Mid West Choppers Prosecuted For Fraud.

40 customers, including non US clients based in New Zealand, say they paid Mid West Choppers from Illinois and its owner Chip Miyler a total of US $1.2 million for custom bikes but did not receive them before the company went bankrupt in October 2005. The indictment is also about Miyler applying for a bank loan offering as collateral motorcycles he did not own. Some customers could receive partial refund checks from the bankruptcy court.

 

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71 Responses to “Mid West Choppers Prosecuted For Fraud.”


  1. 1 Dave B. Aug 21st, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    And another one bites the dust.

  2. 2 George Aug 21st, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    OMG.

  3. 3 BadMonkeyMW Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    The best part is those ads they used to run with ‘ol Chip in them with ‘Master Builder’ next to his name. What an asshole.

  4. 4 RedNeck Aug 22nd, 2008 at 1:59 am

    I met Chip about 3 years ago in Puerto Rico. He was bragging about all the money he was making in the motorcycle industry and all that… wanted to write a book about his success and get Arlen Ness to be his sponsor to become a Hamster.

    Last time I heard, he left the country and was hiding to avoid a little “contract” on his head (true or false I don’t know).

    In 2005, the local police and the feds did an investigation and a grand jury indicted Chip on over 40 counts of embezzlement charges, fraud, grand theft, conspiracy, threatening and disuading, tax evasion, and over 50 violations of the state vehicular licensing laws and false information and improper use of state issued DMV documents. I guess they finally caught him.

    Hopefully, the poor customers will get some money back but from experience it will probably be a portion of what they lost.

  5. 5 jtm Aug 22nd, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Has Chip been jailed? Does anyone know for sure? Hey RedNeck, are you a Hamster?

  6. 6 rodent Aug 22nd, 2008 at 7:53 am

    The shame of it all……A crook in the motorcycle business….How novel.

  7. 7 BO Aug 22nd, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Is Mid West Choppers in any affliated the company that makes or sales Ultima engines,etc: which is based in Illinois ?

  8. 8 Cyril Huze Aug 22nd, 2008 at 9:27 am

    BO. The answer is NO.

  9. 9 Asa Aug 22nd, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Chip who ? Foose ? Just wondering who you guys were talking about . Ab

  10. 10 George Aug 22nd, 2008 at 10:12 am

    No, Chip Miyler from Mid west choppers.

  11. 11 Gar Aug 22nd, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Yet another example of the Media pumping the shit out of “Another” of their “Golden Haired” second coming of Christ “Master Builders” and yet again they fell on their face.

    Well, I suppose that as long as you spend the advertising dollars with the magazines you get the articles, press releases, the mag covers etc.

    Let’s look at just some of the big advertising dollars and the failures: Aaron Greene (Paramount) Easyriders should have been named the “Aaron Greene Magazine” for many, many months. Chip Miyler, mag, Easyriders as well as many others could have been called “The Billy Lane Express”, Kim Suter, Hellbound Steel, American Ironhorse, Ultra, Titan, Minneapolis Customs, Indian, Excellesor Henderson, Pitt Bull and on and on.

    Maybe if they people/companies had not bought the full page ads in the mags and spent the savings on the company they would still be alive in the industry. But alas their egos would have suffered!

    Personally I hope they throw Chip and anyone else who has fleeced the public under the jail, for ever.

  12. 12 RedNeck Aug 22nd, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Gar
    I agree with you. That comes back to one of my answers on of Cyril’s posts regarding what marketing can do to a product even if this product is bad, fake or anything else in between.
    Ads in magazines such as Easyriders are expensive, very expensive. Spending this kind of money could kill a company because it is more an ego thing than a business decision. The golden rule is that you spend about 8% of your net profit in promoting your company. Net profit is what you have in your pocket once you pay everybody, including yourself, employees, tax, rent, loans, material, or products, etc… More than once, compamies like Paramount Cycle, Titan, EH etc have forecasted much higher sales to contract loans with banks or get other financing with investors. Of course, because there are not business people but a bunch of bikers who might have a degree (usually not), this is not working well so they go down.

    Do you really think that Indian had to spend $1.5 million getting a show truck on the road like the one they had in Sturgis, knowing the past issues with the brand, the economy and the fact that they will probably sell half the bikes (if so) they are projecting. In order for them to justify a $1.5 million investement just for this truck, they would have to sell over $8 million in bikes and accessories. That’s a buttload of bikes, jackets and derby covers, considering they are doing business with less than 20 dealers nationwide. But they did it anyway and they probably can give you a tone of reasons why they did it.

    Excellsior spent $4.8 million in Marketing the first year they were in business while selling only 31% of the projected bikes. This killed the company. I can go on with Titan, Billy Lane and others if you want.

    The motorcycle industry in general is packed with guys who want to show the size of their penis to others and make people believe they’re the best, produce the best shit possible and they will spend a great amount of time and money doing this instead of business a good and strategic business plan together. It’s a lot easier to sign a bunch ot T-Shirts at a rally and make people think you are a celebrity instead of looking at square inch analysis in a catalog or come up with a reasonable budget for a fiscal year.

    jtm: I don’t think Chip has been jailed but I am sure he will. From what I heard, he is working on a plea deal with the Feds to avoid 30+ years in jail…. and no, I am not a Hamster

  13. 13 Jeff Nicklus Aug 22nd, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Redneck,

    Right on Brother! I agree paragraph and verse!

  14. 14 Brad Aug 22nd, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Excellent comment Mr. RedNeck. You understand the motorcycle industry. Look at who is lasting in this business, people who don’t show off, are good at what they do, are conservative and honest, are spending what they earn, not what they borrowed , Ness, Perewitz, Smith, Huze (excellent blog with refreshing up to date news) and a few others.

