Big Bear Choppers

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Big Bear Choppers

Big Bear Choppers

So how did this bike come about? “Me and another person are the two think tanks here and we looked at what we had done already and then we started looking at what we haven’t done,” said Kevin. “I’ve always liked to do something that’s completely different ‘cause I want to lead the pack, not follow. This was a part of the market that was one of the last frontiers left.”


Ground rules were laid that took into account handling qualities as well as good looks. BBC frames are usually made from thick wall, large-diameter tubing, but in this build, thin wall cromoly tubing was substituted. “The whole frame was a departure for us, the only common thing with any bike we’ve built is the actual neck itself where the bearings sit,” said Kevin. “The way we constructed the frame allowed us to do it without any structural issues.” That aforementioned neck sits at a modest 30-degrees (with an additional 4-degrees in the trees) with twin backbones, instead of a single large tube, wrapping around the airbox on their way aft to meet the widely spaced downtubes on their trip under the engine to the suspension point for the Ohlins monoshock. Working BBC–engineered linkage, Sweden’s finest suspension is levered by a billet aluminum swingarm, extended 6” in an ode to custom Hayabusas, that’s carved out from behind in the name of lightness.

With a frame this sporty, it was only natural to turn to Ohlins for a fork and not just any, but one which featured the latest radial-mounted brakes. A Scotts Steering Stabilizer mounted on the top triple-tree stands at the ready to quell any road induced quakin’ and shakin’. Dual Brembo 4-piston calipers tuck right in behind the fork legs while out back, a single 4-piston stands ready to join in as necessary.

Brembo provides stopping power for the world’s finest road racers, so they should work just peachy here grabbing the twin floating discs. “If we’re going to build something like this, it’s going to have the absolute latest, greatest best stuff. We wanted the best suspension and brakes,” said Kevin.

The part that shocked me the most about this bike was the realization of how big it was when I read the spec sheet and noticed the front BBC-made wheel was a 23-incher and the back an equally large 20-incher. The bike’s proportions are such that nothing looks out of the ordinary at first glance, but then its size hits you. “It’s a massive bike. It’s very deceiving in photographs.

How it sits and feels in person next to other vehicles is even more impressive,” said Kevin. “A big biker-type dude can actually fit on this bike and feel comfortable. When you see a 6’ person on a sportbike, it looks like a monkey on a football.” The deception continues with the fairly huge rear 280 Avon looking “normal-sized” in proportion to the rest of the bike.

The super-clean BBC bodywork has a few tricks up its sleeve with twin fuel tanks, one on top of the frame (with a 5-quart oil tank also encased in there) and another under the seat. In the front of the top tank are scoops for the downdraft airbox and also an oil cooler is mounted there to take advantage of the airflow. I really liked the way the downtubes are delicately shrouded in bodywork.

It ties the whole unit together with style and gives the feel of a sportbike fairing without being heavy handed. The seat unit encompasses both the sportbike and streetfighter-style in one piece that kicks up the feeling of motion while stopped. A white-paneled, red base-paint scheme with gold leaf striping strikes your eye and draws you in, but compliments rather than overpowers the bodywork.

Prototype Concepts added a taste of trendy but delectable carbon to the mix with its front and rear fenders that disappear in their raw state.

Powering all this techno wizardry is an SS 114” X-Wedge with some BBC Smooth technology thrown in. Kevin has always been a proponent of a square bore and stroke ratio along with milder compression and the right cam timing and combined with a lower RPM balance point leading to a smoother running, usefully torquey engine. “One of the main things that makes an engine run smooth is a consistent flow of air,” said Kevin.

Making his own downdraft EFI system so that he didn’t have a huge intake hanging off the side and fabbing up an under-engine exhaust could have screwed this all up. “We didn’t know how the ECU was going to react, but it worked absolutely perfectly. The bike didn’t stumble once right from the day we fired it up. It was like winning the lottery,” said Kevin laughing. Right now it makes 80hp and 100ft-lbs of torque.

These numbers will be up significantly to 150hp and 150ft-lbs of torque (“that’s a wheelie from hell,” said Kevin) when the bike enters production with a supercharger mounted on it. Yes I did say production, as Kevin doesn’t build one-offs and for that we should all be thankful.

Builder: Kevin Alsop

Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114

Big Bear Choppers

Big Bear Choppers has been hanging tough through the slowdown in the custom industry with a game plan that would make Vince Lombardi feel comfortable. Vince has often been credited with the phrase, “The best defense is a good offense,” and that seems to sum up BBC’s reaction to hard times.

There’s been a steady succession of totally different and extremely appealing new models that are sure to make anyone who is looking at purchasing a custom bike (and there are still a lot of you out there) to put a BBC model on their short list. It should come as no surprise that BBC’s wild SS entry was conceived as a production model. Kevin Alsop seems to understand that passion comes first with motorcyclists and he constantly dangles something in front of them that keeps this passion alive instead of rehashing the same old designs over and over.

“When we came out with the G.T.X. we made a left turn. When we came out with the Paradox we went a little bit back the other way, but when we came out with this thing, we just made a right turn. People don’t know what the hell we’re going to come out with next,” said Kevin. “Right now we’re thinking about a trike.

Our trike would look really fricking cool. We’re just getting everything lined up and ready for our industry when things turn around here in the next six to eight months. We’re going to be sitting here with the right stuff, we’re working hard on dealer infrastructure and process capabilities here in manufacturing.”

Things aren’t bad at the moment either, as Kevin said,” We’ve got a hundred bikes on order and we’re just rippin’ through ‘em. We’ve got bikes going to Taiwan, Russia, and Germany. We can’t bitch.”

Visit www.bigbearchoppers.com  or call 909-878-4340 for info.

This bike feature originally appeared in Barnett’s Magazine issue #65, November 2008.

Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114
Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Fairing 114

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