“A chassis with a hardtail frame, long forks, cool chopper tank, and some loose parts” – a beautiful ‘fun package’ from a long gone era was offered to me for a decent price back in 2012. It was a long drive to collect it, but I saw possibilities, and couldn’t resist buying it.
Onno ‘Berserk’ Wieringa madnessphotography.nl
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At the beginning of the Eighties, Europe was overrun by a wave of choppers – more and more companies imported not only parts and accessories, but also complete motorcycles. Wholesalers appeared on the scene, and more and more were manufactured in Europe. It became easier to import parts from America, and the chopper magazines were experiencing golden times.
It was an inspiration for us here in Europe to see guys from the States building amazing creations and, every month, magazines like Easyriders, Choppers, Supercycles, Hot Bike, etc., were devoured. Even Dutch builders, such as Prudon, Dik’s Paints, Janton and more, started building choppers and customs. The world on two wheels became louder, more colourful, and more extreme – it was a wonderful period in which more was possible and allowed. After growing up with little Tomos mopeds, the roads suddenly stretched out in front of you, opened up to you, and you could ride all over Europe on a chopper, without a mobile ’phone, without GPS, even without a credit card. It was adventure and freedom!
It was a feeling you never forget, and I longed to feel it again. I’d picked up an old CB750 project chopper from the Seventies a while back and, as it was a very popular bike to chop back then, wanted to get it back on the road. I also had an old King & Queen saddle on a shelf, but I didn’t have an engine. After a lot of searching, and a lot of patience, I found a donor bike with a ‘good engine’ (according to the man who sold it) that I could buy for not too much money. Upon arriving at his place, it turned out to be a horribly converted bike, but the engine was, as he’d said, good, and, to my astonishment, when I advertised the rest of the parts I didn’t need, they sold for far more than I expected. Long live the Internet!
Now I had an almost complete motorcycle, albeit in bits. I spoke to Short Cut Choppers, and we put everything together there. Almost immediately, an acquaintance of mine offered me an amazing one-of-a-kind set of wide-glide wishbone springer forks so, without hesitating for a moment, the heavy, but oh-so-cool, fork was taken home. Tjeerd at Short Cut sighed deeply when I walked into his shop with the colossus under my arm. “This is really the most insane fork for this chopper!” he said. They might’ve been a sod to fit but, thankfully, they’d come out of another CB750, and that made assembly a lot easier. Oh, and with them on, the bike’d only just fit on the lift in Tjeerd’s workshop!
Part of the plan was always going to be to keep the bike in its original colour – Deep Pink Fuchsia. It’s striking, to say the least! Pink was a popular colour for chops back in the Eighties, and it’d’ve been wrong to change it as it’s period-correct, and really stands out. It also gave the bike its name – my daughter used to love the girl group K3 and so, because the bike model’s a CB750 K3, and the colour is as pink as K3 (the band), the ideal name was ‘K3, The Lady in Pink’.
Richly patinated (read as ‘old and rusty’) drag pipes were scored, the carburettors cleaned, and the old donor engine could be started for the first time. To our great relief it started okay, and ran very smoothly without a tap or rattle! The rear wheel was refurbished, the drum brake checked, and fitted with a new fat Avon tyre to match the one on the front. The chopper was up and running, and on its feet! Forward controls were modified to fit by Tjeerd as the original highway bar (remember them?) and brake-n’-shift pedal didn’t fit properly, and made riding downright miserable, and a set of 12-inch one-off risers, with a set of drag-’bars were added to the wishbone springers – the ‘sky’s the limit’ look was born!
Riding such a bike is, I admit, quite a handful, as we soon found out, but the long forks and the narrow, high handlebars complete the Easy Rider experience. The build-up of a cool chopper actually became a restoration with a period-correct appearance – a restoration done without using new parts, without new paintwork, without even polishing or cleaning a part.
1973 Honda CB750 K3 engine (K&N air-filters, aftermarket drag ‘pipes), unknown rigid frame, homemade forwards, Avon tyres, spoked wheels (21-inch front, 16-inch rear), dual disc front brakes, 14-inch over wishbone springer forks, one-off 12-inch risers, narrow drag-‘bars, stock switches/controls, Zodiac Streamliner grips, single-cap Mustang tank, Drag Specialties King & Queen seat, chromed custom oil tank, aftermarket flat rear ‘guard, Drag Specialties sissy-bar, stock drum rear brake, one-off loom, Dixie twin rectangular chopper headlights, cat’s-eye tail-light
Fuchsia Pink by unknown painter, graphics by White Lightning
Owner/Plug at Short Cut Choppers
Tjeerd Plug at Short Cut Choppers; Annelien for modelling; & Fam. Buijs, Bilthoven for the photo location…”