  15. 15 Gunrunner Aug 22nd, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Indian surely did not spend 1.5 million on that truck in Sturgis. It is more like 500,000 – 800,000 would be bragging at best. Now if you are including the R&D cost of the prototype motorcycles as a part of the truck cost… naw… it still wouldn’t cost that much.

  16. 16 RedNeck Aug 22nd, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    The Indian Road Show project for Indian is actually over this amount.
    Sorry I didn’t mean they spent $1.5 million for Sturgis alone. I apologize for the confusion.

  17. 17 Nicker Aug 22nd, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Red,

    RE:
    “… Of course, because there are not business people but a bunch of bikers …”

    Ya, as you say, the decisions in these cases were not prudent business decisions.
    But nor because they were “a bunch of bikers.”
    Stupid business decisions are the norm rather then the exception.

    Don’t recall the actual statistics, but the failure rate for small business is something like 80% over 3 years(??).

    The tax preparer was telling us that the number of people who will “buy a new car & truck” with the money from the first good quarter, instead of capitalizing their business, is simply astounding.

    So, i’d say that wanting to “put on the dog” isn’t unique to bikers.
    Let’s face it, the problem is more about that ugly cultural phenomenon of “instant gratification.”

    Since we are increasingly getting our “self esteem enhanced,” as a culture we’re not having any trouble rationalizing why we “deserve” everything we “want”…… and Right Now!

    IMHO anyway.
    -nicker-

  18. 18 Ben Dalbry Aug 22nd, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    There is a difference between bad management and being a crook with intention to defraud customers. Big time fraud = Big time in jail.

  19. 19 Alan Aug 22nd, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Ben bro you’re right…
    There bad business and then they’re bad guys.

    Sad when one slithers into the motorcycle industry

  20. 20 x titan dealer Aug 22nd, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    To Redneck. I always felt that the 2nd coming of Titan bikes (2001-2008) were well built, they did not go overboard with flashy, expensive advertising. They relied on the strength of the name, and using the past original mismanagement ,of the original company owners, (1995-20000) for the first downfall. This , I think, worked for them for a while, because of the bike’s quality and style. Heck, they were even expanding into Canada before Big Dog, Am IronH, etc. There was no “Master Builder” TV Dad mentality there. Just a good name and product. The downfall was in the way the dealers and customers were treated after the sale. From the employees that I had met, it seemed like they had little choice in the matter from the owner. I believe they would have survived this downturn in the market . They were a trim organization, watched the $$$, but there relationship with dealers and customers became faulted. Let’s not forget WHO promotes the product in the end. (customers/dealers)
    You sound like a pretty good insider on the manufacturers. Does this sound like a fair estimate of Titan?
    P.S. Did they get back into business after the last bankruptcy sale, or are they in “hibernation” for the moment?

  21. 21 RedNeck Aug 22nd, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    X Titan dealer.
    I agree with you on the fact that the second generation of Titan was okay and the approach was more conservative. Unfortunately, I think dealers got scared that it would go down again and didn’t take the risk. As you mentioned, no matter what the company does, it’s still the dealers and the consumers who make everything happen. We’re in the same situation with Indian these days. I spent a bunch of time in Sturgis looking at their bikes and more importantly over-hearing rep conversations and customers’ comments. Everything looks good on paper but would they buy the bike? Most of them “have to think about it”.

    They put together a nice bike range (a little expensive but nice). However, if they can’t find dealers to push it and can’t find enough customers to buy it, they won’t be in business for long (again). I believe AIH is in the same postion as Titan today. Slowing down on the marketing funds, decreasing the number of dealers and making sure they don’t go crazy on production schedule, model choices etc…. That’s good business decision. Time will tell if they can make it.
    But it will probably be hard for a Sales mManager to convince too many dealers to stock up on AIH (or Indian, or BD) bikes considering our market, our economy and the fact that those companies are still extremely unstable, no matter what press releases they send would tell you.

    I remember one of the first Titan dealers in Europe who bought 3 back in 2004 and last time I talked to him (2 months ago), he still had them :-) Same as everything, before you go international with big dreams, you have to secure your domestic market. Learn to walk before you run.

  22. 22 jtm Aug 22nd, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Hey RedNeck. How about Big Bear? They seem to have a good thing going & Kevin Alsop keeps his bikes fresh & supports the dealers with national advertising. I believe they have a good dealer network. What are your thought since you’re an industry insider?

  23. 23 RedNeck Aug 22nd, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Kevin has some good stuff and a solid business plan. I don’t think his new bagger will sell well because the design is pretty “out there” and it’s way dfifferent than anything else on the market. He certainly have a better chance than some I have seen.

  24. 24 rodent Aug 22nd, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Wether you liked them or not the OCC was the most successfull money maker in the history of bike building. Thy were in the right place at the right time with the right act..And the bikes were secondary to the T-shirts which made OCC millions

  25. 25 a 1 cycles Aug 23rd, 2008 at 8:40 am

    i love building motorcycles..but if a guy buys a shirt its 100% mark up never has a comeback or problem dead battery or a flat tire..and you always have a happy customer who will advertise for you..its a win win…but you must build cool bikes and have a persona and maybe some t.v. time to sell your t-shirts. its a catch 22. but much more money in t-shirts than bikes.

  26. 26 Gar Aug 23rd, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Rodent,

    Give me a break :

    “OCC was the most successful money maker in the history of bike building.”

    Bike Builders ???? These guys have never been anything other than T-Shirt and trinket salesman. Carnies at best! Very successful Carnies, but Carnies none the less.

    Just because they are from New York please do not feel any loyalty or necessity toward defending them!

  27. 27 RedNeck Aug 23rd, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    Rodent,
    OCC is not a bike builder, never was, never will. There are a Marketing product created for entertainment by TV executives… pretty much like Paris Hilton (bad comparison I know…).

    T-Shirt are essentials to communication, especially among bikers who love to display brands they like (HD is a perfect example). It’s easier to sell a T-Shirt than a paint job. However, this is far from the best tool to build a customer base. It’s just bring cash flow because you can make 60% margin on a T-Shirt and loose money on a paint job.

