Sunday, July 14, 2013

Easy Rider and The Motorcycles

Easy Rider


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Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers (played by Fonda and Hopper) who travel through the American Southwest and South with the aim of asserting their freedom.

The motorcycles for the film were designed and built by two chopper builders - Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy.

In total, four former police bikes were used in the film. The 1949, 1950 and 1952 Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide bikes were purchased at an auction for $500, equivalent to about $3300 in current money. Each bike had a backup to make sure that shooting could continue in case one of the old machines failed or got wrecked accidentally. One "Captain America" was demolished in the final scene, while the other three were stolen and probably taken apart before their significance as movie props became known. The demolished bike was rebuilt by Dan Haggerty and now resides at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. Many replicas have been built since the film’s release.
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Here is a postcard of the motorcycle

The Art of the Motorcycle
Harley-Davidson Easy Rider Chopper
1200 cc
1969 (1993 replica)
United States
Power output: 61 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Top speed: 100 mph
Anonymous Lender

2005 Wonders Photograph: Randy Leffingwell


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A chopper is a radically customized motorcycle,  a perfect example is the customized Harley-Davidsons seen in the 1969 film Easy Rider. (shown above)

Before there were choppers, there was the bobber, meaning a motorcycle that had been "bobbed," or relieved of excess weight by removing parts, particularly the fenders, with the intent of making it lighter and thus faster, or at least making it look better in the eyes of a rider seeking a more minimalist ride.

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