Should Motorcycle Part Manufacturers State Where Their Parts Are Made?

transmissionIt s my point of view that there are both good and bad motorcycle parts made here in the US …and in Europe, China, Korea and of course all over the world. It is also my daily professional observation that there is a lot of hypocrisy from those in the US, manufacturers, distributors, dealers and buyers of parts pretending to support the national economy.  How many US companies in our industry silence the fact that they subcontract abroad, distribute foreign parts, sell them in their dealerships with a final user knowing or not the origin of what is installed on his motorcycle. At the same time most of these US corporations and people feel obliged to state the politically and economically correct statement “Support your country. Buy American”. Buy what you want, but be an informed consumer, know what you buy, American or not, and face the consequences of your choices is my philosophy. And all this ranting because this morning I am in copy of a mass e-mailing sent by “Accessories Unlimited” a manufacturer and distributor of both American & Korean made motorcycle parts, reporting that “Rivera Primo” has its transmission made in Korea, that both companies propose exactly the same product made with the same parts, in the same Korean factory, the difference being only the brand name stamped on them… and a big difference of price.

Because I was raised with the notion that reporting, denunciating others is a no/no and to avoid this kind of situation, now I really wonder if it would not be better that part manufacturers be obliged to state the origin of their products.. Below, I faithfully reproduce this denunciation email. Tell me what you think. 

“Did You Know? Here is an industry secret most dealers do not know! The “Rivera Primo Transmissions” are made in Korea. The reason we know is because they are made in the same factory as the “Accessories Unlimited” transmissions, using the same parts. Up until recently we have stayed away from letting people know this information but we know feel that it is time you know the truth. The truth is that you are paying more for a name stenciled on the outside of the case. Other than that they are identical. This applies to the Left or Right Side Drive Transmission. Why pay more for the same thing”. Signed Accessories Unlimited.

56 Responses to “Should Motorcycle Part Manufacturers State Where Their Parts Are Made?”

  1. 1 Jack Apr 18th, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I would like to know the percentage of American parts Vs foreign on my 2006 Fatboy.

    It’s hard to find American made goods at a Harley Dealership. The chrome add ons seem to be mostly Chinese, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever found American made clothing. The prices are high enough that they shouldn’t be Chinese but they are.

  2. 2 Jason Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Cyril. I agree with you. Most “red, white & blue” of this country shop at Wal Mart, buy foreign made flat TV screens, Sony computers, and Chinese or Korean motorcycle parts. Dealers sell some bad parts made in the US or abroad, knowing they are not good or necessarily safe. And when I asked/confronted my dealer about the contradiction between his nationalism and his professional behavior, his answer was that it’s because his clients don’t have the money to buy good American parts. So, who is responsible? At least, the client should know where the product he buys has been manufactured. A consumer should take his purchase decisions knowing all the facts; It’s a legal requirement for food, electronics and most other products. Reporting each other is sad practice. Stamping part origin is the only way to stop this. In the end it will help the manufacturers of good American motorcycle parts, like Baker transmissions.

  3. 3 Grayhawk Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    ABSOLUTLEY, and also the make up of assemblies and then let the buyer make their decision. There is a whole lot more of this then the trannys, Assembled in America and within a given Branded product ?????
    Lot of good parts from everywhere along with a lot of margin gains by branding and not make up. Politically argumentative topic but it is what it is and identity should be there for ones educated purchasing decision.
    Will hurt some bottom lines and does offset some costs elsewhere in a given company but should not be hidden to the extent of misleading .


  4. 4 Nocturnal Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Yes, there is a Federal Law that states that any product offered for sale to the American public must disclose the country of origin. It’s part of the Consumer Fair Protection Act.

    I am interested in finding out what companies out there that are either “hiding” or “failing to disclose” Korean or Chinese parts that they either sell or distribute. Any info that you may have please post.

    Other than Custom Junk, Arlen Mess, Brag Specialties, Midwhore and so on.

    I agree 100% with Cyril’s comment concerning the hypocrisy.

    Chinese aluminum and castings are a complete disaster. Let alone their machining. Korean parts are not much better.