    OCC is a great example of pure marketing genius. You still can find a tone of “fans” that don’t own a bike, never will and don’t care about a $5000 paint job but have the OCC coffee mug, the T-Shirt and the entire video collection. They have no interest in riding but watch the show religiously. 5 years ago, I had a friend who drove all the way from Northern Minnesota to Milwaukee, WI for HD 100th, stood in line for 4 hours to get an OCC T-Shirt and went back home. Didn’t walk downtown Milwaukee to look at bikes, didn’t stay for the parade, didn’t buy a HD T-Shirt. But he wanted to see Paul Jr at his truck. Scary!!!!

    Again, if you are in business, you take the money where it is. As of today, I do believe OCC had great success working a specific niche of the custom bike building: large corporations looking for a new way to advertise their brand. With everything that happened on TV (Speed, biker build off, Jesse James etc), the Marketing executives naturally looked at motorcycles to promote the company name or products. Because it was hot at the time. OCC simply grabbed that market when nobody else was interested in looking at it. Very simple. No matter if the bikes are good or not, no matter if they sell more tank tops than choppers, they took a business opportunity and turned it into a multi-million dollar business. To me that’s smart. I wish I had the same idea 7 years ago.

  28. 28 Nicker Aug 24th, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Red-

    RE:
    “… they took a business opportunity and turned it into a multi-million dollar business. To me that’s smart. I wish I had the same idea 7 years ago…”

    Took or fell-into… it matters not.
    What they have done is feathered their own nest at the expense of the public’s perception of true craftsmen and added no value in return.

    As you say you say, there are legions like your friend who “…[won't] walk downtown Milwaukee to look at bikes” moreover won’t ever buy a bike or bike parts .”…But he wanted to see Paul Jr at his truck…”

    Scary??? no, simply stupid. They are not customers, so they add no value except to the T-shirt marketeers.

    But why someone like Jay Leno buys a bike from OCC (and then allegedly bitches about the product?) is beyond comprehension. He certainly doesn’t need the “advertisement.”

    -nicker-

  29. 29 RedNeck Aug 24th, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Nicker… Well, there is a lot more than just Jay buying a bike and have it on the show and all that. it’s all part of a strategy developed by the production company of the show among other things. It would be too long to explain. As you mentioned, perception is everything. You can sell dog poop if you know how to market it correctly. How many stupid products on TV are sold everyday just because they have a commercial and some baseball player endorsing them?

    OCC just tripped on a gold mine. Luck, right place, right moment etc… some people get lucky that way. It’s like winning the lottery.

    That’s what makes this country great. You can take the biggest moron(s) and make him (them) look like he invented sliced bread. Put them on TV and watch the dollars pile up.

  30. 30 Jeff Nicklus Aug 24th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Has anyone even seen Chip in the last few years? Is he in custody or has someone made good on the contract and he is now fertilizer in the desert? I suppose that would give a whole new meaning to “going green”.

  31. 31 Bart Langley Cateye Customs Aug 25th, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Karma is a bitch, Chip screwed alot of good people, who just wanted a bike to ride. Flashy paint, high ticket bikes, with no substance. I was around Chip on occasion, and it was all about ego, and the customer didnt matter, customers were just another mark, so to speak. I hope that jackass gets what’s coming to him in spades. He is one of the many, who contributed to downfall of custom bikes in my opinion. I think there were alot of newbies, who spent 30 to 40k, bought an giant piece of junk, got no customer support, and said the hell with this and went back to the golf course, While alot of hardcore riders said good riddiance to the yuppie crowd, it was the brick and morter shops and manufactures that ended up paying the price.

  32. 32 SSG Chuck Aug 25th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    And lets not forget about good Old Choppers Unlimited!!! Sounds like Chip has a lot in common with those thieves!

    SSG Chuck
    Iraq

  33. 33 Jeff Nicklus Aug 25th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Bart,

    Least we forget that the motorcycle industry was saved by the Yuppies! If it hadn’t have been for the Yuppies Harley would be in the dumpster yet again. The “hardcore” biker will keep his one bike until he dies and the industry can’t live on that.

    Just a thought.

  34. 34 Brandon Aug 25th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Agreed, Jeff. Now that the yuppies have other worries/preoccupations all the industry is suffering. “hardore” bikers cannot support the sales of bikes and parts.

  35. 35 dark tan superman Aug 25th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Once upon a time……….

    Once upon a time there was a fairy “master builder” named Chip among other master builders in a sea of hungry customers to get a “one-off” ride…….all of this “hunger” was brought about from the thriving abundance of fish in the oceans of the world……….then…..came the evil sea wizard from the north and f….ed things up real bad….he was a real dumbass. Everybody started getting hungry and most of the master builders had spent their money on lavish things…..some when as far as living the life of “rock stars”…..like ol Chip. Suddenly, ol Chip found himself dead broke and no where to go…….poor Chip….as a matter of fact, ol Chip even took peoples money when he dam well knew that his business was on the verge of extinction. There were also other fairy “master builders” like Lane….he went as far as taking a life of another human being….so sad…so STUPID…….

    Well gents the F….en fairy tale is over….now Uncle Sam is gettin ready to stick his big toe up ol Chips ass… as well as Lanes….and well deserved !

    Eat s…t and die MF’ers……now it’s your turn!! we’ve had enough!!!

  36. 36 Tony Aug 25th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    If I agree with you about Chip Miyeler, let’s not mix Billy Lane with this story. Chip stole money from clients. It was probably premeditated. It’s no accident. Billy had a vehicle accident. No relation. Period. About the TV “Master Builders”, I agree that some got a big head. But the real before TV “Master Builders are still there because they never took themselves for rock stars. Just very good pros who have paid their dues.

