Santiago Chopper’s Believe It Or Not Custom Bike. $1500

santiagochoppermotorcycle

Good cooks have a special talent to improvise last minute yummy recipes using only left overs. Good motorcycle builders do the same with spare parts laying around the shop or garage. If it was possible to control the true cost of recycled parts used to build a custom bike, I would organize a bike show to elect the best of the cheapest custom motorcycles built from the ground up. Let’s say, under $5000.00.

And this $1500 recession proof machine built by Alan Bernard at Santiago Chopper would probably be a favorite to win…a recycled gold plastic trophy from the 1st Big Daddy’s Rat’s Hole Show. The tech sheet goes like this: an old Kawasaki for $400. A rusty frame from the 70’s for $50. A front end bought on eBay for $250. Old forgotten and found again parts around the shop estimated at value$750. A quarter of flat black paint $12. Pinstriping $80. A welder, one grinder, 12 sheets of sandpaper and 3 weekends of elbow grease. Alan told me that the bike is fun, fun, fun to ride. See it during Biketoberfest splitting lanes between Ormond and Daytona Beach with a pit stop at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Bike Show.

Zipper's

16 Responses to “Santiago Chopper’s Believe It Or Not Custom Bike. $1500”


  1. 1 Darin Maltsbeerger-Instructor @ MTI Oct 2nd, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Awesome looking bike guys. My students this year are building a “poor man’s special” for their class project. It is starting as a 1981 Yamaha XS650 with a burnt piston that they were able to get for free. They have a $2500 budget. Hopefully they can get some ideas from your website and maybe some inspiration from you as well. I am always excited when young people can make connections in this business and gain some inspiration and direction with something they really have a passion for.

  2. 2 Johny Oct 2nd, 2009 at 9:24 am

    If I understand I can get 35 Santiago bikes for the price of 1 Lorenzo Lamas/Eddie Trotta bike? Weird custom motorcycle world.

  3. 3 Greg Oct 2nd, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    How many bikes can be put back on the road using spare parts and basket cases sleeping in attics?

  4. 4 Shiter Oct 2nd, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Can I get one just like that for this price?

  5. 5 ALAN Oct 2nd, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    HI
    $1500 THAT MY COST JUST FOR THE PARTS BUT NO LABOR
    IF I NEED TO BUILT THEM FOR CUSTOMER I WILL ASK $4500
    BUT EVRYBODY CAN DO THAT WITH A GOOD WELDER AND GRINDER ANY WAY THAT THE FUN PART OF IT

    I BUILT THIS ONE FOR A GIRL FRIEND

    AND I HOPE TO SEE A LOT OF THIS KIND OF BIKE ON THE ROAD

    AND THE QUALITY OF THE EDDIE’S BIKE ARE NOT THE SAME

    ALL THE BEST TO EVERY ONE

    ALAN

  6. 6 Steve Carr Oct 2nd, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Alan is a great guy, and actually knows what he is talking about,

    I think its great!

    Steve Carr

  7. 7 Custom Motorcycles Oct 2nd, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I gotta tell you, after seeing this bike it makes me want to get back in the garage and finish my XS400 Bobber. I only have $1250 into it so far and I’m pretty excited to see if I can match this for only another $250.

  8. 8 BAJerry Oct 2nd, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    This is what it is all about, this is where we all started, abused cop bikes turned into choppers by poor dudes, most of us over 60 that are still riding know what I’m saying, it ain’t what you ride it’s that you are still riding and by doing so influncing young and still poor dudes to do the same-keeping your face in the wind.. This bike makes me so proud to be a 60 year old biker, and hope to see more..

  9. 9 Spider Racing Oct 2nd, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I have been building these for the last few years they are a lot of fun to ride and will get u more attention and bike shows and bike nights then u can imagine.. Top that with the fact they can be built and sold for anywhere from about $3000 on up (I have built a 450 honda for 790 buck out of pocket) I think these are the future in these tough economic times

  10. 10 Christopher McMinn Oct 3rd, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    We used to make fun of these type of attempts , things are a bit different now .This is a nice example .

  11. 11 nicker Oct 3rd, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Time changes many things.
    But a $1500 scooter is not far off the old mark.
    Used to be for about a $1000 you could put together a scooter you were proud to sport around.

    But that was before ya met the “nicest people on a Honda”….. or any other “bling-machine” they could afford to buy.

