At 7,000 feet above the Los Angeles basin, Big Bear Lake is well known for its twisty mountain roads, leisure activities, and breathtaking scenery. It also happens to be the home of Mona and Kevin Alsop’s Big Bear Choppers (BBC). For the past 10 years, BBC has been testing and pushing the limits in the rarefied atmosphere that encompasses the custom V-Twin market. Since 2001, BBC has been the leading manufacturer of unassembled bikes.
With the company’s kits you get everything to put the bike together (except the skill and the paint), and each bike is mocked up before leaving the factory to ensure everything works and fits correctly. Best of all, each bike comes with a BBC VIN and manufacturer’s title that allows the bike to be easily registered and insured.
In addition to the unassembled bikes, for about $9,000 more you get a fully assembled and hand-painted (with House of Kolor paints) cutting-edge bike. BBC has a national and international network of dealers that sell and service the current crop of 12 different models. The company makes all of its frames in Big Bear Lake, utilizing the best CNC equipment and TIG-welded tubes. In conjunction with SS;, Kevin designed the proprietary 100-inch SMOOTH motor.
Kevin’s extensive motor background led him to the development of the square motor (4-inch bore and stroke), altering compression ratio and cam timing to produce a low-vibration, cooler-running, torque-y motor that makes more than 110 lb-ft and 95-plus hp while remaining CARB- and EPA-compliant. Topping off the motor’s benefits is its reliability.
On paper, that looks all well and good. But how are BBC bikes in real-world, frenetic L.A. traffic? BBC delivered an ’07 The Sled ProStreet for HOT BIKE to get a first-hand look and feel. Upon sitting on the bike, one of the first things that becomes apparent is the incredibly low seat height, the lightness of the frontend, and the balance of the motorcycle. Once you’re at speed, those characteristics make for a ride which doesn’t remind you that you’re on an almost 9-1/2-foot-long machine.
This bike is undoubtedly the best-handling 300mm-rear-tire bike we’ve ever ridden. With 50 degrees of total rake, the scoot countersteers in an emergency like a bike half its length-quick and precise. At 5 feet, 9 inches, Toph had no problems at all reaching the swept-back bars or the forward controls.
Handling the eye-catching, big bike wasn’t an issue, either.
Part of the great road manners comes from the design of the stretched and shortened BBC Softail frame. In addition to the backbone stretch, the area behind the Baker right-side-drive transmission was lengthened, too. This move allowed for the low seat height by also letting the 5-quart oil tank be placed behind the transmission. The patented design also keeps the weight lower for a better-handling center of gravity.
BBC used its own sheetmetal-heavy-duty 12-gauge steel for the fenders and 14-gauge for the gas tank.
All of the trick frame and metalwork would be for naught if not for a motor that was equally impressive. At 100ci, the motor feels much stronger than what one would expect. This square mill has torque everywhere, from right off idle to well into the triple digits. On the freeway, dropping down to Fourth gear, the bike easily pulled 100 mph with plenty of arm-stretching power left in her. Our fear of the local authorities limited that experiment, but it was memorable.
Best of all, as the name implies, it was smooth. This is good for keeping parts on the bike and for rider comfort during a long day in the saddle. At idle, the Supertrapp two-into-one pipe was relatively mild-mannered, but when opening up the Super E’s butterfly, the pipe let out a pleasing bark.
This isn’t the most beautiful exhaust system available, but it meets emissions requirements, and, best of all, it actually improves performance.
BBC outfitted the scoot with top-shelf components such as Performance Machine wheels and four-piston calipers. The PM- and BBC-designed rear brake rotor doubles as the chain sprocket, keeping the left side of the wheel clean. Quality components such as WirePlus wiring, a Spyke starter, Crane HI-4 ignition, and an Interstate battery made up the electrics.
No corners were cut here or anywhere else on this build. BBC used its own hidden-axle frontend and 6-degree triple-trees. Progressive was called on for the horizontally mounted hidden rear shocks, which worked very well in smoothing out the less than ideal SoCal roads. The forged aluminum primary and cover seen on this bike are brand new from BBC.
It’s strong, resists flexing, and absorbs engine vibrations. This unit was so hot off the assembly line that BBC didn’t have a chance to polish it before getting it out to us. The design aids in easier starter removal and features triple seals on the mainshaft to eliminate leaks.
Except for the forward position of the petcock that’s a bit of a reach, it’s hard to find something on this bike that wasn’t well thought out.
We were sorry to have to give this bike back to BBC. It was just that good a bike to ride and to be seen on. It was impossible to ride anywhere without men and women of all ages checking The Sled out by honking, waving, and even sticking their heads out their car windows to get a better look at it. This package of looks, style, and comfort is hard to beat at the asking price.
Even better is the experience of BBC standing behind the product for two years or 20K miles. Check out www.bigbearchoppers.com for more info on this bike and the rest of the company’s bikes and parts.
- 2008 Big Bear Choppers G.T.X. Motorcycle Review – Ultimate MotorCycling
- Motorcycle Industry. The Good The Bad And The Ugly. at Cyril Huze Post…
- Lot Special – Regional Internet Auto / Car Deals Directory
- One Big Bad Rigid
- BIKERNET THURSDAY NEWS FOR JUNE 23RD