  37. 37 dark tan superman Aug 25th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Yo Tony….the last that I remember is when you kill somebody while you are behind the wheel most states consider that MURDER or in their terms Homicide…..weather it’s premeditated or not…..especially if you are under the influence……additionally, if you cross the double yellow at 90 miles per hour I would say that is no accident!!! on top of that you hit a moped head on!!!! accident??!!! gimme a break…….Yes, it is sad…..and yes it was obviously an accident, I’m sure that he wasn’t trying to purposely take any body’s life…..but fact remains that if he would have not crossed the double yellow…the man on the moped would still be alive today.

    Let me ask you a question Tony……do you normally cross the yellow line at 90 miles an hour on your way home from parties??…..especially after you are intoxicated???

    Black eye for the entire industry……..I hope that you agree on that…

    There are a few good builders left….and most of them are very slow right now….it will never get back to the way things were….I assure you that. maybe we might see a small recovery in the next few years to come. But never the way that it once was.

    Custom bikes have a bad wrap from a variety of different factors…most are from reliability issues from either engineering, assembly and so on. The tires got so big that they ride like shit. The motors vibrate the fillings out of your teeth and then hell comes lose. Leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Warranty claims were going thru the roof. Just ask AIH and some of the other companies that have gone under.

    And I also disagree with some of the other posts on the OCC effort. OCC has made some very interesting theme bikes. We owe them alot……..keep in mind that they brought customs to the mainstream. As much as I hate to admit it, if it wouldn’t have been for senior yelling at Junior or Mickey on national TV we would not have had some of the indirect benefits that we experienced from the wave that we rode. The old man is a marketing genious…..he took a hobbie from a basement in NY to a huge success that we all got a little bit of the pie. And I give him a perfect “10″ for getting his junk in 7-11 and wal-mart for the average guy that can’t afford a 30 or 40K custom……but he can buy a hat and a T-shirt and fit in….just like we all want to do.

    The industry is changing very rapidly….customs are no longer a “have to have”…..imports are growing leaps and bounds…..mostly from the economic factor…….did you notice that Harley recently purchased an Italian manufacturer???/ wonder why??

    Truth hurts sometimes.

    Like they say: “It is what it is”……ride ‘on gents!

  38. 38 Jason Aug 25th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Redneck & Gar…I am not at all comfortable with you lumping Aaron Greene & Paramount Cycles into this blog. The industry that we work in is one of self-promtion…you cannot fault anyone for that. Aaron was in Easy Rider magazine based on his talents and his ability to promote himself. If you ever get the chance to meet him you will find that he is the most soft spoken men you will meet in this industry. He is also tremeandouly talented…holding three US patents. Aaron has gotten a bad rap because he isnt one to put himslef out there in front of his product…for him it is about the bikes. Aaron is a stand up class act…his business is not doing as well today as it did a few years ago because of the economy and because of speculative dealers having difficulty securing credit as Paramount Cycles bikes are not listed with conventional floorplan companies. Aaron isnt going anywhere anytime soon…he is just re-grouping right now. As far as Billy, his bikes were what was hot, and unlike alot of other builders he actually rode them and beat the shit out of them and broke them, fixed them up and rode them some more. He was friendly, cordial, and approachable…well deserving of any press he got from Easyriders and other magazines.
    In regard to the most successful builder…I agree. I have worked on several OCC bikes (including the original Mark LT built for Ford Motor COmpany) and I am not impressed. They are a t-shirt, beach towel, and mousepad company that also sells motorcycles. Jesse James and West Coast Choppers are driving the industry. We have all grown up over the last five years and Jesse is back on the custting edge. His bikes still command top dollar and his quality is better than ever. So are his designs. With is new strategic alliences with S&S and Drag Specialties he is really making his intentions of being here for a long time to come known.
    I dont think there is any comparison between guys like Aaron, Billy and Chip Mylar. Any comparison to do so is reckless. Lets leave Billy’s current situation out of this…the two things have less than nothing to do with each other.

  39. 39 Gar Aug 25th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Jason

    If you think Aaron Greene was in Easyriders because of his talent then you must believe in the Tooth Fairy as well. You get in Easyriders, as well as other magazines, with your paid advertisements. Don’t believe it? Pick up any Easyriders and look in the advertisers section and see. Every issue Aaron was in he was also an advertiser +/-.

    Aaron did not do any self promotion ????? No his mother Gayle did all that for him.

    Billy Lane ****** You can’t be serious! He got behind the wheel of a 6,000 lb truck and killed a man *** and oh yes, he was drunker than a shunk when he did it. In my opinion they need to find a cell next door to Chip’s and put him in there for 10-15 years.

    In my opinion anyone who drinks to much and gets on a motorcycle or behind the wheel of a car is committing a criminal act **** actually it isn’t just my opinion, it is the law.

  40. 40 papamike69 Aug 26th, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Human nature is a funny thing. Greed is the worst part of that nature, so is stupidity. Unfortunately for Chip he is both. The thing is though, being stupid and greedy is not a crime, but acting on the nature of greed to de-fraud is. Power and money do funny things to people. Who are we to judge? Have any of you people posting to this blog been de-fraud by Chip? I don’t know Chip, nor do I want to. However, for you that find your selves shocked that this could happen in the custom motorcycle industry, I have to ask… “Why”? Embezzlement and fraud happen in every business and from every walk of life. It is a human nature thing. Of course Chip got greedy and stupid, he probably got elevated to a level that he had never been before and didn’t’ know how to deal with it. You see it happen most commonly with rock stars. If you look at it, custom bike building parallels rock stardom quite a bit. Not so much the building of the bikes as the showing of the bikes and the life stile. Trust me I am in no way defending Chip, I am just pointing out Greed and stupidity can get the best of us all… Well except a few good hypocrites that don’t’ have anything better to do then read blogs’ all day and make stupid comments like O.M.G. at un-surprising news.

