Review Of Chopper Assembly Videos By Kickstand Productions

Do you want to get chopper assembly details from the real experts and learn exactly how to build a custom chopper from the ground up, avoiding the many pitfalls that plague so many build projects?If so, you DON'T want to get Mike Mathews Custom Bike Building Videos (Custom Bike Building Secrets). Overall, we were very dissappointed in the videos. They may be worth it if you are interested in building a kit bike (but then again, many kit bikes come with video instruction), and you have tons of time on your hands (more on this in a moment). So what you should get instead are the metal working and custom bike building videos by Covel Creative Metal Working. You will learn more from Ron Covell in 10 minutes than you will, in two or three hours with these videos. 

Mike Mathews Custom Bike Building Videos (a Kickstand Productions presentation of "Bike Builder's Boot Camp") is a recording of a live seminar where various builders chip in to build a chopper. These chopper assembly videos were recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada.This set of chopper assembly videos/DVD's, twelve in total, show actual, real-time video of a Bike Build Boot Camp that participants pay lots of money and spend lots of time traveling to attend. One great point of having this conference on DVD is that you don't get to see details of chopper assembly just once; you can review specific details as you need them during any motorcycle building job you may tackle. But their production is weak and quite borig at best (again, get Covel Creative Metal Working chopper assembly videos instead).The Phantom Choppers' team, Jay Shearer and Shane Fraiser, host the Bike Build Boot Camp shown in these chopper assembly videos. There is some good advice and tips, but you have to wait for it...a long time. 

These guys are obviously experienced at chopper assembly. For example, buying oil lines with fittings leaves no room for flexibility in routing these lines. By purchasing six foot rolls and chrome slip-on fittings, you can route your lines the way you want without any difficulty whatsoever. This saves money in the end because you won't end up with lots of chrome-mesh lines that can't be used and they won't route the way you want. 

The chopper assembly videos take you through the process of mock-up and why this process is so crucial to ensure you have a professional looking outcome. By working through the process of checking the fit of each and every part and having each bare part put in place, (adjusted and drilled when necessary), and carefully planned, the task of the final build (when Lock Tite and Teflon tape will be applied, making the installations permanent), will take only a few hours. This way you'll you know the exact order, the routing of lines and wires, and everything that you need to make life easy!

The tips and details in this set of chopper assembly DVDs is so spread out you will want to take notes on what is on each DVD so that you can return to exact spots and locate the information again and again. Here's an example of why: the first DVD spends a lot of time chatting with participants about why they chose to attend the Boot Camp, and you may or may not find this interesting. But also on this first chopper assembly video, near the end, are important tips about setting up your project and the tools you'll need, as well as chassis preparation. 

God truly is in the details, is a statement that is attributed to Le Corbusier or Mies van der Rohe. In bike building, I'm not sure if it is God in the details or the devil in the details, but if you get the little details wrong, you can spend a lot of time and money going back and reworking things. Depending on exactly where the little detail you got wrong may be the amount of time and money you spend fixing the problem may be huge. By focusing on details like double checking your belt fit and making a fender look better, (by tightening the mounting bolts in a different order) you can make a motorcycle project perfect.

Techniques like blue-taping off any exposed chrome on any part you have to set down is another great tip on how professional builders keep parts pristine while working to build a chopper. The last thing you want is a scratch on a costly part. 

Another point I found about this set of chopper assembly videos that were less than optimal include the fact that the audio settings for the microphones used by Jay and Shane were adjusted differently, causing Shane to sound much louder than Jay on Day One and Two, however on Day Three this problem was resolved. Shane talks very little, and it is a small thing to adjust the volume if it bothers you. Another point that would improve the set would be an outline, indicating what is shown on each DVD, however, it is not difficult to create this for yourself as you watch for the first time.

As you sit down to begin viewing your DVDs, which last for over 20 hours, you'll want to have a pen and paper. As you watch each DVD, note the facts presented and even some places that specific tips are provided, so you can return to this DVD for a refresher as you perform the actual process during your own build. 

Because tips are presented during other processes and you'll need to be able to return to the exact spot you need as you refer to the information in the future. 

There's something about watching a real expert explain their reasons behind doing things a certain way that makes you realize that you CAN do this the same way and can do it just as easily. That is one of the main advantages of having these Covell chopper assembly videos and not these.

Another point that is brought out in the videos (that is usually learned by builders the hard way) is to drill parts that will be painted one size larger than the bolt that will finally go through that hole. This is because paint takes up space and you don't want to have to take a grinding tool to your newly painted, pristine parts. 

It is rather fascinating to watch the fact that even the professionals get shorted bolts in the parts packages. They forget to stop and buy 3-M blue painter's tape for tape offs. These people are human, just like the rest of us who ride and want to build a custom chop. This isn't a showy, sales oriented video set in any way. It is real people doing real chopper assembly and showing you how to do it yourself just like they do. It isn't flashy, but it is shot so that you see the points that are important. But the point is to create a flashy custom motorcycle, not a flashy video.

I don't care what book you read, how many pictures you view of someone doing a custom build, it will not give you the information that watching someone walk you step-by-step through the process from the very start to the very end of creating your custom vision. When there are areas that can be done different ways, several options will be discussed because in many areas there is no right or wrong way to accomplish some tasks.

The area on wiring your motorcycle takes up a lot of time. Wiring, if not done correctly the first time is guaranteed to plague you forever. By following the step-by-step instructions, using the tips for ensuring you know which wire is which, will allow you to do it once and have a working electrical system instead of a botched up bunch of splices, never knowing what wire goes where.

Jay and Shane apply the KISS Principle to everything about building motorcycles. KISS, as you probably know, means Keep It Simple, Stupid. We often tend to make more of a task than is required, causing us to create extra work for ourselves and a great deal more aggravation.

Sure, these guys sell kit bikes and sell completely built customs themselves. So, you can see that the fact that they are willing to give you the details and tricks of the trade is significant. Whether you choose to buy a rolling chassis, full bike kit, a basket case or just want to strip your bike down and bring it back to life as a customized job, you'll delight in the information you'll learn.


Included in this set of chopper assembly videos are an additional three DVDs which provide the Master Bike Builder's Tool Kit and another DVD that explains how to set up and install S&S carbs for maximum performance. There is also a printed reference of torque specifications.

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