Last winter, there was a big shock as Europe’s most famous custom bicycle shop closed its doors after 15 years of dedication to the custom bicycle movement. A one-of-a-kind shop, a temple and hot spot is sadly now history.

THE CHOPPERDOME was founded in 2001 by Rhalf and Kitty van Heusden out of passion for California-style cruiser bicycles. After bringing over a bicycle from the US they discovered that it was almost impossible to obtain parts for these kind of bikes. Therefore they decided to start importing and selling bicycles and parts themselves. It was the start of an exciting adventure and the first bicycle shop fully dedicated to custom bicycles became a fact.

THE CHOPPERDOME was more than a shop, their anniversary was a yearly event where people from all over the world came together to celebrate their love for custom bicycles and to ride together in the city of Amsterdam. During this event a number of activities took place such as an alley cat race, cruise wars with water guns, long distance rides through beautiful Dutch landscapes and the shop hosted the COTY, the cruiser of the year election.

In 2004, this competition was won by Bas Pruisscher, the winning bicycle in the category full customs was his own designed model which later became known as the ‘BASMAN’ .
Rhalf saw a lot of potential in this bike and decided to cooperate with Bas in order to bring it to market. The first series were produced in 2006 and till this day it is considered to be the ultimate custom design that combines looks and comfort. More unique parts were created and the bicycle brand PROJECT 346 was born, with reference to the house number of the shop, where a lot of brainstorming sessions took place and great ideas were born.

Since 2011, the shop was continued by three new owners: Bas, Michel and Marianne. In 2015 they made their dream come true by moving to a bigger Dome in an exciting, creative part of Amsterdam where they had space to display complete line ups. Leading brands in the shop were PROJECT 346, RUFF CYCLES and Electra Bicycles and Early Rider.

The team shares with us that the most wonderful thing about this business is to see people leaving the shop with a smile on their face. Whether they bought their first bicycle or a small part that was the one item missing in order to make their ride complete. The products are fun and automatically the people buying them are fun as well.

At a certain point, the small team realised that it was impossible to focus on both the continuation and growth of the home brand PROJECT 346 and the shop THE CHOPPERDOME together. Therefore the decision was made to split off the PROJECT 346 brand with the wish to find a new owner that shares the same passion and love for the products and the custom bike movement, that will keep the identity of PROJECT 346 alive and does not simply tear apart the brand and the products.

The perfect partner was quickly found with RUFF CYCLES: With their own production, the worldwide distribution as well as their contacts to the custom bicycle scene, RUFF CYCLES offers strong arguments to further grow PROJECT 346 and to continue providing the fanbase with PROJECT 346 designs.

As business at THE CHOPPERDOME slowed down over the years and internet provided more ways to purchase through all sort of channels, the physical shop was no longer the center of the custom bicycle community. The team tried to continue but it was too complicated to find a good way out. Therefore after many great years the shop has closed its doors entirely.

THE CHOPPERDOME is gone, but the memories remain forever! Keep on cruisin’!

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