    As far as OCC is concerned Gar, bike builder or not, you are just jealous that’s you can’t hold candle to OCC’s accomplishment.

  41. 41 Gar Aug 26th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    papamike69,

    Jealous of accomplishments of OCC …. are you out of your %&$*ing mind? They are Soap Opera Stars at best. If you are talking $$$$ it would shock you to know that in my slight 63 years on this earth I have done very, very well for myself. I haven’t wanted for anything that money can buy in many years now. Oh yes, and I accomplished what I have done with an education and hard work, not t-shirt sales and a TV show. Jealous of OCC ….. unbelievable! FYI: I would compare my net worth with the Teutuls ….. bet I would win!

    I do believe that OCC, Sr. more specifically, is a marketing genius and they deserve everything they have accomplished; they just have done nothing good, in my opinion, for the motorcycle industry.

    Question: What has your arguement about OCC to do with these idiots who are about to visit Club Fed?

  42. 42 RedNeck Aug 26th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Jason.

    I met Aaron multiple times, at shows, at industry shows etc… I am also familiar with the people that has worked with him trying to put his production bikes program on the road. Aaron is really a smart builder. He has superb ideas such as that cool Softrigid frame. Unfortunately, it was too expensive to build on a large scale and not enough customers for this kind of product. I am also familiar with his production bikes, looked at them a few times and again, know a little bit about his dealer program.

    He has a great repuation and you’re right, it’s all about the bikes. Well, this business is not all about the bikes anymore, especially when you start touching production bikes and dealer programs. It’s all about money, margins, sales and return on investment. Nobody is in business to loose money or even break even. We have to make money to survive. That is the difference between a “simple” bike builder building 10-15 one-off bikes a year and a bike builder starting to produce clone bikes. The 10-15 bikes are all about the bikes, creativity etc… The production bikes are all about the support of the dealers, the sales reports and the forecasting matrix. Despite the fact that Aaron is smart, I don’t think he knows about all the complicated factors of running a motorcycle manufacturing plant. But he is not alone in this case. So nothing personal here. We can’t blame him for trying. We all know other bike builders who tried and failed also.

    But if his business is all about the bikes, he should keep doing this at a small scale, pretty much like Donnie Smith, Dave Perewitz or Brian Klock. None of those guys have jumped into production bikes. There is a reason behind it.

    Using his name to sell his products is natural. Jesse James did it, Billy Lane did it and many others. it’s basic marketing. But marketing is a lot more complicated than putting an ad in Easyriders and signing T-shirts at Daytona Bike Week. Again, it’s fine if you are all “about the bikes”. it’s not when you have to support a multi-million dollar dealer network. Aaron had no markeitng plan for his company and his dealers. It takes a lot more than just calling a shop and say “Hi… I am Aaron Green, I am well-known, wanna buy 10 of my production bike?”

    We are all jealous of OCC, mainly because we didn’t get lucky to find Discover Channel and we didn’t think about building bikes for large corporations. It’s the same as being jealous of your neighbor winiing the lottery. They are not bike builders but hired people that make them look like they know how to put a bike together. That’s plenty fine. Every industry has that. No matter the amount of chance in this deal, we have to admit that OCC has enough common sense to make this last. I know a lot of people in various industries that were given a similar chance at one time or another and screwed it up and didn’t make any money. OCC did. So at least we can give them that. Doesn’t matter if we like the bikes or not. As long as their customers like them and pay them, that’s all it counts.
    Jealous of their accomplishement… yes, probably: You and me (and Gar) and others still have to get up in the morning, go to work and get stuck in traffic, while those guys are building their 15,000 sq ft dream house and buy an helicpoter to go places. Yeah, I am jealous also because I wish it was me doing this instead of a couple of fat f$& who got lucky selling T-Shirts at rallies. But again, same situation as your neighbor winning the lottery.

    I certainly don’t put Chip and Billy in the same basket and I certain wouldn’t put Aaron in the same basket either. Chip is a crook that needs to go to jail. Aaron just need a business plan and some good people to work for him, and maybe those people shouldn’t be from the motorcycle indystry so they are not “all about the bikes”. Billy Lane needs to go to rehab, lay low and go back to basics, building cool bikes in Melbourne for a few elite customers and take it easy. He was very close to end up in jail for the next 20 years because he is stupid and acting like a 15-year old who only wants to drink and bang strippers. Cutting his hair and drinking water in font of the cameras doesn’t help shit. The damage is done. I know a couple of companies who had prodcuts endorsed by him that had to shut off their sales programs because he f@#$ up. That is also very bad business.

  43. 43 dark tan superman Aug 26th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Gar….buddy…….please don’t compare your net worth with OCC’s………..thuthfully, let me know where I can buy one of your T-shirts…….also, let me know when your own TV show is coming out..!!!!! Because with no doubt..after reading your replies that there would be MORE DRAMA than the OCC show!!! And I want to watch you running around bragging and comparing yourself to the Teutuls.

    Gar…Let me ask you a question?…seriously, do you have a problem with Mickey??!!…….Or are you a little jealous that maybe his acting skills are a little bit better than yours?? Save it for your show Bro…

    ONCE AGAIN………OCC reached the limelight in motorcycle marketing…they reached mainstream America better than any other motorcycle builder period. They have become an American Icon WORLDWIDE!!…..As a matter of fact, when I visited Spain last year, street kids were wearing their T-shirts!!….not bad for an iron worker that started his business out of the back of his truck!! The old man has true American Heart!!! As far as I’m concerned, the old man is hardcore!! he showed the world on how it can be done. And if his bikes are not good enough to meet your criteria….guess again because corporate 500 companies pay OCC up to 750K for their theme bikes. And yes, they are very happy the results.

    As far as you saying that OCC has not been good for the industry, your statement is ridiculous!!

