The Easy Rider
This cool kids’ bike came about in the 1970s and was based on the look of the Chopper Motorcycle as seen in the movie, Easy Rider.
Canada was the first country to sell the first of the prototypes – now known as the Prechopper – this was back in June, 1969. There is speculation that Australia and South Africa also had the ‘Prechoppers’.
The US introduced the bike, with Chopper markings, in September of that year. It came to the UK in 1970.
A distinctive feature was the wide ape hanger handlebars and long padded, high back banana-style seat – Trés Easy Rider. The bike featured a 3 and 5-speed and single-speed Sturmey Archer hub. Gears were selected on a frame=mounted console gear lever – dubbed as being a ‘cool feature’. What was also un usual – yet still cool, were the different sized wheels – 16 inch front and 20 inch rear; bobbed fenders and a rear hoop above the seat, akin to the motorcycle’s ‘sissy bar’. The kickstand was designed to ape the look of a parked motorbike.
The tires were wider featuring a chunky tread on the rear wheel.
In 2004, a new model was launched, this being the Mk3 after a 23 year non-production period. The Mk3 was modified in favour of safety, such as a more conventional seat to discourage pillion riding (backies); the gear lever was switched to the handlebars – saving wear and tear on the groin and the frame is now aluminium instead of steel, this makes the bike lighter.
The front and rear wheels remain the same 16 inch and 20 inch.