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CHRIS TRAGERT, CUSTOM BIKES, PRODUCTS, & SERVICES
has been building bikes since 1972, starting with a Honda S90, built from a basket case.
A continuous succession of race bikes, cafe racers, choppers, and customs have passed through his hands.
Venice Choppers was created in 1990, providing custom built "picture" bikes for use in television commercials.
Venice Choppers have starred in national spots for Kodak, Coca Cola, Crown Books, and Coors Light, to name but a few.
In addition to corporate clients, Venice Choppers does ground-up custom builds, as well as period correct restorations
of original 70's survivors. Venice Choppers have been featured in several magazines, including multiple issues of
The Horse, Back Street Choppers. Check out the featured bikes, and feel free to contact Chris with your custom needs,
or just to say hi.
VENICE CHOPPERS, THE VENICE BOBBER
VENICE CHOPPERS. This bare-knuckle venice bobber is a
product of its environment. A light, compact weapon was
needed to slice through the traffic-choked urban sprawl
surrounding the sea-side oasis where it was conceived.
Lightweight, quickness, agile handling, and good brakes
were top priority. The resulting menacing appearance
would give murderous cagers something to text about.
To achieve these criteria, an early 70's
Amen rigid frame was scored, complete with it's unique oil
tank/battery tray. A stock length CB750 front-end,
combined with a 21' rim, had the frame sitting low, and level.
A 17' CB750 rear wheel kept thinks slim, it's drum brake
actuated by a 40' Ford brake pedal itself operated from solid,
mid-mount foot pegs.
Confident the chassis was up to the task,
it received a silky coat of satin black powder coat, topped
with stainless steel spokes, and polished caliper, triple
clamp, and rear sprocket.
Motivation comes from a 78 CB750F motor.
Stripped down, and rebuilt, with chrome covers, and
stainless hardware, it breathes through early CB carbs, jetted
to suit the vintage Dunstall exhaust. This rare 4-2
collector is tipped with 2" exhaust cutouts. 8"
baffles attach to the end caps, providing a mellow exhaust note
from discreetly drilled outlets. Removing the end caps
reminds the neighbors who the bad boy on the block is.
Sparking the mix are chrome Harley coils, with copper
core wires, and "Rajah" caps, more commonly found on
flathead Fords. Coils position mimics drag racing
magnetos, in case anyone questions your intentions, which
should be clear, based on the aggressive riding position.
Clubman bars get your hunch on, while
keeping your knuckles below mirror level when splitting lanes.
A Hyabusa master cylinder feeds the venerable Honda disc
some extra juice, in a world of ABS induced delayed reactions.
Completing the interface of man, and machine, is a West
Eagle seat, sprung with 2" Bates springs. It's
kicked up rear keeps yours in its place, and off the 5"
Joining the minimalist movement is an alien
gastank, powder coated charcoal metallic, with a candy red top
coat. It's 80+ mile range will see you clear to the edge
of town. Spontaneous, nocturnal missions are illuminated
by a Lucas driving lamp. Backup is provided by a VW turn
signal, stuffed with red LEDs. Wired up, and fired up,
this bike has proven to be an effective tool for traversing the
urban landscape. It's lean looks are a direct result of
it's dedication to function, proving less is more, and if you
need more, here it is.
VENICE CHOPPERS, THE VENICE CHOPPER
VENICE CHOPPERS. This bike started out with a mystery frame
I bought for $150.00 on good old Ebay. I figured it was
for a Honda, so I grabbed it. Measuring revealed it was
for a CB500/550 Honda engine.
Searching the local classifieds turned up a
clean '72 CB500 that had kissed a bumper. The engine ran
sweet, and it had a 16" rear wheel, and new Bridgestones.
I had some 7" over fork tubes from a previous CB550
project which worked perfectly. I like the smaller
Hondas, they don't use an oil tank, so you can build them
tight, and light.
