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The Wizard


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 We found an old BMX bike, stretched the frame, added long forks and an old skool seat.


What do you do with that "old school" 1980's BMX bike hanging in the corner of your garage? Maybe paint it back up, build a half pipe in your driveway, and start impressing the neighbors? Maybe not. How about turning that dead weight into a cool chopper? Now that's a good plan.

Can a dilapidated BMX become a chopper you ask? Hey, I can turn a baby carriage into a chopper, and if it can be welded, it can be chopped! Besides, that rear mag wheel (5 spoke wheel) matches a smaller mag wheel from an old kids bike I have in the scrap pile, so the ideas are already flying - let's start cutting.


This old BMX is in such rough state, you would think I found it underwater! Well, that's not too far off, it was laying at the dump in a mud puddle, and probably sat in some dudes back yard for the last 10 years. No big deal, the rear mag wheel is still functional, and the rust is only in the chain and bearings - east to fix that. The old skool BMX (Photo 1), would make a fine chop, if I played my cards right.
Photo 1 - Remember "Radical Rick"? If so, you're too old!


Considering the amount of rust on the bike, I was surprised at how well it came apart (Photo 2). In fact, besides the chain, most of the components cleaned right up. I got rid of the front wheel and replaced it with a smaller mag wheel from a kids' bike that somewhat matched the design of the original BMX rear mag wheel.
Photo 2 - BMX dissection.


To make this old frame look a lot less like a BMX bike and much more like a chopper, the rear triangle is cut from the frame at the seat tube (Photo 3). It will be inverted and welded back on, radically changing the dynamics of the frame in two simple cuts and welds. Cut the tubing as close to the bottom bracket and seat tube as possible.
Photo 3 - Cut the rear triangle from the frame.


Look at how much inverting the rear triangle transforms this frame! The bike is more laid back, the head tube is higher, and the rake is increased (Photo 4). It will now be easy to extend the front forks without placing the bottom bracket too high in the air.
Photo 4 - Rear triangle inversion.


The newly transformed frame (Photo 5), loses most of its BMX look, and becomes a laid back chopper frame. Sometimes the simplest changes can make a world of difference to a bicycle. When welding the rear triangle back into position, make sure it is aligned properly (as viewed form the top), or you will be riding down the street like a sidewinder. Fully weld around all the tubing and then clean up the welds with your grinder.
Photo 5 - A frame transformed.


Instead of extending each leg of the original forks, only the head tube will be modified by inserting a length of 1-inch conduit in between the fork top and stem. The stem is cut as close to the fork top as possible (Photo 6), leaving enough of the wider part of the stem for welding and reinstallation of the bearing ring. Remember to knock the bearing ring off before cutting or welding, as it would be easily damaged if hit with the grinder disc or welding rod.
Photo 6 - Cutting the stem for the forks.


This mono-tube fork extension, is an easy way to get some length on those forks, and only requires a few feet of extra tubing. The completed forks (Photo 7) should be straight and parallel, and the welding should be done all the way around both joints to ensure strength. You may have to grind the top weld down a little bit in order to slide the bearing ring over the joint to put it back in place. Do not take too much of the weld metal off, just enough to get the ring in place.
Photo 7 - Fork stem extension.


Look at the rise on that frame! Although the head tube is way up there, the bottom bracket remains in a position similar to that of the original frame (Photo 8). If the rear triangle were not inverted, the bottom bracket and seat tube would be pushed so far back, that an instant wheelie would occur by just sitting on the bike.
Photo 8 - Installing the forks and wheels.


To make use of the original handlebars, the cross-bar is cut away, and a few inches of width are taken out as well (Photo 9). The handlebars are transformed from the BMX world into the chopper world this way. Grind away the sharp edges from where the cross-bar was cut.
Photo 9 - Un-BMXing the handlebars.


The Wizard is assembled one last time before painting, to make sure everything will work properly (Photo 10). The BMX seat was replaced with a banana seat in order to give the rider a little more leg room. BMX frames are notorious for having stupidly long curved seat posts that bend like wet noodles rather than lengthening the seat tubes - a style thing, I guess. I did not want a 3-foot long seat post, so the banana seat was a good alternative due to its length.
Photo 10 - Getting it all together.


The black plastic front mag wheel was spray painted white in order to match the rear wheel, and the frame was done in yellow with deep red accents (Photo 11). The final product turned out quite well, and it's hard to see the original BMX bike anywhere in this laid back chop. 
Photo 11 - The Wizard, painted and completed.


Elizabeth strikes a pose with the Wizard chopper (Photo 12). The bike made a large transformation from its original state, considering only four welds were made. The mag wheels really gave some unique style to the bike as well.
Photo 12 - Elizabeth posing it up with the Wizard.


The chopper rode perfectly on its first test run (Photo 13). The project was a complete success and it turned a rusty old junk BMX into a sleek uniquely styled chopper. Proof again, that the original bike is not important, only the fusion of imagination and a little hard work.
Photo 13 -The Wizard on its maiden voyage.


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