    Mr. Jeff Nicklus…..can you help us out a little bit here…..

  5. 5 Scott Brenner Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Cyril, you are the 1st and only one to take a public position on this topic. And I congratulate you for doing it as a professional using the large audience of your blog to jumpstart the debate. Stop the hypocrisy of the motorcycle industry! Let’s push hard to oblige all manufacturers to state the origin of their products. Then, the best products, American or not will win. It’s the way a free economy should work. I would like to read a comment from an official at Baker.

  6. 6 Shifter Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Excellent post Cyril. Will the Fat Cats of the industry dare to talk here. We all know they read you.

  7. 7 CA. Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Buying American has a different meaning than it did when I was growing up. It meant you were buying something of good quality. You also knew that your money was being spent wisely. In 2009 buying American means going to WallMart and spending your money. Wallmart service it purpose, not for me! Not much is made in America! Recently a Hershey plant, in my region was closed to start production in Mexico. Having another county produce American good’s, is just a American as “Apple Pie”.

  8. 8 Grayhawk Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Not sure but do not believe public flogging by name was the intent of this topic so I will not name names to that extent as it is lengthly, but the issue is real in parts and bikes by a larger portion of the industry than acknowledged and not just the usual whipping boy, “HD”, as quite a few of the majors in the Custom and other OEM’s venues as well.

    I will refer back to the topic a couple days ago for a for instance where as Viper Motorcycles was noted in a multi topic blog on a new upcoming model of theirs. When you go to their site they stiplulate 80% of their units are made by Viper or for Viper. I can only assume as I have not the knowledge that no more than the 20% is outsourced outside the US, but that is my interpretration of their acknowledgement?

    That 80% is most probably high for the industry as a whole.

    I can tell you that my interpretation derives from when I personally had a discussion with Fred Proctor a few years ago at the Cincy show ,he stated they Viper, when I asked about make up of a Viper, was that they were going to stay with as much inhouse as they could as that was their philosphy.

    Hope he is still with them as he is a good man and straight up, as that assessment statement is as straight an acknowledgement you will get in most cases and a good plan if you can do it.

    Not the normal knock the other guy to self promote atitude as some just this is what we want to be.

    Know what you are getting for your money and buy what floats your boat.


  9. 9 jatinder pal Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I agree with cyril and all above friends,companies should put on the origin of product,but lets look it other ways,if u get quality part at lot less price what would a average person do?

    are american manufacturers charging 200% margins on their product?

    we need to know.

  10. 10 mark arnold Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    The manufacturers within this industry should be held to the same standards for origin of content disclosure as the automotive industry if for safety and reliability assurances alone without even the consideraton of wanting to make informed and MADE IN USA decisions. No doubt there are USA manufacturers who also need to be held to the light of day. HD, I believe and me for one (3 new HD’s in the past before I was to disgusted/disappointed), has lost a large part of their return customer base, and their reputation of recent due to a total focus on revenue and income thus necessitating overseas and shoddy stateside outsourcing. I am sure many of us can and would purchase more of the “Baker” type reputation products with great confidence and a willingness to pay the extra dollar if it adds QUALITY and VALUE to a build, let alone the piece of mind going down the road.

  11. 11 mtnrdr Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Try and decipher the marketing lingo of Ultima for starters. Where is it actually originating… the parts or the whole?!

  12. 12 Jeff Nicklus Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Nocturnal et al,

    Yes, the law you note is a fact however that only applies to individual parts and pieces not a finished product such as a motor vehicle. In all honestly I believe that you HD guys/gals would be very dishearted to learn how much of your Harley is made overseas.

    All right you asked for it so here we go ….

    I have always been of the opinion that I will buy or build only the best parts possible for my motorcycles. Now with that said I will say this: with few exceptions the vast majority of our bikes are American made … at least on the surface that is the story …. let me explain.

    Steel for our frames may or may not have been manufactured in the US. When I ask the supplier of the steel what the country of origin was I am told it is American made, however, that statement is also qualified with the fact that less than 20% of all “blank steel” is made in the United States it is therefore likely that the materials used in our frames may have been produced overseas no matter what I am told by the supplier. Further most steel produced today, worldwide, has a very large percentage of scrap (recycled) steel mixed into it and most scrap steel comes from the US …. so in that case technically where did the steel start it’s life? We also have a company in Canada build some frames for us, so where that steel comes from I have no idea.

