Chopper Dave and his 1953 Panhead build for Born-Free 8 - Photos by Lauren Beitel
Posted: Jun 13 2016
He has been called an enthusiast, an artist, a biker, a builder and an innovator among other things, but what it comes down to is David “ChopperDave” Freston is a motorcycle builder and fabricator that is passionate about motorcycles and it shows in the skillful craftsmanship he is known for. Building and designing while combining beauty, function and solid engineering are what he does best.
Dave’s love for motorcycles began early in life while growing up Studio City, California. He was exposed to them before he was old enough to have a driver’s license, since both his mom and dad owned motorcycles in the early 80s. Dave began working full time in the motorcycle industry in 1989 at Vic’s Custom Cycles in the San Fernando Valley. Vic’s is where he came back to after taking a break to attend MMI Arizona to further his knowledge of bikes. His infatuation with vintage motorcycles really started at t his time as he did alot of restoration work. In 1997, he started one of first websites dedicated to old school choppers and bobbers, something not easily available online at that time. In 2001, Dave went to work at West Coast Choppers and in the four years he spent there he honed his skills as a chopper builder and machinist to the highest level.
While working at WCC he began making sand cast chopper parts. Having acquired a great respect for Randy Smith, one of the first manufacturers of custom cast chopper parts, he wanted to carry on his legacy. In 2005, Dave decided to make the leap and start his own company, Chopperdave’s Casting Company based in Long Beach, Ca. He focused on cast motorcycle parts (both sand cast and investment cast) and accessories while expanding by building motors and transmissions, as well as custom fabrication and machine shop work.
His bike builds over the years are plenty and include a bike considered one of the most iconic choppers of the era, a panhead well known as “the Superfreak.” For photos of Dave’s builds, please see the Cycles page. His builds have been in shows such as Mooneyes Yokohama, Bornfree, the S&S 50th anniversary build-off, the Brooklyn Invitational, The Horse magazine 2006 Smokeout build-off and Cool Breaker Japan. They have taken awards at the Grand National roadster show, Ventura Nationals, and Bornfree among many others. Chopperdave is also a photographer and writer with over 100 published editorials/features in The Horse, Dice, Hardcore Chopper Japan, Chopper Journal Japan, Hot Bike, Street Chopper, Baggers and many other magazines.
Dave has learned to embrace his obsession with detail that only a true craftsman can understand. This is never more apparent than when he is immersed in whatever his current build might be as he meticulously builds every part he can by hand. Regardless of the attention he has received in the past, Dave will be the first to tell you that he is humbled by it and feels fortunate to be able to do what he loves on a daily basis and be a part of what the chopper scene has become.
Dave is currently focusing on an overhaul of Chopperdave’s Casting Company and launching the new Chopperdaves.com website. He is moving from being a one-man operation to taking on help so not only will the experience for customers improve but it will keep all levels running much more efficiently than in the past. He will be traveling to Japan in November for the Mooneyes show to exhibit his latest build, “The Steel Shoe.” He is in the beginning stages of deciding on his next build, as well. Watch for Chopperdave related articles in print and stay updated via the News page and his Blog.
Today he lives in San Pedro, California with his wife Paola and their children.