The weather report going into the weekend of Chopperfest was bad (bad for Southern California anyway), but scattered showers on Saturday only served to bring brighter blue skies for Sunday’s show. The staff from Clymer/Haynes went to the Ventura Fairgrounds December 8th to talk to our customers, as well as check out bikes, music, BBQ, and beer. Not only were there plenty of Harley-Davidsons of every type, there were Japanese and British bikes, and custom vans too.
We here at Clymer/Haynes love all kinds of motorcycles, from full dress touring rigs and plastic clad sport bikes, to motocross and mini bikes, but from our founding big American v-twins have been at the top of our list. After all, Floyd Clymer, our founder, was a racer of Harleys and Indians from way back, and later a retail distributor for both brands. Plus, like a lot of people who like to tinker and build, we find older air cooled bikes to be much easier to work on, no matter what continent they were built on.
Vans – The Ultimate Bike Accessory
Motorcycles and vans go hand in hand, since once in a while everyone needs to take a bike somewhere but can’t ride it – a van is the ultimate motorcycle accessory. Chopperfest invites them to come and show off as well, with Rolling Heavy magazine promoting the custom van show. The classic vans brought along some minibikes, BMX bicycles, and skateboards, for a real throwback 1970s So.Cal. vibe.
The Choppers of Chopperfest
As far as the choppers go, David Mann Chopperfest has a definite old school style to it – You aren’t going to find tricked-out baggers with 1000 watt sound systems, 30″ wheels, and neon here. What you will find is plenty of candy colored paint, pin stripes, extra-long springers, knuckles, pans, Indians, Triumphs, and the occasional Honda. Some of these bikes were newly built, some of them are survivors showing hundreds of hard miles on their once glorious paint jobs. There was even one gloriously insane air-cooled VW Bug powered, pinstriped and flamed, bright red fiberglass trike that would have made Big Daddy Ed Roth proud.
The whole show had the feel of a backyard BBQ, and the food trucks and live classic rock tribute bands fit right in. Nobody really cared that their shoes and bikes got a little muddy from the rain the previous day. There were plenty of shovelheads and Evolution powered bikes, but you’d be surprised to see the number of knuckleheads, flatheads, and hand shifted bikes that had been chopped or bobbed.
There were enough other resurrected old school parts, like triangular headlights, Amal carbs, and wicked long springers, to keep chopper geeks peeking closely at details for hours. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, the rider of the 70s survivor, pot leaf themed, Honda CB750 chopper no longer has to worry about being hassled by the man. One of the wildest bikes was a green and gold supercharged chop with a NSFW pinup girl airbrushed on the tank (we censored it a bit in the gallery).
Reed, Jon, Mark, and Bryan from the Haynes/Clymer offices certainly enjoyed our time manning the booth and hearing from customers. We will try to get out to more shows in an official capacity, especially considering the new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee 8 touring bike manual (and updated Twin Cam book) that is coming out in a few months. Follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to find out where we will pop up next.