    We manufacture our own transmissions (left side drive only) and have for a number of years. We have the cases cast in Germany with us doing the final machine work here. Our gear sets are manufactured and hardened in Russia. The top cover is made in India. Final assembly is done in our shop.

    Our engines are either TP Engineering, Ultima, Patrick or H&L …… I am told that these are 100% American Made.

    Drive System ….BDL … American Made. Primary Inner And Outer Kenden Industries … American Made. Starter High Tech .. American Made. Rear 530 O-Ring Chain, Made in England

    Electrical System … Crane Ignition and Wires (Maybe not now) Wire Plus Speedo, Speedo Sensor Thunder Heart, Micro Switches and Headlight Bulbs …. all Made In America.

    Wheels … we build our own in most cases, however, we also use RC Components, we did use some Weld Wheels until they stopped doing “Private cut designs”, and Renegade Wheels … all are Made in American.

    Handle bar controls, forward controls, derby covers, ignition, points cover, triple trees, lower legs, grips, pegs, some mirrors, headlights, “sproter” system, brake rotors, brake calipers, shift linkage, rear tag and taillight brackets we build in house from American Made billet aluminum or Stainless Steel.

    Gas Tanks: We use some Fat Katz, we build some of our own both Made in America and we do use some import tanks as well.
    Tires: We have always used Avon Tires, Made in England and I will more than likely always use Avon as I believe they are the best tire on the market for my bikes.

    Ok, there you have it! I am sure I have missed some of the smaller stuff that goes into a bike build but you get the idea. I buy what is the best product for our use …. If that is American without question I will buy it …. If not, I will not hesitate to buy the better product. If the products are equal in quality I will buy price at that point. After all I do have a bottom line to look after.

    Let me just say one more thing now that I mentioned pricing ….. you do get what you pay for so please remember that when you see these $15K bikes on the market ….. I know what a quality bike costs to build, insure, warranty and comply with DOT and EPA regulations …. I couldn’t think of getting into that price point without the heavy use of “import” materials.

    Over & Out,


  13. 13 fisk Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:39 am

    if no parts wer made in taiwan china korea or japan or italy the custom motorcycle business would be 10% of it’s current size – manufacturers could not afford the tooling or plating costs in the u.s. – i have shipped boatloads of good parts from asia – the key is to spend the time it takes to document the standards and sit in the factories to be sure that those standards are maintained – the hipocracy is that dealers bitch about foreign sourcing but keep the foreign sourced parts on their walls – a harley costs $5000-$6500 to make (from their public filings) foreign sourcing makes that possible – at one time the suspension spokes rims carburetor instruments chrome switch housings were foreign made – i have heard of castings forgings and sheet metal parts also coming from china or india – harley’s answer is the same as walmart’s – foreign sourcing brings the highest return to their shareholders who do not care where the profits come from – as more bean counters take over the management this will only increase – the complainers should say thank you to every asian they meet – they allow them to exist

