California-based Big Bear Choppers originally built its Athena chopper in 2006 as an entry for the Discovery Channel’s show ""Biker Build Off."" The chopper won the contest, and Kevin Alsop, the company’s owner and designer, then added it to the production line, noting that his idea all along had been to create a ""more aggressively designed chopper"" for the lineup. The 2009 Athena Chopper and its sibling, the Athena ProStreet, were design carryovers. Bikes on the production line were ordered by customers who chose the options they wanted, and the bike was hand-built to those specifications. The small company did not survive the recession unscathed; now under new ownership, it no longer sells assembled bikes.
The Athena Chopper and ProStreet came with the company’s proprietary 1,638.7cc, air-cooled, V-twin four-stroke engine made by S & S, but buyers had the option of having it built with either the S &S 100 Smooth EFI Evolution engine or the EFI X-Wedge engine. Depending on which engine is used, it has either EFI induction or an S & S Super E carburetor, along with an OHV-pushrod valve configuration. Either engine is paired with a Baker Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission, which was installed on the right side for improved balance.
Weighing in at 700 pounds dry, these nine-a-half-foot-long machines have telescoping front forks with 4.8 inches of travel and a Progressive twin-sided swing arm rear suspension. Disc brakes—with Performance Machine four-piston calipers—in front and back provide stopping power. They ride on Avon tires, with a wide 300mm on the rear.
With a 40-degree rake and a six-inch backbone stretch, the Athena—both the Chopper and the ProStreet—definitely has the aggressive style its designer wanted, though the ProStreet is supposed to offer an easier-going, more comfortable and manageable ride. The seat is set deep into the chassis at a low 20 inches. The springer is detailed with what Alsop called ""hot rod holes"" that lead into the beach-cruiser-style handlebars.
Both models came in the same color options: black cherry, candy-red metallic, charcoal metallic, electric blue, firecracker red, gloss red, orange pearl, satin or gloss black, and silver metallic. A buyer ordered the color and graphic package of his choice. (Buyers always had the option of ordering unpainted parts and building their own bikes, which is the only way you can acquire a new Big Bear Chopper machine now.) And of course the Athena comes with lots of chrome too.