Belly Up. American IronHorse Saga Continues.

You already know through this Blog that, pressured by its creditors, IronHorse Motorcycle filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It happened last Wednesday in the US Court of Texas.  The company listed more than 10 million in debts. CEO Hendrickson stated that “the move helps prospective buyers because all the legacy costs are gone, but you end up stiffing people. And I feel bad for the investors who lost money. A lot of it was lost on the hype of taking IronHorse Motorcycle public through a stock offering in 2005, 2006, but that fell through”. Charles Strand, owner of IronHorse of Texas, the Fort Worth dealership, and a one-time investor who had served on the company’s board, said three parties have indicated interest in acquiring AIH. William Blair and Co., a Chicago private-equity firm, Dallas investor Sam Caudle and Bill Rucker, the company’s founder, who was forced out and later established his own custom motorcycle business in Fort Worth, TX. Hendrickson tries to bring Blair, Caudle, Strand together to discuss acquisition and control. To follow…

37 Responses to “Belly Up. American IronHorse Saga Continues.”

  1. 1 Peter Jones Mar 29th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Depending of what your experience was with AIH, client, dealer or vendor, you wish they disappear or that they find buyers. Let’s see.

  2. 2 Terry McKenzie Mar 30th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Not good news for the industry and owners of their bikes. Funny the picture upside down.

  3. 3 Charle Hall Mar 30th, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Good visual illustration!

  4. 4 James Lewis Mar 30th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Even if they come back with new ownership it’s gonna be extremely difficult for them to rebuild a brand with such a tarnished image. Not looking good at all.

  5. 5 Kevin Lesher Mar 30th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    CEO states: “all the legacy costs are gone, but you end up stiffing people.” They listed 10 milions of debts?. They were auctioning 10 million worth of parts before the bankruptcy!. So, no money went to pay the vendors? Or the debt amounted to 20 milions before selling the parts in stock? It sounds XXXXXXX.

  6. 6 Mar 31st, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Seems like the industry is too small to stiff people. Who in their right mind would supply AIH parts and engines?

  7. 7 Rodent Mar 31st, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Remember Titian, Excelsior/Hederson,Indian? Dead is dead. AIH is dead, let ’em rest

  8. 8 John Mach Mar 31st, 2008 at 9:34 am

    I agree with Rodent. Somebody just trying to make money selling the AIH name. I don’t see any restart being possible. Too many vendors, dealers, clients burned,

  9. 9 Kiwi Mike Tomas Mar 31st, 2008 at 10:13 am

    It is a shame to see any motorcycle company go under as it does not make our industry look good. Going public just seems to be a fantasy for many and CA Indian was another wanting to do this. Companies should do well to focus primarly on their products.
    One has to feel sorry for the venders/suppliers and employees, they’re hard working folks like the rest of us who believe in our industry and $10m taken out of our industry is a big hit.

  10. 10 Willy Minca Mar 31st, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    R.I.P. A.I.H.

  11. 11 mike hanlon Mar 31st, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    i’m with mike @kiwi. at this time of challenge in the aftermarket and industry in general its the worse time to burn the the loyal and devoted suppliers. most are small businesses that are severly hurt. bigger bike companies owned by big wigs have no feeling for the little guy in times of trouble.

  12. 12 Biker Bob Apr 1st, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Remember the band Toto, how bout Boston, The Stones, The Beatles, or American Idol Taylor Hicks??? One was named after a famous dog, one a town, the next a bunch of rocks, some bugs and one a winner who is a loser.
    A name is just a name, it’s the people behind the name that make the name rise or fall. Well in the motorcycle industry it’s no different. You can’t tell me that vendors would shun American Ironhorse because of the name of the company, it’s the people behind the name they either trust or they don’t trust. You put men and women behind American Ironhorse that vendors, investors, Insurance companys as well as financial institutions know and trust, then you have a company again.
    The real test is will the buying public trust them again, the answer is no, they don’t know the major players in the game or even how it’s played. I have sold more motorcycles to people based on pure emotion than anything else, the way the bike looks, the paint the chrome the styling, the size of the rear tire, the way he or she is going to feel pulling up to their local biker hangout on their new ride. I have yet to sell anyone a bike based on who the companys CEO was or who was in charge of marketing or how bout my sales rep??
    I personally believe if any one could pull a rabbit out of the hat for AIH it would be Bill Rucker, but wether it was Bill or any one else I think I would change the name of the company and go with some new styling and price points. It’s proven time and time again you can’t resurect a dead company based on the name, it is the name that sticks in the craw of every buyer that got screwed, in this case CHANGE THE NAME, remember, with out end users, all you have is a NAME.

  13. 13 Jeff Apr 1st, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Yeah Biker Bob, the brand got branded as DOA… if resurrected (doubtful) change the name!