  14. 14 Dave Blevins Apr 18th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    For my 2 cents, the frames I use are made in my shop and springer fork asseblies too… but as Mr. Nicholas has stated it is very hard to assure the steel I use is American made, even though I buy it from an American steel supplier! I have used (as many shops have) foreign made telescoping forks, transmissions, etc but I try to use American made stuff whenever I can (that meaning when the customer understands USA made stuff will cost more and they will pay the difference. These days I mostly use RC Comp wheels, RC or Hawg Halter brakes, BDL Belt Drives, Crane HI4 ignitions, I rebuild old Harley motors & transmissions when I can or use Baker (although I have used Accessories Unlimited trannies in the past) and of course my own frames and forks.
    It is my belief that an actual all American made bike cannot be built, try sourcing bearings for instance, or bolts, tires, batteries (I make my own cables and wiring harness, but heaven only knows where the damn wire comes from, and it can’t all be helped. You can only do so much to assure the sources of your components, but it is my belief that the majority of parts can be USA made. When I have customers on a shoestring budget or that don’t care about the origin of thier parts, I simply have them source thier own parts from Jireh or Ebay or wherever and bring them to me. This at least releases me from having to bare the cost of replacing crappy parts for them, and then they can learn the lessen of getting higher quality USA made parts next time without crawling my ass.
    As far as clothing goes, we’re all just out of luck on that one… the N.A.F.T.A. killed the American garment industry, I know that first hand. I am smack in the middle of the cotton belt and watched dozens of plants close with my hometown losing 5600 sewing related jobs in a matter of months, so don’t damn Harley or Indian for buying foreign made apparel, there is no where else to source it thanks to the Clinton administration a few years back so DAMN THE CLINTONS. You can also thank the Clintons for the loss of a major port in Long Beach, CA. to the Chinese, don’t believe me… look it up, it’s public knowledge and easily available.
    In closing, as Cyril said, buy what you want but buyer beware. As for me and my shop, USA made is the rule whenever possible.

  15. 15 Grayhawk Apr 18th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Jeff Nicklus and Dave Blevins credit to you or raisin pie as we used to say, pretty straight up reply to what you do and why.

    Jeff acknowledged the world wide craftsmen contributions and their merits and his business decisions and why. It is obvious he is in control of his Business’s and cognizant of producing a good product and protecting the bottom line to be profitable. Dave followed with the same. After all it is a common sense business and livelihoods we are discussing.

    Consumers such as me can be no more hypocritical on the consumer side then we are saying we expect from the business side so we should support by making sure business’s have a level playing field to compete. That is you gigging your representatives and not just complaining over a beer or reality show, this is reality and the economics are at stake.

    Now the root issue. We have a cold do we treat it or eliminate it.

    I have stated in previous blogs, as Americans, Europeans and the Southlanders, we can not forget the Aussies and Kiwis, can not be the only ones on the planet that adhere to safety, environmental, and modern industrial and product liability standards/requirements and be expected to compete from a cost of doing business standpoint. The groups in this paragraph make some pretty good stuff just not at the same price point nor can even produce some of the parts or products because of constraints that are in place in our/their respective countries.

    You can not stop using fossils fuels overnight and I am not ready for an electric whisper bike except maybe for a little electric scoot to get me around a swap meet. It is still snowing north of the Mason/Dixon line and its almost May and maybe weather is a bit cyclic.

    China, Pakistan, India and the Russian Republics will not come on board in respect to EPA and labor laws for a few more decades if ever so the environment and cost structure is still impacted.

    One atmosphere you know, just not the gloom and doom as presented today in my opinion, that which is/has been costing some or most industrialized nations right out of the manufacturing business along with labor differentials.

    We can improve conditions at a pace that works for all and pressure those that do nothing to be involved as well and as such we should be able to breath without masks and make the playing field a bit leveler. Just don’t kill the horse that is pulling your wagon.


  16. 16 john reed Apr 18th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Hey Fisk,
    first time I,ve heard any sense from you.
    You must have grown a pair of balls

  17. 17 burnout Apr 18th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    THANK YOU Mr Blevins! I thought I was the only one who remembered Clinton’s NAFTA. Many years ago it was considered a luxury to import certain items. Unfortunately, buying a custom bike part is a gamble if I have never used it before. Cheap transmissions speak for themselves but I usually know where they come from. A owner that rides their bike like they stole it NEEDS the best transmission available. Without mentioning a brand, my least favorite tranny(korean) retails for as much as my favorite( rhymes with baker). So, even if the parts are labeled with country of origin………………………….. ? made in ?, produced in,? and my favorite, Distributed in the U.S. by ?I just won’t know how good they are til I flog em! peace

  18. 18 James (Kiwi) Apr 18th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks to Gray Hawk for remembering the South Pacfic.

    One thing that pisses off people down here is that we often buy on-line or through a local dealer and do not get to inspect the goods before purchase. Not allot is stocked here as we are only 4.2 million people.
    So you order your parts expecting that it is made in the USA and it is a high end well crafted product and when it arrives it has Made in Taiwan stamped on it.
    Kinda takes the glow off the purchase.
    Guess case of buyer beware but often if you ask questions they are not interested.
    We do not have allot of manufacturing so rely on the USA and others.And expect USA advertised products to be from the USA!!

