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2009 Big Bear Choppers GTX-F Quick Ride

Thursday, July 16, 2009
The GTX-F features cleanly integrated fiberglass bags and a regal-looking frame-mounted front fairing.
Big Bear Choppers' GTX-F is like no other factory-custom bagger out there.
Big Bear Choppers’ Kevin Alsop marches to his own beat. I learned this quickly after the smoke cleared from the half-block long rolling burnout Alsop did on his ratted-out personal Big Bear Chopper during our first ride together. Here I am worrying about riding the $40,000 GTX-F cautiously as I pull onto Fox Farm Road when the sound of pistons screamin’ and black rubber shredding penetrates the air, the braided tail of Alsop’s hair whipping behind him as he cuts loose the nasty burnout.

So leave it to someone like Alsop to fuse ‘factory custom’ and ‘touring motorcycle’ into one and the same. With the premise to “build a bagger that is different in form and function from any other production bike,” Alsop and the Big Bear Choppers crew created the GTX-F, a stretched-out, ground-skirting custom bagger that sources the EPA-friendly S&S X-Wedge engine and has a patented layout for its passenger placement.

The GTX-F is the type of bike you can’t take your eyes off. Tall and regal in front, with 85 inches of stretch between the two wheels, and wide in back, with its chrome X-Wedge Twin tucked in tightly between the front end’s shrouded downtubes and the sharp angles of its BBC tank. The 21-inch tall front hoop sits out at a 42-degree angle but you can’t tell because you only see a short section of the proprietary BBC fork, thanks in part to the short space between the frame-mounted fairing and the front fender and the motorcycle’s dropped neck height. The lines of the wide front fairing are unique. Instead of running horizontally, they aim vertically at almost the same 42-degree angle as the front fork. The front windscreen is set at the same angle, and even the tank mirrors these lines before it bends back and disappears beneath the rider.

The bags on the GTX-F are long  deep  and narrow. Alsop chose to make them out of fiberglass because of its ability to patched up easily.
The bags on the GTX-F are long, deep, and narrow. Alsop chose to make them out of fiberglass because of its ability to be patched up easily.
The fact that the rear tire sits so far behind the rider could have made the bike appear asymmetrical, but long, sculpted fiberglass bags conceal the 12-inch middle stretch and help maintain the motorcycle’s front-to-back balance. Assisting the illusion is a 300mm rear draped in a tire-hugging 12 gauge steel fender. The inclusion of a two-up leather/vinyl seat also visually takes up some of the space created by the framerails that have been stretched 12 inches from behind the tranny to the swingarm pivot. Alsop filled the space under the seat with an auxiliary fuel tank and a five-plus quart capacity oil tank. The rear end also conceals a chrome pair of oil-damped Progressive Suspension shocks. In Big Bear Choppers quest to build ‘a bagger that is different in form,’ consider it mission accomplished. The GTX-F is unlike any other bagger I’ve seen.

Heading out for a spin around Big Bear Lake, the riding position is upright and my back is almost perpendicular to the ground with legs stretching forward to reach the small floorboards. The mini-floorboards can be dialed in to a rider’s preference, adjustable forward and back and capable of being tilted fore and aft. My arms are positioned slightly down with a relaxed reach to the bars that sit just below chest high. At 25.5-inches, the seat height makes for an easy reach to the ground when stopped and places me low enough behind the windscreen so that most wind blast is diverted overhead. The GTX-F has been designed to place the majority of the weight in the center of the chassis, and my initial impressions confirm that the motorcycle is well-balanced.

The motorcycle we rode had a 114 cubic inch S S X-Wedge engine with polished case and chrome covers.
The motorcycle we rode had a 114 cubic inch S&S X-Wedge engine with polished case and chrome covers.
Kicking the Baker 6-speed transmission down into first, I am greeted by gearing that engages much quieter than the last factory-custom motorcycle I rode. Since both bikes source the same transmission, I was curious as to why the Big Bear Chopper shifted more easily. The answer lies in BBC’s proprietary primary drive. Not only do the forged aluminum inner and outer cases look sharp, but its main shaft features a triple seal design, internally it uses an easy-to-replace standard type clutch basket and a compensating sprocket keeps the power transfer smooth. The Right Side Drive Baker also allows BBC to use a 300mm Avon Venom on the back without having to offset the engine and transmission.