  14. 14 j Apr 1st, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Biker Bob,
    Bill Rucker was removed from IronHorse before and with good reason.
    He’s a hot head and paves his own road and then drives down it.

  15. 15 G Apr 2nd, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    J at least with Rucker at the Helm they had a direction (which was up) and were going in that direction. MY understanding is that the new leaders partied like rock stars and forgot that they had a job to do and people relying on them to do it. I feel for the employees that were left without a job. I hope they are able to bring some life back to this company and get some of the people back to work. I met a few of their employees and they care about the bikes they were manufacturing and also the people that ride them. I currently own a 05 Texas chopper and I will figure out how to keep it on the road. The bike is well built, the electonics are
    not quite what they should be but I can fix all of that.

    Good luck AIH

  16. 16 C Apr 2nd, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Easy enough to keep them on the road, all the vendors AIH used are out there. I have two AIH bikes and will keep them no matter what happens to the company!!! I wish them the best, I’d love too see them make it. Just dosen’t look to good anymore.

  17. 17 George Greenman Apr 2nd, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I have to say thanks for the blog on AIH bankrupcy. I read the blog and get it emailed from you and gotta say you’re great for the industry and the riders .Thanks on a job well done. As for AIH i own one and now, thanks to u, im on my own .

  18. 18 Mr. Franks Apr 3rd, 2008 at 9:47 am

    If anyone has any info on warranty for AIH(if it will still exist if another investor purchases the company) and if any aftermarket warranties are picking up immediately instead of waiting till the end of the 2 year manufacturer warranty, please advise. Or if anyone has a list of the manufacturers of the parts for AIH(transmission, ect)for future repairs, it would be appreciated. I would like to add that my AIH Outlaw is the best riding bike I have ever rode. I have owned a harley soft tail, Big Dog Mastiff, Victory Vegas, and a few sport bikes over the years and AIH has the most comfortable ride over all of them. I agree with Biker Bob that I didn’t know anything about the executives at AIH or even thought about it when I purchased my bike. I loved how my bike looked and rode. That was the reason I bought it. Unfortunately most consumers are not knowledgable about the internal workings of a specific manufacturer like a dealer would be.

  19. 19 C Apr 3rd, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Transmissions are made by Road-Max, engine is S&S obviously, AIH was supplied engine components and assembled them in house. Electonics such as the speedo were Thunder-Heart. A dealer here is doing an aftermarket warranty that begins from day of purchase.

  20. 20 Rick Apr 4th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Great intro shot of a company that’s been “upside down” for a long time Cyril. I also feel very sorry for all of their employees, dealers and vendors. Not a good sign of the times and the affect that this is having on our market. Way too many dealers are in deep shi* over this situation.

    As for the “bad” electronics on AIH bikes, Wire Plus has come up with a solution to correct their problems. More will be posted on this later. If you have a problem, you should call Marlon over at Wire Plus.

    “Good luck to all who were associated with AIH!”

  21. 21 burnout Apr 5th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Serviceguard Systems, Inc has terminated all ESC (extended service contracts) for AIH effective 3-28-08. No new contracts will be honored after 4-4. peace

  22. 22 mike Apr 14th, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Rick- Could you elaborate on the “bad” electronics. I recently started having the speedo get “stuck” after the bike gets warmed up for an hour or so. It will stick at like 40 or 50 mph and wont reset unless i turn the key so the bike is completely off. Any help or ideas with this would be greatly appreciated.

  23. 23 Rick B Apr 21st, 2008 at 8:53 pm


    I had the same problem with my Speedo. I contacted Thunder-Heart and they had me ship it to them. They fixed if for free, it is now working great. All I paid for was the shipping cost.

    Give them a call, they will give you a repair number.

  24. 24 Steve Rozell Apr 26th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    IronHorse is still one of the top factory customs! IronHorse is,and will be fine. I guess I will be more worried after they have there 3Rd bankruptcy like Harley did. Watch and see, Ironhorse just did not have the right people in place.

  25. 25 screwed & tattooed May 1st, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    i got screwed for about for about 40, 000 some of wich i might have to pay back to these cocksuckers…meanwhile the pr team is doing a hell of a job marketing how they are now stronger than ever as far as there finacials are is a list of people that got it worse than i did

    Daytec frames, Hesperia, Calif., $367,975.89
    R.C. Components, Bowling Green, Ky., $311,020.85
    Gladwin Paint Co., San Antonio, Texas, $150,665.91
    PIAA Corporation, Portland, Ore., $112,656.94
    IronHorse of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, $82,586.17
    S&S Cycle, Viola, Wis., $62,757.28

  26. 26 RIDNDIRTY May 9th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Im having problems with my 2002 AIH Tejas wiring my ignition module keeps burning out. Anyone have any ideas what it could be? Im having my total system rewired at this time. What is a good place to get the wiring?

