Branch Engineering’s 1969 Harley-Davidson Trouble Shovel Chopper

A raw 1969 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead done up in copper

I’ve long been a fan of custom Harley-Davidson iron clad in copper, whether it’s just the wheels, a few parts sprinkled throughout the motorcycle, or the bodywork all done up in the stuff. When I saw this 1969 Shovelhead chopper built by Johnny Branch of Branch Engineering, you can imagine why I dug it.

Not everyone likes copper choppers as much as I do… What I think we can all agree on, though, is that hand-built motorcycle parts are just plain cool. Johnny built this chopper by hand, including its rigid frame, springer front end, sheet metal, and the front wheel. Working out of his Southern California shop, he turned raw metal into completed parts that are now all metal finished, either nickel- or copper-plated.

Bolt-on parts for stock Harley-Davidsons and Indians are the backbone of our industry in many ways. They always will be; not everyone has the skills it takes to do what Johnny's done with this Shovelhead. That’s all the more reason to like this bike. Well, that and the copper finishing. I could go on about how much I like this chopper but instead I’m going to let the infamous Michael Lichter’s killer photography do my job for me. I’m sure you’d much rather look at it and see for yourself.

Branch Copper Shovelhead Chopper

Johnny Branch didn’t go the flashy route on this Shovelhead, but with all the work he put into it, he didn’t need a loud paint job to be impressive.

Michael Lichter Photography

copper custom headlights

The copper gives the chop a cool antique look and those custom headlights are pretty cool too.

Michael Lichter Photography

S&S carburetor

1969 Shovelhead motor, meet S&S carb. Copper is represented here by the raised foot control and pushrod covers.

Michael Lichter Photography

open chain primary

No open belts or covers for this primary drive. Just an open chain all the way!

Michael Lichter Photography

top motor mount

Get close with the top motor mount and you can see how all the chopper’s metal finishes just look like they’ve seen their share of tough love on the road.

Michael Lichter Photography

finned oil tank

That finned oil tank is shaped perfectly to flow with the top frame rails.

Michael Lichter Photography

burnished copper fender

That burnished copper look is what separates the rear fender from that shiny fake diving helmet in your grandpa’s basement. Well, that and the fact this is a fender. Regardless, neither one is good to wear when deep-sea diving.

Michael Lichter Photography

Branch Copper Shovelhead Chopper

From either side, you get a really good feel for the mechanical elements of this chopper.

Michael Lichter Photography