    The thing that hasn’t changed is that there are still people who find enjoyment in building scooters with what they can scrounge together. And there in lies the real spirit of our “past time”. It’s about an experience that can only be understood by “doing” not “buying.” It’s about “garage building.” It’s about the genesis of the Custom Scooter Process.

    The contemporary Custom Industry has been about something very different. It’s been about commerce and products.

    So on the one hand, it’s great to see the Santiago scooter, harking back a previous era.
    However to see it sold as a commodity seems to be something of a contradiction in terms.

    Which begs the question, what would be the point of buying one (that’s a rhetorical question).

    If the reason is the same as it is for buying “torn and stone washed jeans”….. that would be unfortunate.

    IMHO, anyway.
    -nicker-

  12. 12 Scott E. Oct 6th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with you Nicker, but you have to realize that not everyone can just put a bike together from random old parts in their garage (specially if they do not own a garage). So to get a bike that will fit into there budget, and have that look and feel of a true custom chopper, paying for some ones skill may be there only option.

    I personally would love to have this ride.

  13. 13 nicker Oct 6th, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Scott-

    Well, ya, i guess that’s one way to look at it …..
    RE:
    “…not everyone can just put a bike together from random old parts in their garage…”

    But on the other hand, neither did the rest of us, at first anyway. Very few people start out with “parts in their garage,” that’s what junk yards, swap meets, and E-bay are for.

    Moreover, garages can be rented and night school can teach ya everything you need to know to get started.

    Le-me try this again. My point was simply that in taking the short-cut by “…paying for some ones skill …” people miss out on half the reward of this pastime.

    Let’s face it, those who buy top end One-off customs typically have the discretionary money to buy one. They are basically collectors. In their case “paying for some ones skill” is how collecting works. Price is not an issue. Simply don’t see them being interested in this product.

    Bottom line:
    “… that look and feel of a true custom chopper…”

    Any one can buy “that look,” but any garage builder will tell ya the true “feel” is an experience that has to be created.

    So, “…to get a bike that will fit into [a] budget…” ya got-a understand why it is ya want a bike: …..to collect or….. to experience. All of which begs the question, is the above product a “collectable” ….or an “experience”………(IMHO, it’s neither).

    Now if you really, “personally would love to have this ride” …….that’s fine. Then why not get busy and put one together?

    After all, isn’t that what made America great …. People who had the drive and determination to “dream it, build it, and live it”….????

    Short cuts are for stuff you don’t really care about.
    Just a thought.
    -nicker-

  14. 14 Scott E. Oct 8th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Well Nicker you make a valid, and unarguable point. Though, personally, I just want to ride a custom chopper I can afford, and spend my time building websites. “To each their own.” is what I always say…..

  15. 15 nicker Oct 8th, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Scott-E,

    RE:
    “…Though, personally, I just want to ride a custom chopper I can afford, and spend my time building websites…”

    Ya certainly. I can see what your saying.
    So, may be putting the point into an IT context would be helpful.

    The underlying web technology is the “ML” suit of data presentation strategies.
    Although certainly not “fun-stuff”, knowing the ins-n-outs of SGML gives one a better understanding other MLs (like HTML). And certainly gives one a better perspective on how good (or bad) your particular web publishing tool is working. Used to be a real Data Processing pro could hand code HTML based on a firm knowledge of SGML. (-BTW- that’s based on having worked with Oscar Goldfarb in the early 1990’s)

    The analogy is simply this;
    Real bikers are like a DP pros. they “Live, Love, Eat, Sleep, & Dream their stuff. It’s all about the “quality of the endeavor.” On the other hand, (as i see the analogy) Web publishing tools are short cuts that allow someone to produce a viewable data instance, regardless of the quality…… A shorty-cut, if you will….. Sorta like buying a bobber.

    But then as you say some people would rather “just ride.” The quality of the experience is not a consideration. Bottom line, as in most stuff, ya get out of it what ya put in

    It’s about perspective not (so much) about judgement …….. 🙂
    IMHO anyway

    BTW thanks for the dialog.
    -nicker-

  16. 16 Chopper Kid Oct 8th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Nice Piece, This is exaclty the kinda of bike that has been in The Horse Backstreet Choppers Mag for the last several years, affordable and built by the owner making them all somewhat unique

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