Running through the gears is a pleasurable experience. Shifts are reliable and deliberate and the Baker 6 never missed a beat. Muscling the 850-lb bike around Big Bear Lake’s tighter corners was more a labor of love. Add up the dimensions – 42-degree rake, 111 inches of length, and a 300mm wide back tire – and you’re not going to be dragging any knee pucks. At speed, the bike doesn’t toss side to side as much as it feels like it rolls on a pivot point. But I’ll give the GTX-F credit, there’s no front-end flop and you can reach impressive amounts of lean without scraping any hard parts. Alsop rides like the ‘King of the Mountain,’ and trying to keep him in sight gave me plenty of opportunities to test the bike leaned over.

Despite sporting an 85 in. wheelbase and a 300mm rear tire  the GTX-F is well-balanced and provides plenty of lean angle.
Despite sporting an 85-inch wheelbase and a 300mm rear tire, the GTX-F is well-balanced and provides plenty of lean angle.
Rolling through the gears, the GTX-F performs best in the middle of the rev range. There’s not as much drive out of the lower range as I would have expected from a bike with a claimed 113 lb-ft of torque, but the 114 cubic inch SMOOTH X-Wedge engine does live up to its billing. It functions smoothly without a bunch of vibes and power delivery is linear. The 56-degree pushrod V-Twin’s efficient three belt-driven cams are set so that the pushrod angles to all valves are nearly straight. The 4.125-inch cylinder heads pump up and down the 4.25-inch stroke with car-like, low-mass rocker arms and the crossflow head is outfitted with direct injectors controlled by an S&S closed loop electronic fuel injection system. Best of all, the X-Wedge meets the ever-tightening 2010 EPA emission standards, and though it is built by S&S, the engine meets the specs established by BBC’s Alsop.

The GTX-F’s suspension package makes for above-average ride quality when compared to other factory-custom bikes I have sampled. BBC’s beefy front fork keeps the 21-inch chrome wheel planted while the dual rear shocks provide a comfortable ride on the rear. Give an assist to Alsop’s patented design that distributes more of the rider’s weight forward of the rear tire, taking a little pressure off the rear shocks. When it comes time to bring momentum to a stop, the front brake lever requires a hard squeeze but the dual discs on the front with Performance Machine 4-piston calipers work well. The rear pedal only has a single disc outfitted with a PM 4-piston caliper that isn’t as reliable as the double disc setup on the front.

The cockpit of the GTX-F I rode had a small, round speedo. The digital dash does include a low fuel light, trip meter, turn signal, high beam indicator, oil pressure, and neutral light. But if I were going to buy one, I’d throw down an extra three grand for the optional electronic package which includes a 6-inch, touch screen LCD Kenwood display equipped with GPS, CD, DVD, AM/FM, satellite radio and is iPod ready. I’m sure my neighbors would appreciate its six speaker system with 300 watts of power. Big Bear Choppers gives buyers more choices with the GTX-F, too, like choosing from ten forged aluminum wheels and one of ten base paint schemes, to a slew of custom paint options from the House of Color.
The King of the Mountain  Big Bear Choppers Kevin Alsop  on his personal scoot. Dont let looks fool you - that ratted-out chopper can haul a# .
The King of the Mountain, Big Bear Choppers' Kevin Alsop, on his personal scoot. Don't let looks fool you - that ratted-out chopper can haul a#$.

I give BBC props for keeping things in-house, too. I don’t know of any other factory-custom motorcycle manufacturer that makes more of its own parts. It’s all about quality control. If somebody else’s product doesn’t work properly, who’s it going to reflect on? Alsop subscribes to the old adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” So the GTX-F has a BBC proprietary frame, tank, fenders, bars, front-end, primary drive, foot and hand controls, oil tank cover and more. Hell, even the flush-mount pop-up gas cap is made by Big Bear Choppers. No outsourcing here.

As a touring mount, it needs a little more cush for the tush. The leather seat doesn’t provide much padding for a touring bike. And the bags are thin, deep, and narrow and serve more toward the ‘bagger’ look than providing functional storage space. But, oh, what a look it has.