    Please enlighten the rest of us why they have been bad for the industry!!!!! For every one reply that you can come up with, I can bury you with all of the good and positive things that they have done. Not to mention all of the charity contribution that they are involved in!

    Gar…….let us know when your show is due out….:-)

  44. 44 Gar Aug 26th, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Redneck,

    Nah, I don’t get up and have to go to work in the mornings, nor to I commute in traffic, stopped doing that years ago. I get up and manage my assets on the computer and then go hang out at a friends company. I do help with their legal work on occasion but other than that not much else interests me. I do ride one of my scooters almost every day and I do have a 3:10 pm tee time today and will get 9 holes in this afternoon. I do enjoy rattling some cages here on this blog as well. I love to see the human mind stimulated and once stimulated how people will react.

    I repeat jealous of OCC; you are out of your friggin mind if you believe that. Nor do I envy them! Respect what they have accomplished; absolutely!

    Gar Out

  45. 45 Gar Aug 26th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Dark Tan Superman,

    Dude, I truly understand you name now! It is derived from having your head up your ass and the reside is obstructing your vision.

    Net worth = TV Shows and T-Shirts? Wow, go back to school and pay attention this time – PLEASE. Home schooling did not work for you!

    Gar Out

  46. 46 RedNeck Aug 26th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Let’s just call it respect for what they have accomplished then. I guess it’s a different level of jealousy. I don’ think I envy them either. They are the joke of the motorcycle indusry and I wouldn’t pull up with half the stuff they have to endure everyday (including this blog).

    Must be cool not to have to work… I am getting there… just have a few more years to go.

  47. 47 dark tan superman Aug 26th, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Gar….LOL……….so I take it that home schooling worked for you?!! Bro please…….your reply is once again ridiculous.

    I’ll tell ya…..sounds like you got it going on dude…managing your assets on your computer and then golf at 3:10….WOW….dude you are one cool MOFO…………Is that what your idea of success is??? Now I’m really laughing OUT LOUD!!……..Here you go…… let me spell it out for you Gar……D-O-R-K…….can you read that?? Let’s see if home schooling worked for you!!

    It’s obvious that you were the computer geek in school and guys like me picked on you……and as a matter of fact, I still do…see bro…nothing has changed….you are still the same wannabee wimp that is all pissed off at the world and your idea of revenge is money…..and golf at 3:10……believe me Gar, the little bit of money that you have is not going to make your li’l prick any bigger. Big deal, so you have some investments and you are living off some of the gains…..BIG DEAL….so are a lot of other people…..truthfully, you are just content with what you have and you chose not to work and you think that you are better than the rest of us. Sad thing is you believe it heart and soul because you are an ignorant bastard that thinks that they have made it BIG…….more power to you Waldo……..idiots like you only fill my pockets.

    Remember Gar, the next time that you start throwing shit around on one of these blogs I would be very careful….. you see Gar, not everybody is as ignorant as you.

    You did it to yourself Gar….now I’m actually starting to feel for ya buddy….seriously.

    I’m dead serious about your TV show…….let me be your agent….we could call it: ” Gar and Barney Fife Chopper Stories”. What do ya think??? huh?…too lame??….c’mon…we can sell tons of t-shirts….just like OCC does…then we won’t be jealous of them any more :-)

    Trust me bro…I can make you MORE money than you ever imagined……:-) I’m almost 100% sure that I can get you on MTV….maybe even get one of those rap dudes to even write a song about you!!!

    Think about it……

    Once again Gar…tell us how OCC has hurt the industry……….

  48. 48 Bobfather Aug 27th, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Well you can get into E/R mag without spending a ton of money on ads. I’ve been in their mags a few times and spent very little money over the past 18 years on ads with them. It sometimes does take a lot of hard work and knowing someone and there have been some rumors of a payola type thing with their features and titles but I’ve never witnessed it first hand. Basically it takes knowing who to talk to and having something special in a feature bike to offer them at the very least.

  49. 49 Jeff Nicklus Aug 27th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    dark tan superman,

    I am going to jump in here before you make a complete fool of yourself. I have known Gar for a long time now, and once he reads what I am about to write he will be pissed at me instead of you.

    Gar is a sixty something year old man who is worth in excess of 500 million dollars +/-. He is a former Deputy US Attorney, former FBI Agent, had a very successful law practice (which he sold several years ago), and has “dabbled in stocks”,as he likes to say, for the last 40 years +/-. Just one of the stocks that he made out big time on was a little company know as Micro Soft, you may have heard of it?

    Computer geek????? Both Gar and I were around way before the computer ….. I learned to do math on a slide rule …. if that doesn’t age us both I don’t know what will. So computer geek really doesn’t fit in this case.

    So in my opinion, not knowing personally what the OCC group is worth, I would have to say that Gar could financially whip them hands down.

    Also, from my personal stand point: OCC played a major role in totally *&%#ing this industry up. You state that OCC brought middle America into the motorcycle industry, no way man, they brought the t-shirt group into the industry. I believe if you were to ask anyone in the industry, with any sense about them at all, they would agree. Just read what some of the comments, from the named bloggers on this site, have to say about OCC, not much good.

    Obviously you are a OCC fan, which is cool, but please be more realistic about them. Just my thoughts man. Have a good day.

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

    Gar: Don’t start with me now, I don’t have the time for this crap!

  50. 50 Gar Aug 27th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Jeff,

    Thank you for sharing ,,,,,, xxxxxxx!

    Gar Out

  51. 51 dark tan superman Aug 28th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Jeff:

    Coming to Gar’s rescue is fine with me.

    I don’t care if Gar is Emperor of the world………it makes no difference. Nor how much money he has!!! Like they say: “If you wanna play, you gotta pay”……by the statements that Gar was publicly making here on this blog, he was leaving himself wide open…he did it to himself. Additionally, if he was a “so called’ District Attorney/millionare/,special forces/superhere and so on, he should know better.