    As Gray Hawk so rightly points out there are often no EPA or similar structures in place to monitor their pollution so these countries are literally shitting in their own nests.
    But save on a huge cost of compliance!!
    China is running out of Potable (drinking) water.What they are doing is not sustainable.!!
    Only a handful of yers ago they had the 10th biggest fresh water delta in the world now it is totaly polluted.
    I have heard a figure that 10% of all the worlds crops are grown in the sewage oufalls of third world countries and then exported to the USA,NZ,Aus etc.
    We do not even have label of origin on our food cause we don’t want to upset China.
    Makes me very angy
    Does the USA have label of origin for food??


  19. 19 fisk Apr 18th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    james – the co marking on food just went into effect – motorcycle parts marking has been required for years – on the label in letters bigger than the biggest font on the label – the law says that parts must be marked’as visibley and indelibly as possible where it can be viewed when the part is mounted on the vehicle depending on the nature of the part’ – no one does this except on rims and then not always in the right place – in reality no one gives a shit – the industry talks a lot but votes with their wallets

  20. 20 James (Kiwi) Apr 19th, 2009 at 3:00 am

    My comments also were slightly tangental but it was within the common thread.Do not put shit on others if you want to hide behind some flaky name.At least he uses his real name and says it as he see’s it!!!
    Go take a Kryptonite enema.

    Right back on task.

    Thanks Fisk,most of the big countries have had label of origon for a while but little guys like us are afraid of upsetting the new 3rd world powers.
    A mate of mine, not long ago bought a 6 speed box for his 88” Shovel thinking it was USA built.
    NA ..was not, he would have paid more, he is not wealthy but not poor either.His bike is his labor of love, he is putting everything into it.He would of paid the extra if he had known!!!
    So it is important even for the USA export earnings that everyone knows where products are made.
    Great article in the Horse on the Baker 6 speed.Compares with a Korean made product must say that it is a technical read, but worth the time.!!!!

    This is a great Blog but people should not flame others.
    Got it ..superman

    James (Kiwi)

  21. 21 MotoXcycle Apr 19th, 2009 at 7:29 am

    All of our parts are manufactured in Canada.

    Our steel comes from mills in Canada, USA and Spain.

    The raw aluminum is produced here in Quebec, and then sent to USA to be made into useable sheet and extrusions, then some of it ends up being shipped back here to be used by manufacturers here in Quebec. The roller bearings on our internal throttles are made in Japan.

    Our aluminum welding rods are made in the USA, the steel rods come from a US company but there is no mention of where the rods are actually made and the stainless steel rod we use is made in Italy.

    We do a large amount of custom designing and fabricating of one-of a kind items. It would be hard to compete globally if we were doing high volume manufacturing.

    A lot of high quality goods can be found coming out of Taiwan but the pricing has increased as their costs increase.

    South Korea is very capable of making high quality parts at a lower price. Their labor costs across the board are lower than labor costs in the USA.

    China seems to favor high volume, unbeliveable low pricing with sub-standard quality control. Taiwan used to be at this level around twenty years ago.

    Companies attacking other companies happens all of the time. I imagine Rivera Primo will respond to this “stick in the ribs” with their own “transmission case upside the head” response.

    Fausto Simoes

  22. 22 Brock Apr 19th, 2009 at 8:31 am

    mtnrdr wrote : Try and decipher the marketing lingo of Ultima for starters. Where is it actually originating… the parts or the whole?!

    Can mtnrdr get a honest true answer here ? He isn’t alone when it comes to questions about Ultima.

    One thing on leather apparel there is American made leathers that is manufactured in Virginia that has full lifetime warranty. You will not find leathers like this in any Harley dealership.

    Thanks to Cyril for this topic.

  23. 23 Troy Apr 19th, 2009 at 8:40 am

    When ordering metal from a metal supplier, you can request material certification, it costs extra, but states the country of origin, and the percentages of the elements in the metal. I get material certs. for every piece of metal that comes in my shop, so I know where it comes from and what it contains.

