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Motorcycle Frames for Harley Davidson

The motorcycle frame functions like a skeleton, providing the basic and essential structure and support for all of the other parts of the motorcycle. Early motorcycle frames consisted mainly of steel tubing, but frames have evolved to include stronger and lighter materials. There are different frame types to accommodate the different engine sizes, seat placement, and wheel spacing on the different Harley Davidson models.

What is a chopper?

A chopper is a custom motorcycle that is either built from scratch with parts from other bikes or handmade parts, or it is a drastically modified (chopped) factory-manufactured motorcycle. Many choppers use Harley Davidson frames as a base and use an iconic V-twin motor. Solid, one-piece frames without pivot joints are the most common for the chopper aesthetic. The idea of the chopper, as well as modifying motorcycles in this manner, was first introduced by the bobber, so called because stock motorcycles were relieved of parts, or bobbed, to make them lighter and faster.

What is the difference between a Hardtail and Softtail frame?

As the name would imply, a Harley Davidson Hardtail has no rear suspension and provides a ride that imparts all of the bumps on the road directly through the tires to the rider. These Harley frames are one solid piece with the rear axle attached right to the frame itself. Although this results in a bumpier ride, some riders prefer the clean lines of this frame, especially when using them as a base for their custom motorcycle.

The Harley Davidson Softtail frame is comprised of two pieces connected by a pivot joint with room for the suspension to be hidden under the engine. This hidden suspension retains some of the clean aesthetics of a solid frame with the benefit of a softer ride. The rigid Hardtail frame benefits from slightly better cornering and a simpler construction, and the Softail frame imparts comfort and easier handling.

Do you need to paint the motorcycle frame?

Steel frames are susceptible to rust and require some kind of coating to protect them from moisture and oxidation. There are options for what kind of paint or coating to use and each has their advantages. Paint is easy to apply and may be done by bike owners in their own garage. Either an oil-based or petroleum-based enamel paint may be used in whichever color you choose. You can apply the paint with a brush, or use spray-paint for an easy and fast application. For a more professional-looking job, you can also buy or rent a paint sprayer. Be sure to allow plenty of time for drying between applications. Powder coat for bike frames is another option, but this requires a professional. Powder coating requires a very clean and properly sanded frame to stick properly, but with the right preparation, will result in a coating that is incredibly durable and resistant to chipping or fading.