey shift had to go, for example—the creation with its outrageous and cyber-mantis chassis architecture intact.

If ever there was a that looked like a fashion exercise without of real-world riding capabilities or ride quality, this is bike, which is why it’s all the impressive when you saddle up (or actually, considering the 19-inch height), fire up, hit the highway and through the gears, and discover to dismay that there’s clearly missing, here. And something is vibration. There’s not a bit of it at any engine speed.

Alsop tells us that control is the top engineering priority at and virtually every nuance of engineering and motor building that priority to heart. gets downright evangelical on the and earnestly ticks off all the many taken to keep the buzz to a That mission starts the motor, which is a 100-inch unit—dubbed the “SMOOTH”—with a 4″ bore and

Referred to as a “square” motor of those matching specs, the of that arrangement is that the vibrational qualities of a long-… are avoided. That’s just the however, as BBC then keeps the ratio down to a relatively 8.5:1—the same as a stock Evo

The cam profiles and timing are likewise to reduce valve-closing speeds, reducing top-end violence and while emphasizing torque (and producing something on the of 110 ft/lbs, we’re told). The in all of this is optimal performance and vibration in the 2,500–3,000 rpm range most of the motor’s work done.

Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI

Vibration control extend also to frame where BBC employs stout tubing with a 0.25″ thickness in the bike’s backbone, and tubes in the other frame All fabrication of BBC frames—as well of the ends and sheet metal—is in house utilizing state-of-the-art CNC and TIG welders.

And then there’s the BBC primary case, in which inner and outer cases are of forged aluminum with a strength reportedly twice of conventional cases, and an unsurpassed capacity. That’s what told, anyway, but we can’t vouch for that for two reasons. The is that the model we tested had outfitted with an optional primary.

The second is that we experienced so vibration on this bike any less vibration attributable to the cases would not have discernible as a practical matter.

The emphasis on well-mannered functionality BBC brings to the bike’s powertrain find its way over to the frame and ergonomics side of the Athena, As is always the case with custom architecture, there’s a deal to be struck between looks totally bitchin’ and works best.

And while apparent that BBC has put a lot of thought the Athena’s ridability, there’s so much you can do with 6″ of stretch in the another 6 in the downtubes, 10″ of reach in the forks, and a seat height to that of a Big Wheel. You can, for put 6 degrees of the front end’s rake in the triple trees to flopping tendencies, and you can give the section—the so-called Devil’s on this bike—some massive

What you can’t do is eliminate the that results from the essential profile, which is the that you’re sitting way the away from the front Extremely long handlebar keep basic operating comfortable, but subtle operator on the bars tend to get somewhat in translation on the way to the front axle, and handling in traffic can bring moments.

Also unnerving you get accustomed to it is that drive stretching from the Baker RSD to the rear sprocket/ rotor. a gap in the chain guards positioned about exactly where the on your wallet wants to So get a shorter wallet chain, or, yet, put your wallet in left pocket.

Other than those the Athena is remarkably rider-friendly, Harley-style hand controls, sized mirrors that buzz, and a small but legible digital instrument module. The tracks confidently on the open and swoops predictably through the and with the aforementioned utter of vibration, the miles pile on The list price on the Athena is $32,900 assembled by BBC, or as a kit bike.

Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI

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