Stretched-out and low-riding  BBCs custom bagger sources the EPA-friendly X-Wedge engine and has a patented layout for its passenger placement.
Stretched-out and low-riding, BBC's custom bagger sources the EPA-friendly X-Wedge engine and has a patented layout for its passenger placement.
So on how many fronts did Big Bear Choppers hit when it set out to ‘build a bagger that is different in form and function?” We’ve already conceded that BBC was successful in hitting its ‘form’ mark. From its composite front fairing to its edgy tank to the unique bags, the styling of the GTX-F will stop you in your tracks. Utilizing an eco-friendly S&S engine is another savvy move. And moving the rider’s triangle forward in an effort to centralize mass is creative, to say the least. As far as function goes, the ride-quality is admirable, it’s well-balanced, especially considering its length, and the motorcycle is capable of lean angles that I’ve never experienced on a factory-custom before without dragging hard parts. The GTX-F has all the right pieces to the puzzle, but range, storage, and seat comfort prohibit it from being a full touring machine. For short jaunts, however, or to be the center of attention at your local bike nights, the GTX-F fills the bill.
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Big Bear GTX-F Highs & Lows
  • Shifts smoothly
  • Goes long time without scraping parts
  • Unique design
  • EPA-friendly engine
  • Builds power slowly
  • Cruise-ship feel
  • Brakes are only adequate
  • It doesn’t tip into turns, but edges over slowly.
Big Bear Choppers GTX-F Specs
Big Bear Choppers GTX-F is like no other factory-custom bagger out there.
2009 Big Bear Choppers GTX-F
Engine: 56-degree air-cooled V-TwinBBC-S&S 114 Smooth EFI X-Wedge
Bore/Stroke: 4.125 in. X 4.25 in.
Horsepower: Claimed 97bhp (at the crank)
Torque: 113 ft-lb
Fuel System: S&S Closed-loop Electronic Fuel Injection
Ignition: S&S
Air Cleaner: S&S Tear Drop
Transmission: 6-speed overdrive transmission
Primary Drive: BBC Enclosed Wet Chain
Final Drive: Belt & Pulley
Seat Height: 25.5 in.
Swingarm: BBC GTX
Wheelbase: 85 in.
Overall Length: 111 in.
Weight: 850 lbs
Front Brake: Dual Disc with PM 4-piston calipers
Rear Brake: Single Disc with PM 4-piston caliper
Front Tire: 21 in X 130mm
Rear Tire: 18 in. X 300mm Avon Venom
Rake: 42 degrees total rake 36-degrees in the neck, 6-degrees in the trees 
Tank: 5.1 gal.
Middle Stretch: 12 in.
Stock Downtube length
Stock Backbone length

MSRP: $40,900

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Pissed Off Owner -POS  October 26, 2009 10:45 AM
Wonder if the front end will fall off those from garbage welds like the rest of BB's crap?
HDBreeze -oops!  September 20, 2009 05:38 PM
Sorry, but I typed Big Dog instead of Big Bear Choppers.
HDBreeze -Yuck!  September 20, 2009 05:35 PM
That is U-G-L-Y!! Big Dog employees must all wear special eye glasses that alter their view! On a positive note, I think that fairing set up might look great on a Boss Hoss.
russell -did not know  August 17, 2009 07:23 AM
that is the ugliest bike ever

