Copperhead Lucky 777

Featured In The May 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source

Article By: Chris Callen Photos By: Josh Elzey / TWIG PhotographyFeature 2a

I first met Big Truth and Jay of Chopphead on the inaugural East Coast Gypsy Tour. They had a style all their own and the bikes they were building were bitchin and real. Since then we’ve featured their bikes several times in the pages of Cycle Source but lately things have been changing so much in the custom culture, we wanted to drop in and catch up with what they’ve been doing. Turns out they have reacted to the changes today by coming up with low buck solutions in addition to their now top quality standards for building a custom. Now this isn’t new science, most cats who build on a budget can relate as a matter of fact. It’s a thing they call their “Thunder Rat” series and it’s where the story of this motorcycle starts. “As the price of parts and core/donor projects rise, so do the costs of final builds. And not everyone can afford a complete, ground up build – so it’s in our mission to build at least 1 or 2 more affordable builds each year. We know what it’s like to want something cool, but not be able to afford it… hell that’s why we started building in the first place!

Hence, the birth of the Choppahead “Thunder Rat” series! With these bikes, we don’t skimp on design or functionality… we just cut corners where we can (but wouldn’t on a full build). Maybe we use an old set of wheels that are good, but not rebuilt. Same with the front end. And we always start with a good running engine that only needs minor work (new clutch or top end, etc) – not a full rebuild. This allows us to keep the costs down and still put someone on the road and looking good!” The Lucky 777 is one of their Thunder Rat builds. They started with a solid running bike that was bought off a friend that needed to unload it – so they were familiar with the bike and knew its’ history. There’s nothing worse than buying one blind and getting someone else’s mess and should be avoided when possible. It began with a tear down. The guys took the original motor out, it came from a 72 oil in frame, and grabbed a stock 67 Triumph front frame section to put it in. This is a much better design when it comes to the look for a Triumph chopper than the later OIF frames. The front frame section used was stock, but had the gas tank mounts cut off. That really didn’t matter since they weren’t going to use them anyhow. They mated that modified front frame section to one of their own hardtails with a 4” stretch. A Choppahead oil tank and battery box were fabbed up for it and the tins were born from an old Wassell peanut tank they had hanging around the shop and a repop Triumph pre-unit front fender used as a rear. The seat pan is a Choppahead bent standard solo type, with hand tooled leather by Jay Fortin. The design is their classic “Animal Thug” spade logo that adds that extra touch of attitude to the bike as you look it over. The front end is actually off the original donor 72, but they cleaned it up with new fork tubes, caps/hardware, and powdercoated the trees and fork lowers. Of course that was finished off with some new gaiters. The handlebars are new Cclubmans, the headlight is a new Bates-style repop 5 ¾ standard light. Taillight is a Lucas mini on a Choppahead axle mounted light/license bracket. All the cables and hand controls are new.

Feature 2b

When it came to the wheels they had a 21” spoolie front, and an 18” rear Triumph wheel hanging around the shop that were both tired looking but in straight runnable condition. This is one of the ways these cats can keep the price down, they sent those to get powdercoating along with the frame, front end parts, and other bits to make them look good as new. Choppahead always sends their parts to Goodhue’s Powdercoating and the results here can tell you why. Paint on the tins was done in-house at Choppahead, but the gold leaf and pinstripe work were added on by their friend and pinstriping legend “Charlie the One- Armed Bandit”. Even though the engine was a runner, it was still opened up for a quick inspection. The engine covers and top end came off the motor to check things out and make sure everything was in good order. With that extra piece of mind they cleaned up the engine and threw her in the skeleton, mounted with Choppahead chromemoly SuperStock motor mounts. Brand new Amal carbs, with Velocity stacks we’re used and a new Boyer ignition, Podtronics voltage regulator, and battery were installed. This would chase away any unwanted gremlins that might keep the thing from coming to life on first fire. At Choppahead it is standard practice to never let a bike leave that doesn’t run strong and fire on the first 1-2 kicks. They quality that goes into their builds and the look of the finished product have consistently made these bikes the kind we want to feature in Cycle Source. Having finished this article we can say that even on their more economical “Thunder Rats” a lot of time and new parts go into each build. When it was finished the Lucky 777 went to it’s new home in San Francisco. I can only imagine racing up and down the streets there, getting mad air off the cross streets on this machine. For more information check out www.choppahead.com and tell them we sent ya!

Feature 2c

LUCKY 777 TECH SHEET
Fabrication By: Choppahead
City/State: Boston, MA
Year: 1967
Model: T120R Bonneville
Time: 8 Weeks
Value: In The Eye Of The Beholder
ENGINE
Year: 1972
Model: T120R
Builder: Triumph / Choppahead
Ignition: Boyer Electronic
Displacement: 650cc
Heads: Triumph
Carb: Amal 930’s
Air Cleaner: Velocity Stacks
Exhaust: Elnglish High Pipes
Primary:
TRANSMISSION
Year: 1972
Make: Triumph
Shifting: 5 Speed, Right Side
FRAME
Year: 1967
Make: Triumph/Choppahead Hardtail
Rake: Stock
Stretch: 4”
FORKS
Type: Triumph
Builder: Choppahead
Extension: Stock
triple trees: Triumph
WHEELS
Front Wheel: Spool
Size: 21”
Tire: Avon
Rear Wheel:
Size: 18”
Tire: Dunlop K70
Rear Brake: Triumph
PAINT
Painter: Choppahead
Color: Black/Vanilla Shake
Graphics: Charlie The One Armed Bandit
ACCESSORIES
Bars: Clubman
Gas Tank(s): Wassell Peanut
Rear fender: Triumph Front Mounted on Rear
Seat: Choppahead Seat Pan
Upholstery: Jay Fortin
Foot Controls: Triumph
Oil Tank: Choppahead
Headlight: Bates Style 5 3/4 Repop
Tailight: Lucas Mini
Photographer: Joshua Elzey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *