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Low Life (Auto Chopper)

December 6th, 2010

Auto choppers… Okay they might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but let’s face it, they were inevitable really. If you can put an auto engine into a Vespa or Lambretta then why not put one in a chopper frame?

As it happens I’d been discussing choppers with David Briggs whose done a few rather smashing auto conversions which we’ve featured in PETROL in the past. At the time the idea of an auto chopper seemed very appealing and something different, then came along this bad ass lowrider from Weymouth…

Roy Makepeace of Lowriders SC in Weymouth, Dorset is the builder of this mighty fine auto chopper called ‘Low Life’, not that means he’s a low life of course! Roy is no newcomer to magazine features by all accounts and indeed choppers having previously built some rather smart motorcycle choppers and trikes. With more of a biking background, Roy is a relative newcomer to the scooter scene but the signs are he’s hooked.

Aptly named Low Life (that’s the Lowriders connection) took just four months to build. Roy’s previous experience enabled him to work quickly, he designed and fabricated the frame himself and his mate ‘Jon Jon’ took care of the welding. With this being his second auto chopper Roy knew what worked well and what didn’t. So the radiator for instance can be found mounted to the frame in the usual location and the engine is mounted using the same method as his previous conversions too. The engine is pretty much a standard affair being a 125cc Piaggio lump. The point of keeping it standard is that it runs fine so why change it? After all, this machine is built for cruising not thrashing up the drag strip. The only visible engine mod on the exterior is the addition of an open air filter with the carb jetted to suit.

The seat height, as you might have gathered, is particularly low and the forks are particularly long. They’re actually two-in-one comprising of Suzuki and Maico 440 motorcross forks, yoke off a Suzuki GS 550. The forks are very strong apparently, this Ron informs us is because of the length. Offset at such and angle they’d have to be strong. Along with the huge wheelbase and the lack of rear suspension, how does Roy’s chopper handle on the road? Well by the sounds of it, he’s done a fair few miles and he doesn’t look like the type of rider who’s bothered about comfort, hard as nails!

The black understated look (powder coated by Blastech in Dorset) suits the bike perfectly by my reckoning, with the Harley Davidson Sportster fuel tank and the one off seat made by Saxon ( in Christchurch, Dorset. Personally I love the sleak, extremely low style of this bike. It’s a breath of fresh air to see an auto chopper and this crossover with motorcycles can only be a good thing.

Words: Paul Robinson
Photos: Becky Randall
Model: Vanessa Upton

This article was originally published in the print version of PETROL ISSUE.08