tri hakni putra -like this and created new models  July 29, 2009 05:00 AM
wow this is the new style in chopper cool man hehhe
hogman -Ugly duckling that'll never be a swan  July 27, 2009 07:10 AM
That ranks close to a Victory Vision in being one of the ugliest motorcycles I've ever seen. That fairing is the worst!!!
Motoman -WTF?  July 23, 2009 12:33 PM
Four words. Ugly, overpriced, useless and embarrassing...
rr -poop  July 22, 2009 02:56 PM
another rolex ranger creation.....just what the bike world needed another blinged out POS that some overpaid boner can ride five miles to the bar on the weekend and claim to be a biker.......not to mention its way overpriced and fugly......only a sucker trying to keep up with the jones would buy it......300 rear tires dont corner well...i owned a chopper best thing i ever did was trade it for a
sololobo -A sign of the apocalypse?  July 21, 2009 04:28 PM
$41,000.00, for what? And they want $3000.00 more for a dvd player? Are you fricken kidding me? How much more for training wheels? Didn't I see the electric version of this at Target? I didn't know Hyosong was into making scooters now.... It looks like someone wrecked their old Honda Pacific Coast then tried to make a custom out of what was left.... Even Chris Angel couldn't put lipstick on this pig! I've never seen anything like it before, it makes me feel all oookie inside, like a really bad car wreck. Bryan, I love ya man, but you sure your only getting paid by Motorcycle USA?
Dennis T -Seriously?  July 21, 2009 08:50 AM
Danny - did you seriously use the word SPORT tourer in connection with this monstrosity? You would be prepared to pay $25-30K for a heavy, slow, poor handling bike with bad brakes? There are astonishingly competent REAL "sport tourers" for HALF that - the Yamaha FJR1300, the Kawasaki Concours 1400, Honda ST1300, Honda VFR800, - I could go on, but the point is so clear it's embarrassing. Honestly dude - if you value a "really nice stereo" above such qualities as handling, speed, brakes, comfort and range then something is wrong! We can agree to disagree about the looks of this thing, but where on earth do you see $25-30K worth of VALUE in this thing? It's got fiberglass bags! A 300mm rear tire! This is low point for me regarding bike building, pricing and the "custom culture". How many suckers can there BE?
Chris -ugly one  July 19, 2009 07:09 AM
africa twin in chopper style?
ChrisPoland -ugly one  July 19, 2009 07:07 AM
40,ooo?? its prittier http://www.zabytkowemotocykle.republika.pl/Nowy%20folder/wsk%20m06.jpg
milwaukee mike -Euro-ugly  July 18, 2009 12:07 PM
Yep,...I said EURO-UGLY.
Really thought KA could better.
Racer1 -Wow...  July 17, 2009 06:25 PM
Reading the review, it looks like Bryan actually was about as clear as he could be about the bike without being openly rude. You just have to read between the lines. The four "HIGH" points are truly damning with faint praise (I particularly like the original design" comment), The four "LOW" points essentially say that the bike is slow, doesn't stop and doesn't handle - the three things that define a bike.
Dennis T -You're kidding right?  July 17, 2009 05:28 PM
THIS is out of the box thinking? The only thing in your post that made sense Firefly was saying he's an economist - damn right, at $40K a pop he can sure crunch numbers! As for visionary... He threw an S&S out of the box motor that he didn't make, with a tranny that he also didn't make, into a frame with a dumb ass 300mm rear tire and bodywork that looks likes a throwback to 1980s shop class. It is impractical for its intended purpose - regarding luggage, comfort and range - and WE are the lemmings? LOL! Where is the "innovative, out of the box, forward thinking"? Are you referring to the ipod dock? Just making an appalling looking bike does not qualify! Please - this is a joke. The idea of even putting this in the same sentence as a GSXR is embarrassing - hey, they actually design and build their own engines at Suzuki you know... Geeez.
Fireflyer239 -Small Minds, Narrow Views  July 17, 2009 09:52 AM
Kevin took an hour out of his busy day last July to give me a full factory tour and answered the multitude of technical questions I threw at him. He is a visionary, a biker, an artist, an economist, and an engineer all rolled into one friendly, dynamic individual. I'm guessing he's having a good laugh at the predictable comments from the narrow minded lemmings in the audience. What an perfect world we'd live in if all bikers would just ride what's considered acceptable, ya' know - GSXR's Road Kings, etc. Then we'd all look nice and "normal", right? Who needs all this innovative, out-of-the-box forward thinking anyway?? Lol...go Kevin! Thanx Bryan!
benroe -lights  July 17, 2009 09:37 AM
The lights on the front end look unfinished and a bit crude for a bike in this price range. If they fix that it might become an asthetically pleasing motorcycle.
Dennis T -Follow up...  July 17, 2009 09:34 AM
I totally agree with your policy of testing all and any motorcycles available - the two wheeled tent is very large and it's good to be exposed to all varieties - dirt, trails, street, drag, racing, choppers, customs, whatever... My point was simply that when something is undisputedly overpriced, poorly designed, ugly as sin, has useless hard bags, crappy seat and range, then it behooves you to be realistic about where it stands in the general marketplace... If you think it's worth as much as an FJR1300 and Gold Wing combined (plus enough left over to go on some serious adventures) then fine... we all know it isn't though... in fact it's frankly horrible. It must be awkward to be invited to ride a bike, meet the owner of the company, have a beer, listen to his life story and bike building stories and then have to write a less than stellar review... but that's what journalism is, and that's what integrity is - and that's what the above article isn't...
Eric N. -Variety is the spice of life!  July 17, 2009 12:21 AM
Not my first choice for a bike but I do like the variety of what we get to see from you. Keep up the good work Bryan.
bryan harley -big and small, we ride 'em all  July 16, 2009 10:30 PM
Man, what a gorgeous ride. All right, maybe it's not the purtiest girl at the dance, but even the ugly ones deserve a little love.