  24. 24 Bobfather Apr 19th, 2009 at 10:46 am

    As with most builders we know of, we strive to use US made parts whenever possible regardless of what the customer wants to spend. All of our core components that we use on every bike come from well known suppliers, Daytec, S&S, Baker, PM, BDL, Spyke,etc. Avon is our tire brand of choice and we make no secret of that. Sheetmetal comes from sources like Fat Katz, Milwaukee Iron, Kraftech, Kustomwerks, etc. Brake lines always come from Goodridge. Top motor mounts, coul mounts, coil covers and key switch mounts always come from Yankee Engineuity. Front ends and wheels come from various sources depending on the build and model of bike and/or what the customer wants to use. As with other we can’t always guarantee where a source like CCI or Biker’s Choice may have purchased the parts we use from their catalogs. We do strive to use as many US made products in every build though and have the best pricing given the high quality and high number of US made parts we do use in every bike we build.
    Our apparel line comes from California mills and is printed locally in San Jose.

  25. 25 Cadillac Joe D. Apr 19th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Bobfather…….many if not all of the companies you list have something in there line up that is import.

    As Fisk said, the public in general are making business decission based on profitablity. If they don’t, they won’t be in business for long.

    That doesn’t for a minute mean that the product quality is less than excellent. Looks like you are using some good stuff.

    The product in reality is only as good as the company selling it. If you work well with a supplier, you know they back what they sell, and you trust their integrity to know they sell the best available product, then you and your customers are in good shape regardless of the origin.

    The original question is….who would you rather do business with in this instance, ACC. Unlimited or Rivera? The price is the price.

    Personally, I look at the overall value of what I am buying or selling. Even if it is the exact same part, the vendor you are buying from is where the real value is.

    If they do nothing but sell to you and disappear and you stand alone after the purchase, then price is everything. If the vendor relationship is of value, then let them make a buck. That is why we all work, to make money.

  26. 26 J Apr 19th, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Truly amazing- collectively, the contributors on this thread have already demonstrated FAR greater expertise regarding foreign capital trade than the sum total of the current Cabinet and Treasury department…….

    Seriously, if a bunch of chopper guys can figure this out, then what’s the problem?

    Ditto the NAFTA comments- it’s no coincidence that Clinton has collected 100’s of millions of $’s for his “library” from foreign entities over the past eight years…..”Thanks, Willie- here’s yer kickback……….”

  27. 27 Fab Kevin Apr 20th, 2009 at 7:27 am

    “if no parts wer made in taiwan china korea or japan or italy the custom motorcycle business would be 10% of it’s current size – manufacturers could not afford the tooling or plating costs in the u.s.”

    T O T A L B U L L C R A P !!!

    More appropriately: “if no parts were made in Taiwan, then the importers of those parts wouldn’t be able to realize 400 to 500 percent profits”

    There isn’t a single motorcycle part on a new Harley that couldn’t be made here, and still keep the company profitable. The key is: how profitable? The greed of shareholders has destroyed just about every ounce of manufacturing in this country.

    The question isn’t “can we afford to make stuff here”, the question REALLY is: “can we keep a bunch of guys living in luxury vacation condos, playing golf everyday happy by exporting all of our manufacturing base and selling the products made overseas back to ourselves at prices that allow for tremendous profits?? And, for how long can we do this??”

  28. 28 THUGCUSTOMCYCLES Apr 20th, 2009 at 7:32 am


  29. 29 JB Apr 20th, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Fab Kevin has hit the nail on the head. And it applies to all western countries including the UK where I am.

  30. 30 Brian Klock Apr 20th, 2009 at 9:02 am

    We are proud to report that all of our products are made right here at home in the USA!
    Interesting Topic Cyril, keep up the great work and thanks to all who are discussing it.

  31. 31 Kenny Price Apr 20th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    W are also proud of the fact that all our products are made right here in the good ol’ USA! You would not believe how many are made outside the USA. Tons of shit. And you dont even know it. Good one Brian.

  32. 32 Arin / Wicked Image Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Wicked Image ” Made in the U.S.A.”

