Thanks to our man on the west coast, we now have the full story on the Forkless Chopper from it’s builder Christian Dotson.
The main reason for building this bike was to introduce and help establish myself in the custom motorcycle industry. I chose to build this bike, in particular, to highlight my design, engineering, and fabrication abilities. I knew I had to do something different and innovative, in order to stand out from other builders.
I basically started out with a sketch and a frame jig.
Once I landed on the “forkless” design, I began engineering the suspension and locating the components I wanted to use. During the design process I decided on a “vintage concept” theme and chose to only use vintage technology throughout the bike. This is why I chose to use the quarter-elliptic leaf spring, friction shock, and early Ford steering. The steering spindle is located inside a Harley Sportster drum brake hub, with the wheel bearings offset into the aluminum “bullet” on the side of the hub. One of the main features of this suspension design is that it has a 30 degree rake, which is much more nimble and responsive than a bike of this length would normally have.
The frame was built with the idea of incorporating the engine oil and electrical wiring within the frame. All of this had to be planned out before any fabrication began. A 93″ Panhead engine and 5 speed kickstart only transmission were chosen to continue the vintage theme.
Almost all of the components were hand fabricated. The handle bars, foot controls, fuel tanks, seat, shifter, linkages, exhaust, etc. were all carefully planned and fabricated. The entire bike was plumbed with stainless steel hard lines. The fender began as a stamped blank, and was split and reshaped, to match the fuel tanks.
The fender also incorporates a custom taillight, with hidden wiring. The seat is a leather wrapped custom steel pan, on a cantilevered suspension system utilizing dual Chevy valve springs. A spring loaded Chevy belt tensioner was modified and used as the final chain drive tensioner. A BDL 2″ primary was incorporated, with a custom CNC machined clutch cover.
The rear (and only) brake is a stock reproduction with custom front and rear CNC covers.
That’s about it.