Arguably one of the most influential men in American motorcycle culture, California’s Thomas Bojete never knew that the radical modifications he made to his 1906 Merkel single would lay the foundation for a revolution in motorcycle design over half a century later. It was in the fall of 1910 that Tom took his 4 year old Merkel and added over 3 feet of extra metal to the fork legs. The new longer fork captured the look that Tom was looking for, but reports from the time claim that the machine sat at such a steep angle that Tom simply slid off of the saddle. To correct the issue Tom lengthened the entire front half of the frame, added additional bracing, and fabricated a new foot rest assembly. To further set himself apart from the stock crowd Tom finished his new creation off with his own tank emblem, a privateer in his own right the old Jolly Roger seemed to fit his new machine perfectly, and the Bojete Chopper was born.

Tom was an immediate sensation as he piloted his creation about town. He had anticipated the attention from his peers, it was a large part of his initial motivation to create such a radical machine, but what he never anticipated was the effect it would have on the young women. In an age when polite women were to act modestly and keep most all of their skin covered by the days full length dresses, the sight of Tom cruising up and down the boulevard stirred them into a such a frenzy that a few of the more brazen ladies began to flash Tom their ankles as he sputtered by. With all of the new found attention Tom then began to fall into the entrapments of popularity, constant conflicts with the wild women that were dumping out their ankles, an increasing problem consuming Pabst Blue Ribbon in great excess, snorting Coca-Cola that he dried out in the sun, and succumbing to the refer madness flooding into America from Mexico.

Unfortunately, very little information exists after those initial reports of Tom Bojete and his 1906 Merkel chopper, but those that know the legend of the Bojete Chopper say that Tom settled down with a older lady and the two headed out onto the open roads of America. Others say that Tom and his close friend William loaded some of his powdered Coca-Cola into their fuel tanks and headed east, in search of freedom and the American dream. Never the less, 50 years later, after Tom was long forgotten this, the only photograph ever snapped of the man and his creation was discovered and a new generation began to create their own “choppers” inspired by the radical lines that Tom had created at the turn of the 20th century.


Happy April Fools everyone, the chopper image is just a lovely photoshop job that has been going around the internet for quite a while, I would love to know who originally made it. The original photograph that it was made with comes from the Library of Congress and was part of the Chicago Daily News collection of 1906.