Serious, though, I admit the paint doesn't do the bike justice. The one on the Big Bear Choppers showroom floor with custom paint might change opinions. Check it out on their site http://www.bigbearchoppers.com/bikes/gtx.htm if you'd like. And if its just plain fugly in your book, it is what it is.

We try to ride as many different bikes and bring you as much info about what's out there. If what we posted today isn't your cup of tea, check back next week, 'cause maybe we'll be riding the bike of your dreams. We don't discriminate - if we get an offer to come check out a bike, if we've got the time and resources, we'll review it. Just happens to be that lately we've gotten an oppurtunity to ride a variety of factory-customs recently.

I still give Kevin props. He's one of the first to utilize the innovative X-Wedge engine, he's not making the same ol' s&%t everybody else is, and moving the passenger forward in an attempt to improve handling and COG proves he's willing to take chances.

And Desmo - don't be jealous 'cause I'm secure enough in my manhood to wear a white jacket. My wife likes when I wear only it and my helmet and chase her around the house - now that's ugly!
Dennis T -Is it April 1st?  July 16, 2009 08:51 PM
$40,000? Seriously? You would have to PAY ME $40,000 to ride that ugly, S&S shod, POS. C'mon - this HAS to be a joke. It looks like the kind of fiberglass monstrosity a couple of 16 year olds might have thrown together in the early 80s. Let's get real here -- you could buy a Harley Road King AND a GSXR1000 and STILL have change for track days and road trips for the price of that joke. Enough is enough - stop pandering to every potential advertiser and TELL IT LIKE IT IS!
Randy -stupid bikes  July 16, 2009 08:36 PM
I clicked on and MCUSA and JEEEZ! another stupid custom! Who cares about these stupid custom POS. there's not enough out there to review we have to see these overpriced turds AARRRRGGGGG!!!!!!!!

take a lesson from kneeslider

Charlie -My eyes are still hurting!  July 16, 2009 07:27 PM
It looks like the offspring of an AMC Pacer and a Pontiac Aztec. Please delete the pictures before I get sick!
Gritboy -It's a AMC Pacer in disguise  July 16, 2009 06:54 PM
It's a AMC Pacer in disguise. Not that I don't appreciate the experimentation, but WOW, that's not exactly sexy. Presumably it works better than it looks.
wow -wow  July 16, 2009 06:52 PM
Ugliest bike I have ever seen.
kustomtattooz.com -WOW  July 16, 2009 06:52 PM
thats has to be one of the single ugliest bikes moving down the road!!! i dont care how much rubber it can lay. you cant run from ugly. BBC come on guys cant ya see what everyone else does? i know theres a ton of hours , trying to come up with the idea. but this one looks like to many chiefs not enough indians type of thinking. theres no ,one solid thought its just a big rolling mass of confusion. i think someone should make a shirt with a pic of this bike and it should say " Even chrome and wax doesnt mean it isnt a turd"
RiderVT -Chopper  July 16, 2009 06:42 PM
It's a damn sight better'n I could do.
RiderVT -Chopper  July 16, 2009 06:42 PM
It's a damn sight better'n I could do.
Desmolicious -All I want to know  July 16, 2009 02:53 PM
is when Brian returns that jacket to his ol lady!
chris -big bear ch  July 16, 2009 01:53 PM
What were they thinking?
Leslie D'Amico -WOW!!!  July 16, 2009 10:51 AM
I didn't think anyone could make a more weird looking bike than some of the bikes these so called custom builders offer but I was wrong!!!!
frank -I need to brush my teeth  July 16, 2009 10:42 AM
I think I just threw up a little in my mouth
Devil Machine -why?  July 16, 2009 10:22 AM
This looks like they took the worst things from BMW and Harley and made something even more awful with them.

I guess that ugly is the "new beautiful" in the motorcycle world these days.
Tim B -HAHA!  July 16, 2009 09:37 AM
That looks like a bad Harley rip off almost like something you'd see come from China. Nice dual headlights from a 1990 GSX-R 750 too. Oh and that ratty black chopper looks real comfortable...
Tessier -What comes out when a Victory Vision has diarrhea  July 16, 2009 09:19 AM
Let me start this with I am not a chopper/cruiser kind of guy but to me this things look's like what would come out of a bad spell of acute diarrhea at a Victory Vision plant.
theunderground -it's a overgrown scooter!  July 16, 2009 08:57 AM
nice try, but that's one big hack job.
Kam -Wow! I didn't believe...  July 16, 2009 02:10 AM
Wow! I didn't believe that anyone could make a bike SO UGLY!