More searching Ebay turned up: a chrome
peanut tank, chrome fender, chrome disc cover, finned engine
covers, drag pipes, velocity stacks, seats, and chrome and
stainless steel hardware to bolt it all together. The
bike was mocked up and brackets fabricated to mount the battery
and electrics behind the engine. A solid state regulator
and coils from Cyclexchange cleaned up the electrics, without
resorting to using chrome boxes.
Originally, I had planned for a red frame,
but with the chrome tank, I figured it would look like a
when I looked at color samples at the
powder coaters, Phsyco Green jumped out at me. To hell
with superstition, we're talking two-wheel T-Bucket! White
seats, and grips, 'cause you meet the nicest people on a Honda.
bolted back together, with new chain,
cables, and fattened up jets, this 500 has been ripping it up
around Venice Beach.
People really dig it. Some remember
when Honda choppers ruled. Others, only aware of megabuck
designer bikes, can't believe what you can create on a tight
budget. I say, "cool is, as cool does." Build
it, and have fun.
VENICE CHOPPERS, THE VENICE DIGGER
VENICE CHOPPERS. This Venice Chop started life with the swap
meet purchase of an old Durfee girder-short and stiff. I
immediately envisioned the "digger" style chops I saw
tearing around the San Francisco bay area in the late 1970s.
Out by Redwood City, attacking the twisties on my RD350,
I was passed by a strutted, low-riding Sportster. It was
a particularly defining moment. I was a squid.
ˇhat cat was cool.
Redemption came over 25 years later in the
form of a vintage Santee frame. It had the necessary stretch
and just enough rake to achieve the long, low look I was after.
It also had a cracked top tube, and some gnarly stick welds. A
new top tube was clam-shelled over the old one, and much
A skinny 18' rear wheel and a 21"
trail bike front wheel were bolted to the beefed frame, keeping
things looking lean, and providing some useable stopping power.
Hustle comes from a stock CB750 motor. The flow
from powder coated cases, Alphabet filters, Harley coils and a
Cragar S/S points cover. Merged head pipes tuck in tight,
and feed into Wassel mufflers for a mellow tone.
The prism tank was salvaged from the
remains of a pink metalflake Z-1 chopper that turned up in a
Penny Saver ad. Along with the custom seat, 5"
fender, and one piece pullback bars, it keeps this modern
rendition locked in the '70's.
the frame and tin were filled with weld and
ground smooth in preparation for powder coating. The
color was chosen by an informal survey. I rode the bare
metal mock-up down to the Venice boardwalk, with color chart.
Of those whose opinions I admired the most, blue with
silver sparkle was the unanimous choice.
Bolted back together with stainless
hardware the finished product is light and responsive with
sleek looks. The Venice Digger has captured the qualities
of the original creations that inspired it . Cool at
VENICE CHOPPERS, THE VENICE OLD SCHOOL
VENICE CHOPPERS. CB750's have been the basis for great
choppers since their inception in 1969. Hard tail frames,
springer forks, and spool hubs were the foundation for a whole
generation of hardcore customs.
To create this modern
version of a traditional chop, it made sense to look to the
past. A collection of vintage parts were accumulated,
starting with the rigid frame. It had received an extra
2" in the down tubes, giving the neck extra height, and
rake, to allow the use of a narrow, extended springer. A
17" spool front wheel completed the geometry equation for
neutral, stable handling. A stock 17" rear wheel was
chosen for its stainless steel spokes, and narrow profile.
Custom made controls, color matched to the frame in
metallic copper powder coat, include welded chain foot pegs,
and drag bars, cut to follow the angles of the original Amen
coffin tank. Together with the hex oil tank, and 5"
flat fender, the sheet metal got a dose of satin black powder
coat. Vintage dual headlights, cat face taillight, and
two piece seat complete the chopper profile. Power for
this classic custom comes from a 78 F model CB750. The
factory black block was dressed with polished hardware, and
breathes through a breadbox air filter, and a custom lakes pipe
header, with frame huggin, baffled tail pipe.
Custom jetting guarantees this potent
powerplant, combined with the lightweight chassis will get your
attention, as well as theirs.