  33. 33 Mike Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I am not sure we need to have a discussion about how much USA content is required to say “made in the USA” – because there are already federal laws for that.

    Likewise I am not sure we need to have a discussion about whether manufacturers need to state where parts are made, because we have laws for that also.

    There are two things I think are interesting about Cyril’s post.

    First, trying to elevate yourself by putting someone else down NEVER works. EVER. It’s just bad business. It is one of the worst things a salesman can do, to attack another company or product. To me, the email posted shows “Accessories Unlimited” are not very ethical or smart businesspeople, and I wouldn’t want to be involved with them.

    The second thing, to address the made in the USA vs. Made Elsewhere topic is that I fully support companies who make stuff anywhere, with two caveats. First, I think EVERYONE who sells a part in the USA should have USA liability insurance. Not only is the cheap chinese junk, well, junk, but if you get hurt using it, you’re SOL. Good luck getting any satisfaction from the guy on eBay working out of his basement who sold it to you for $9.95. Second, we should overhaul the IP marketplace. It should be easier to protect your products and ideas, it should be less confusing, less expensive, less hassle, and the gov’t should be more strict about enforcement, especially from foreign countries (I’m talking US Customs who have the power to halt import of infringing parts). It’s real tough for a hard working American to come up with a cool cycle part idea, only to see it knocked off in the Custom Chrome catalog made by some unknown and undisclosed dude in China. So I also propose that ANY company that wants to import parts to the USA should also carry USA General Liablity Insurance, so that if they are knocking people off, you have someone to sue.

    Of course both of these insurance policies would need to be paid up front, and would need to be tied in with US Customs (like a drivers license), so if your insurance is lapsed, your stuff gets rejected at the border.

  34. 34 Keith Horschel Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Here at Jaybrake we are proud to say that we machine all of our own products right here in New York State.
    As stated earlier, you can request certifications when ordering raw materials which gives country of origin. Close to 10 years ago we imposed a $250 penatly for any shipment of material we recieved that was non-domestic. Our supplers would send material without looking at the certs or hope that we did not. Once we rejected a few shipments and backcharged a $250 processing fee….. the problem was over.

  35. 35 metalarts Apr 20th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I have been an American manufacturer for over 26 years. We own and operate our own investment casting foundry/ welding/machine shop/finishing /polishing departments..try to do as much in house as possible. In a quarter century we have seen most of our major accounts go overseas…. I cannot compete with the prices…. and quite frankly my customers could not compete having parts manufactured in America..I truely undersatand the challnges facing any business when forced to compete with foreign manufacterers who are not saddled with layers of bureaucratic red tape, fees, licences, mandated labor costs, and environmental safeguards that we have in America. It’s just a matter of time until HD is owned by a foreign company..Honda? America better wake up.

  36. 36 Patrick R. Apr 20th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I sell both imported and American made parts…I will always let the customer know where the part is made if they ask. Most dont, its almost a given now days that parts are made overseas. Nine times out of ten, the imported part is as good as the American made part. I do think we as Americans need to make more of our own products. Outsourcing is part of the reason why the economy is in the crapper….

  37. 37 BD Apr 20th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    The real issue here I believe is the USA companies who are attempting to mislead the consumers by not publicly stating that the parts are import. Or stating that many of the internal components are imported. To me that is low and borderline stealing!!! If you want to do business with these types this stuff will continue. If you choose to buy American and are willing to pay a higher price then you should get what you paid for. There is no crime in buying an import part if it is stated as so. The old expression “buyer Beware” come to mind

  38. 38 MM Billetworks Apr 20th, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    MM Billetworks manufactures all components here in the U.S.

    As Metalarts stated, governmental regulation places many challenges in front of us in America, which other nations do not impose upon their manufacturers. It continues to become more and more challenging to manufacture anything in the U.S.

    Long term continues to appear challenging.