    As for you, I don’t know whom you are or what you do. And it doesn’t matter, either way. But, if you also make a statement as Gar did concerning the negative impact of OCC on the motorcycle industry, I would have to disagree as well. Truthfully, yes,it did bring in the T-shirt people, but it also brought in the curious and first time riders with the above average incomes. Also,considering that the economy was thriving and people were benefiting from the increase in equity in their homes, a number of them were pulling money out from their homes to buy bikes. Obviously, the show had great market exposure with the general public and it brought about awareness. Additionally, it also brought in many Harley owners to buy a custom bike. All shows were(and still are) to either reflect the purpose of a theme bike either corporate identity or public benefit to raise money for worthy causes.

  52. 52 Jeff Nicklus Aug 28th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    DTS,

    “….As for you, I don’t know whom you are or what you do……”

    I am nobody; however, I am in the industry and have been in the industry way before OCC was a thought in anyone’s mind. Google my name or “Desperado Motorcycles” or “Jeff Nicklus Customs” for more info.

    “…..Truthfully, yes, it did bring in the T-shirt people, but it also brought in the curious and first time riders with the above average incomes. …”

    I totally agree and disagree. T-Shirt people: without question, Curious: No Doubt!, First time riders: Not a chance. We were selling 300 motorcycles a year for years before OCC came on the stage, and they were all high dollar units. Nothing changed after the OCC invasion.

    “….Obviously, the show had great market exposure with the general public and it brought about awareness….”

    Market impact, what market? The t-shirt and trinket market, if that is what you are referring to then that goes without saying. Awareness of the public???? Let me tell you about awareness. The awareness was such that I no longer tell people what I do for a living! That’s right. When my wife and I are at a party or gathering and if the subject comes up, and it always does, asking what business I am I no longer say “I am a motorcycle manufacturer”. The minute that happens I hear “Oh my, are you like those guys from Orange County Choppers?” My normal statement is “NO, I am not a t-shirt salesman. I actually do build motorcycles. Further I do not abuse either my family members or my employees. The crap you see on TV is all scripted.” The normal response is “Wow, what a dysfunctional family they are!”

    So to say that OCC has been a benefit to us in the industry, I will never believe it. Nor have I ever seen a sale that can be tracked to OCC.

    People in general fail to realize that OCC is a TV show ….. nothing more.

    I first met the Teutuls at the Steel Pony Express event, the last event to be held at the baseball fields in New Orleans (were you there that year Cyril?). That meeting was in October the year before their TV show first aired. They had a little 16’ (I think) trailer with two (2) bikes and two (2) lawn chairs from Wal-Mart and not much else. They, like everyone else at the event, were there to show their bikes and hope for a sale. My how times change.

    The Teutuls are nice guys and they have done many things for charity and I for one believe that is as it should be. But to credit them for the Motorcycle Revolution: they weren’t even in the ballgame when that started.

    OK, now for Gar, dude he was just toying with you. Get a sense of humor. Trust me, if he wanted to screw with you he could shred you up. I know he has been giving me hell for the last 24 hours, but I can handle him!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff Nicklus

  53. 53 dark tan superman Aug 28th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Jeff:

    Coming to Gar’s rescue is fine with me.

    I don’t care if Gar is Emperor of the world………it makes no difference. Nor how much money he has!!! Like they say: “If you wanna play, you gotta pay”……by the statements that Gar was publicly making here on this blog, he was leaving himself wide open…he did it to himself. Additionally, if he was a “so called’ District Attorney/millionare/,special forces/superhero and so on, he should know better.

    As for you, I don’t know whom you are or what you do. And it doesn’t matter, either way. But, if you also make statement such as Gar did concerning the negative impact of OCC on the motorcycle industry, I would have to disagree with you as well. Truthfully, yes,it did bring in the T-shirt people, but it also brought in the curious and first time riders with the above average incomes. Also,considering that the economy was thriving and people were benefiting from the increase in equity in their homes, a number of them were pulling money out from their homes to buy bikes. Obviously, the show had great market exposure with the general public and it brought about awareness. Additionally, it also brought in many Harley owners to buy a custom bike. Most shows were(and still are) scripted to reflect the purpose of a theme bike either by identifying a corporate identity or public benefit to raise money for worthy causes. I can go on and on but by now there is no point. I am willing to go as far as to say that OCC has become an icon worldwide representing not only the US but the custom chopper market.

    So “Gar” and Jeff, to summarize your statement concerning the negative impact of the OCC crew and their show, please give me ONE strong fact to support your negative statement. I seriously think that bringing in the T-shirt crowd is not a negative factor.

    Posting negative statements only shows jealousy from grown men….

    Gents, please tell me what other industry “ambassador” has had more exposure and success other than OCC??!!

    DTS

  54. 54 Jeff Nicklus Aug 28th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Read above … I don’t know how you got posted below me????

    OCC an “Industry Ambassador” ….. I am changing professions if that is the case.

    You must work for these guys is all I can figure.

  55. 55 Cyril Huze Aug 28th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Yes, Jeff. I was with you and OCC at the last Steel Pony Event in New-Orleans.

  56. 56 Nicker Aug 28th, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Dark-T-

    Looks to me like you missed the point.
    I don’t care about how much money anyone makes but me.
    I do care about the image of a bike builders as credible craftsman, technicians and engineers.

    RE:
    “…Obviously, the show had great market exposure with the general public and it brought about awareness…”

    Well, more like the general public became “aware” that the OCC clowns were acting like the Three Stooges. And now the rest of us are “painted with the same brush.”

    If you can’t understand this, then i’m guessing that’s because your a brake-in-biker.
    And so your perspective, in that case would be understandable.
    Consider this your reality check.
    Could be you need to hear “the little bird” story.

