What Should The Ground Clearance Be For A Chopper or Bobber?

This chopper ground clearance question came in from one of our subscribers:

I was wondering about your "BYOB" DVD's. I'm in the first stages of building a Triumph chopper. I have a 1963 650 basket case and just picked up a rolling chassis, so I have the basics to start with.

One question I have is, what is a good ground clearance? I talked with some guys I know that build and they are saying I should have 6 inch from ground to bottom tube. Right now it is at 3 inchs.

I want to use the old Triumph rear wheel, which will raise the clearance from the Honda wheel that the roller came with because the sprocket is on the correct side but the drum brake isn't. I am not too keen on having the shifting and braking on the same side.

The roller also came with a wide springer. It's an aftermarket and it is a Paugho and 4 inches over. I want to use a narrow springer and thinking if I go with 6 to 8 over, it will get me some more ground clearance.

With that all said, my question is, I plan to buy your DVD but I 'm sure it is for Harley's (not a bad thing since I have that brand also), but can I use it for the Triumph also? Thanks for any information, Cheers, Ralph Edwards Owner and chief bottle washer of SE Custom PowderCoating here in Savage Minnesota.


Hello Ralph, Personally I wouldn't go any lower than 4 inches. Even though the lower the bike is the better it looks, you will start to run into clearance issues when cornering and grinding your frame over speed bumps.

Our videos are geared specifically to Harley style Motorcycles. If you are building a bike, our BYOB Video will be a good resource. Thanks and I hope this helps, Michael Durham.

Is 2.5 Inches Of Ground Clearance Too Low?

A good rule of thumb I go by is to never go less than 4.5 inches. 6 inches is on the higher end, and it still looks really good, and it's safer.

This image shows you how one of our Sportster Hardtail Frame designs has 5 inches of clearance from the frame bottom rails to the ground, and it has a thirty degree rake. This frame can be used for a chopper or a bobber build...

Clearance is an important factor when it comes to the handling of your motorcycle. Choppers have always had a low ground clearance.

A lot of factors come into play when you look at how low your frame is to the ground, like what your fork rake is, the tire size, is your chopper or bobber narrow or wide, etc. But generally speaking choppers have a low clearance of 2.5 inches, and as high as 5 inches.

If you really want to get low, make sure you build your bike narrow.

2.5 inches is very dangerous. Especially if your bike is wide. When you corner you'll be scraping your rails and grinding your frame on bumps. And if you do this going fast you could end up in the Hospital or worse. But some guys just want the really low look and feel so they go with it.

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