  27. 27 mcc May 23rd, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I hate to say I own a few and work on these pieces of shit.The only thing worth saving is the frame, motor and rims.Thats about all I save on these.I have gutted over 30 aih bikes.Everything on these bikes are aftermarket and cheap shit.If you own 1 tear it down to bare bones and throw out everything that has or takes a wire.I also have a lawsuite against them.They have taken my bikes and others that I ride with,back to taxas to get worked on .Over and over again.Then it started to take longer to fix and they used them for their own personal use.Road test they said,my ass.They put on more miles than I did.I finally got pissed off enough where I flew to aih and scared the shit out of them.I called them a few days before and told them don’t aggravate me or im comming down.They thought I was kidding.I was in the lobby a couple days later.

  28. 28 07 slamer May 29th, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Love my bike hope all is well soon to many people love my bike for AIH to go belly up, cme on and get it together.

  29. 29 Rick B May 29th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I have a 2007 Slammer and it is a great bike, no problems. The only issue was the Speedo, I sent it to Thunderheart they repaired it and it has work fine since. Sorry to hear others have had problems, I hope they come back, but if not I will be keeping my bike which I have had now 1 1/2 years.

  30. 30 07 slamer May 30th, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Rick B the only problems I had with my o7 slammer trannie seal leak, all fixed front right caliperleaked I rebuilt myself, all set ever now and then a nut or bolt loosens up and i lock tight, I went through the whole bike, I get so many compliments what a SICK bike I love this bike It is very fast and quick, I have not yet lost a red light green light race yet, Enjoy your bike I do

  31. 31 CR May 30th, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    It is great news that Bill Rucker did not win the bid to purchase American Iron Horse. What made him think that he could run a multi-million dollar company? Ego? Rucker Performance is headed into a financial downward spiral. Employees at Rucker Performance have to run all over town to get their checks cashed, hoping that they will get their money so they can pay their bills. Meanwhile Mr. Rucker is on vacation catching some sun in Mexico. Most of his employees do not know that their medical insurance has been canceled, due to lack of payment. Wait until they start getting the doctor bills in the mail, I am sure Mr. Rucker will take care of them. I am not a lawyer but I bet that the Texas Work Force Commission would frown on this. Not to mention that it is illegal to write checks when you know that the funds are not in the bank. Why his employees do not leave I do not know.

  32. 32 Rick B May 30th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    O7 Slammer,

    I feel the same. I did change out the pipes and opened it up a little more. Runs like hell. I cannot go anywhere without getting stop, I have even had people pull up next to me in a car and take pictures.

    Now that Scott Meyers as won the bid he will bring this product back. The first thing he is doing is honoring all warrenties. He only plans to build 300 bikes the first year and 600 the second year. He is cutting his dealeship network to 20 also.

    Regardless of what happens with the company I will keep the bike. I can turn a wrench and don’t need anyone else to repair my Slammer. But my dealership in Jacksonville,Big Bikes, has continued to service my bike. The owner Keith has been outstanding to work with.

  33. 33 seriously May 31st, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    MCC – You never were in the lobby, lets no kid anyone. You can tough talk all day long, but you were never in the lobby. In fact, I highly doubt you even own one of these bikes, they are too expensive for you, and based off of your grammer and spelling, I highly doubt you have a job that can pay you enough to even get in the dealership.
    Now for the rest of the doubters, everything I have read about this Scott Meyers person, and his plan for AIH is fantastic. His plans to honor all warranties is great, he is paying back the city of Fort Worth for back rent and paying some vendors(none of this he has to do). I was curious how they were going to build bikes, after they filed bankruptcy, but this plan sounds like it could make that work. Good Luck to AIH and anyone who chooses to back to work for them.

  34. 34 Loosecannon Jun 5th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    All of the legal wrangling aside, I’m just trying to find somebody willing to sell parts for these bikes. I have been all over the web trying to find a front turn signal mount for my 2005 AIH Legend. Any help?

  35. 35 TNTinAZ Jun 6th, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Can anyone post where they are getting info on new owner and warranties THNX.

  36. 36 Cyril Jun 6th, 2008 at 10:18 am
  37. 37 pissed Apr 15th, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    CR all I have to say to you is your a nutt job and have you ever heard of loyalty? Maybe you don’ t know what that word means but some people help others in hard times and know when to help someone when the tough times are they stick with them to help. It sounds to me you have some kind of problem maybe fired or something and this is your way of payback? Grow up ,you do know god is watching you and it will catch up to you in the end so think about what your saying about people that is untrue and hurtful.

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Cyril Huze