    -nicker-

  57. 57 dark tan superman Aug 28th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Yes Jeff…..An I was only toying with Gar as well…I’m sure that he a nice fellow. And yes I do have a sense of humor. And as far as Gar “shredding me up” I seriously doubt that. I am going to take that as a joke that was meant to be funny but everybody forgot to laugh.

    I just disagree and still do about his and your comments about OCC.

    OCC is doing very well with their sales both nationally and internationally. Unfortunately, most builders right now are not very busy due to the economy and other mitigating factors.

    I hope that your business is holding it’s own right now and I wish you the best. But, if you are looking down at the OCC as when you first met them, you are putting yourself under scrutiny. Please don’t compare yourself to OCC. It’s not a fair comparison. And as far as you passing judgment on weather the Teutul’s are a dysfunctional family, that is a very bad choice of words coming from a so called professional as you say you are. Truthfully, I was unaware that you also have a psychiatry degree…….considering that you can diagnose improper family function on a TV show…….I’m very impressed to say the least.

    Word of advice, it’s very unprofessional in ANY business to critique and fault your competitors for their achieved success and accomplishments. It only shows jealousy and discontent with your own performance and accomplishments. You are better off putting all of your efforts into your own business instead of wasting your time on what your competitors are doing.

    DTS

  58. 58 dark tan superman Aug 28th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Nicker……your foolish reply only tells the rest of us that you are the Village Idiot, better yet Village Stooge…….you better keep an eye on the “little bird” that is flying around in your head………he’s been giving you some very, very bad advice……..

    Don’t assume…..it’s a very stupid thing to do……Nicky Boy.

  59. 59 dark tan superman Aug 28th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    BTW…

    I want to take this moment to thank Cyril Huze for offering this awsome industry blog. It gives everybody an opportunity to share our ideas and beliefs. I know for a fact that popularity is growing very quickly throughout the industry. The content is excellent and very well put together.

    Keep up the good work. We appreciate it.

    DTS

  60. 60 jspfc Aug 28th, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    dark tan superman

    Just to clarify, Jeff didnt call them dsfunctional, he was quoting what others say to him.,

    “The normal response is “Wow, what a dysfunctional family they are!””

    This is quite entertaining though.

    Jeff

    Do you think Gar will give me an indefinate loan, he can’t take it all with him? Just kidding obviously.

  61. 61 Cyril Huze Aug 28th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    “Dark”. Thanks for your kind words. Customs Forever!

  62. 62 Nicker Aug 29th, 2008 at 12:53 am

    dark-t

    RE:
    “..your foolish reply … you are the Village Idiot…”

    Ya gotta do better than that, Dude, if you want any cred here…

    The issue i raised wasn’t about “OCC success” so your assertion that “…OCC is doing very well with their sales …” is totally irrelevant.

    My contention is that OCC’s TV antics have an adverse effect on an industry. Mainly because industry in general is now increasingly less relevant to the “beer moron” market. Those people no longer have the ability to pull money out of an inflated home equity.

    Moreover, those of us who go back to the bad old days find the image that OCC’s TV antics presents to the public damned offensive.
    But you seem to think the OCC TV antics are OK.
    And that “boy” shit really comes off 8th grade….
    Right now i’m looking at you like: -1- “break-in-biker” or -2- “Beer Moron”

    You say OCC is a positive force in the industry.
    So, make your point or i’ll have to tell “the little bird” story………… :-)
    And this time try it without the “boy” shit.
    Trust me, you’ll come across much better.

    -nicker-

  63. 63 Jeff Nicklus Aug 29th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    jspfc,

    Hell, I can’t get Gar to buy lunch let alone makea loan! lol

    DTS,

    What can I say that Nicker hasn’t already said? Possibly: DTS, have a great OCC kinda’ day!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  64. 64 Cancer Sam Sep 8th, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    If you think that’s bad, the Chopper Chickie Crew and Vagabond Choppers collected parts and donations to build a bike for the Breast Cancer Foundation to be auctioned off and kept the bike and the donations for themselves. Just when you think bikers are starting to get a good name.

  65. 65 happy new year cards Nov 30th, 2008 at 4:38 am

    CHeck ItThanks A Lot For The Info Guys

  66. 66 tone Mar 9th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    …first off i would like to say whether someone is a new biker
    or veteran of the open road is irrelevant…we all had to pop our cherry once. Hearing that someone is a new biker is a good thing-it goes to stand that they’re spendiing money in a industry thats hving a tuff time. Thats the problem with this fraternity of ours…instead of educating new people or just simply reaching out to someone we’d rather down the next guy. We’d rather bask in the rays of our own vast motorcyle knowledge instead of hipping people to the game!
    if we’d all done that mayby we wouldn’t have all these high prices and m#$%^%$#%^&*s ripping people off!

    ride on bros!

  67. 67 tone Mar 9th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    ..dark tan superman you are 100% right on! dude you articulate a lot of things i would like to say.

    thats the gospel!

  68. 68 tone Mar 9th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    gar..why don’t you just say ‘my dad can kick your dads ass” or i have more money than you…see”, “my house is bigger than yours’…im not rying to argue with you, however you tend to lose points with the whole juvenile comparison shit…63 years huh? with that type of argument you just prove that wisdom isn’t necessarily tied to time on earth-but more of an excercise in intelligent judgement…i’m not using good judgement pointing this out to you…peace bro!

  69. 69 O.J. Estep Jul 6th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Chip stole $45k from me in 2005 on a drop seat I commissioned him to build…..I hope he gets ass-raped daily in jail…..oh yeah …by the way …..his wife is a filthy whore……ha ha ha ha….

  70. 70 rick g Jul 18th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    hi i just purchased a midwest chopper abouta year ago and love it great bike i had no knowledge of chip and all his wron doing did not even know the company was out of business,hope he get his,but wow what a bike this

  1. 1 Former Mid-West Choppers Owner Chip Miyler Guilty Of Fraud at Cyril Huze Blog Pingback on May 28th, 2009 at 6:34 pm
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