Road Test: Sunset Tripper by Burbank Customs


Nineteen seventy-two was the year Road Rider magazine decided to piss off its readers--dedicated touring motorcyclists all--by running a 12-page feature in their March issue on one of the first "production" choppers of that era. The Sunset Tripper was constructed by Triumph of Burbank, CA, from a brand-new Bonneville, and was  featured on the cover of that now defunct touring magazine. This is their story.

There are plenty of blogs that do a great job of recycling old magazine content, so we don't plan on taking ChopCult in that direction. However, we think today's chopper jockey will find this story interesting because the original writer's experience could have happened 38 years ago, or last weekend. Produced in the day when magazines were a hand-crafted affair and 68-page books like RR listed 21 souls on the masthead (including a "Camping Editor!), this was an in-depth look into the chopper phenomenon at the apex of it's social trajectory. It's a long read, but in the era of blogs, tweets, pokes and 2-second soundbites, we think it's worth the effort.



Ironically, one of our first feature bikes on Chop Cult was our friend Chris' Survivor, and original Triumph of Burbank chop.

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Commented on 2-22-2010 At 08:07 am

Thanks for something a little different

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 09:47 am

Nice long article! Too bad I cant sit still long enough to read it all!!!
1972... gee, I was 10 or 11 that year...

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 10:18 am

It is soooooooo cliche, but "if I had to explain, you wouldn't understand." there are alot of guys, then and now that just don't get it. I am not sure I actually get it, but I do feel it.

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 10:19 am

Oh yea, I know the guy who designed those things

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 11:04 am

You need to do the "Meet Von Dutch" article from that issue, too.

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 11:51 am

Ha! I was thinking the same thing Rich.

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 01:11 pm

great read! i love the old articles. i really wish i still had my trident chop....

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 03:00 pm

very cool! I'm building a 72 OIF Bonneville right now...although it's not going that direction. That sissy bar is quite the "Peace"...rimshot!

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 03:53 pm

damn that's a lot of reading.... For later I think.

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 08:12 pm

am i not seeing page 15?

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 08:38 pm

You are crazy Scott, it's been there the whole time.

(Ha, I missed it. It's in there now. Good catch!)

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 09:24 pm

sweet, thanks!

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 10:24 pm

good read. Reminds me of my conversations I have with my Dad (road rider kinda guy BMW bike) vs. me

Commented on 2-22-2010 At 10:27 pm

great read

Commented on 2-23-2010 At 03:49 am

Patti you smug bitch!

Commented on 2-23-2010 At 05:02 pm

great gave me the same feeling I get when I smell play-dough.....all warm with that great rush to the past!

Commented on 2-23-2010 At 08:26 pm

Great piece. I agree about not recycling old mag content, but the I gotta see the Von Dutch article!

Commented on 2-25-2010 At 11:49 am

wow that's a cool read

Commented on 2-25-2010 At 11:49 am

wow that's a cool read

Commented on 2-25-2010 At 06:44 pm

Great writing, if some of the terminology (slang) were different, it could have been read as a recent article.

Commented on 2-25-2010 At 09:13 pm

fuckna! this guy got all that just from riding one...if only people knew what it felt like to build one then ride it...i think it would change things...great read...i'm reading it while i'm nursing my shitty back trying to get it ready to ride my rigid ass sporty over to bike week in 7 days...i need the moons to come together

Commented on 2-26-2010 At 05:19 pm

I have the Triumph choppers guide book that has the shop in it ,they were also makeing cafe racers too!

Commented on 2-26-2010 At 08:06 pm

makes me want to search for old rags

Commented on 3-1-2010 At 05:32 pm

A little lengthy, but an amazing read...
Keep 'em coming!

Commented on 3-2-2010 At 08:54 pm

It's cool see old articles about my dad's bike shop. He said they built almost 1500 production bikes. Now a days Dad is retired and enjoying building stuff in the garage. He sometime comes out and checks out my business, Low and Mean. If anyone comes across a Sunset Tripper for sale please contact me as I have been looking for one of these bike for awhile.

Chris Hagest

Commented on 3-8-2010 At 08:55 pm

Interesting the bike looks really cool as photographed in the bike only pics, but riding pictures either don't do the bike justice or ?? It looks like a bolted on kit in those pictures. I really can't rectify the difference. I'd like to see it in real life.

Reminds you how little things have really changed after all those years.

~Rev Mike

Commented on 3-10-2010 At 06:41 am

Read through this killin time at work, cool read, the feeling of being alienated amongst groups with a pretty similar passion was interesting.

Commented on 5-21-2010 At 11:25 pm

If anyone is interested, we re-created the original 1970 Sunset Tripper shirt from Burbank choppers. Same art work and design from the 70's. Back then it was iron on, today we screen print. Shirts will sell for $17 on a limited production run. Check out next week and we will have them up on our website. Email us at if your interested.

Chris Hagest
CEO of Low and Mean
Son of Ron Hagest

Commented on 5-24-2010 At 11:34 pm

Tee is up on the website, let me know what your think and check out the video.

Commented on 6-5-2010 At 01:12 pm

You know I got sumthin from this read. I started riding a Ninja 600 when I was 16 and watched my town blowup with sportbikes. I continued to ride various sportbikes long after all had givin up on the "trendy sportbikes" which were for me a way around local law enforcement as I had been tagged a troublemaker cuz my Hot Rod cars were fast enuff to get me in trouble and not fast enuff to get away. Anyways 6 months ago I finally decided to get rid of my trusty GSXR 1000 and keep only my street bob. Now the people who once waved dont and various different people do. Wierd..... I unlike many who have transitioned or grown up didnt change not one article of clothing in my closet. Hmmm interesting I also have a zen like feeling just puttin around when before I wasnt happy until 140MPH.. Good read I liked it...

Commented on 1-10-2014 At 11:04 am

Chris Hagest

Son of Ron Hagest

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