Choppers don't have to cost thirty thousand dollars. In fact, a chopper built at home can be had for as little as five thousand dollars. The key is the use of a donor bike for most of the components. How to Build a Cheap Chopper documents the construction of four inexpensive choppers with complete start-to-finish photo sequences.
Least expensive is the metric chopper, based on a 1970s vintage Japanese four-cylinder engine and transmission installed in a hardtail frame. Don't look for billet accessories or a fancy candy paint job on this one. Next up, price wise, are two bikes built using Buell/Sportster drivetrains. The fact is, a complete used Buell or Sportster can be had for thousand dollars or less. Now you've got more than an engine, you have wheels and tires, brakes, hardware, lights, harness, and some sheet metal. Bolt all that stuff to a simple hardtail frame to create an almost-instant chopper. Most lavish, but still cheap by comparison with many of the bikes built today, is a big twin chopper built from carefully chosen aftermarket parts. A RevTech engine and five-speed tranny set in a Rolling Thunder frame. Accessorize from the swap meet and add a simple one-color paint job to create a bike no one needs to be ashamed of.