  39. 39 Rodent Apr 20th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Imported products should be so marked clearly and in large letters “NOT MADE IN USA made in bumfuck”

  40. 40 South Side Kustoms Apr 20th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    WOW BIG SURPRISE! Really are some of you serious when you say you had no clue? Look at the kind of money they have been raping the public for their product. I can’t believe people honestly say they believe everything in writing on the package, or can’t believe to find out how much of their “American motorcycle or parts or any other AMERICAN product actually consists of other smaller foreign products”…Honestly I know for a fact alot of people had no clue one major parts manufacture–everyone was confinced their fenders and tanks were made here in the states, until I pointed out the little print on the box that said “Made in Tiawan”—HOLY JESUS PEOPLE

    Here this is a perfect example “Guys next time you go out to buy your motorcycle parts, purchase them like you were puchasing your stereo equipment” You choose one Asian company over another–why?” Do the same with you motorcycle parts or your car parts – hell you want a big surprise look at plumbing parts the next time you wander into home depot to replace a trap on the ol’ kitchen sink.

    I am glad the American public is finally demanding answers, and for change…do I honestly believe this change will last, –NO – I believe the majority will get consummed with cost and vouch for the cheaper products—not realizing in the long haul you save money, when you buy the better product from get go…instead of buying the cheaper and then replacing it later on how much did you save? Why do I believe this – we ended up in this mess didn’t we, plus day in and day out people call, ask for a price on (lets say) spoke wheels…they say are they American made…I say no, the American ones cost this much (AND SSK KEEPS OUR MARKUP TO A MINIMUM–TO KEEP PEOPLE HAPPY) – the customer then says it’s that much of a difference (usually $200-$400) between the American and the Other import – I say yes, but you are getting a better product with the American made company and they are made right here in the states, guess what the customer usually chooses….the import.

    If your that concerned, call your builder when you go to purchase your next bike ask how much, what parts are being used…atleast we can tell you why and what. Try getting that kinda answer from your Harley – Indian – or Victory dealer. Atleast the builders that post on this forum, judging by the repsonses, can tell you what parts they use and why and cost differences..and if you want the best price and best parts and can afford it I am sure anyone of us will be willing to help you..or supply you with a good education when ordering your parts..atleast I know we do at South Side Kustoms.

  41. 41 Vince Apr 20th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    We buy our steel in mil runs from mills in the great lakes area. We manufacture almost every part in house in Huntington Beach, California. Even the few plastic parts we use (Perimeter Valves) are sourced in the USA. Metal goes in one door and finished forks go out the other. We also manufacture motorcycle parts in Huntsville, Alabama.
    We control almost every aspect of our manufacturing process. We would lose that control if we manufactured in China. We continually redesign, refine and improve our product. We could not do that if we manufactured in China.
    We have spent a lot of money on patents. We have spent a lot of money building our own manufacturing infrastructure.
    Yes I know that the trend is to make everything in China. In 1950, the number of USA workers in goods-producing industries accounted for 41% of all employment. It is now closer to 10%. But I like making motorcycle parts and I plan to continue to do so. You will not find a Springer front end that has as good a ride quality as ours. You will not find a hydraulic fork that can withstand the power of a Boss Hoss V-8 and still give excellent ride. I believe there will always be some buyers who will want my products.

  42. 42 Conrad Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:04 pm


    You the “Vince” from American Suspension?

    Conrad Nicklus

  43. 43 ¿ Apr 21st, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I put a lot of this on “righteous riders” that continued to buy anything harley put out, regardless of content while thumbing their noses at everybody else’s ride and acting all smug & haughty. I see them dressed in their H-D motorclothes made in Indonesia riding by with a huge (made in China) US flag stuck in a Korean holder on there H-D bike with so much foriegn content that the MoCo is ashamed to make it known. These folks paid a premium price and act like their shit don’t stink. What ever happened to the “three flags” system they had in around 1997 or so? There were 3 US flags available as a ranking system but I can’t remember all the details-one was for US Content, one for US Assembly, and one for US ownership. I remember being surprised that my new Honda Valkyrie had 2 flags just like the Road King; Mine were for US content & assembly, H-D’s were for US Assembly & Ownership……………………………….

  44. 44 Ridethebeast Apr 21st, 2009 at 11:48 am

    When I first started in the business I could legitimately say that 1/4 of the Billet Products I designed and sold were made in Taiwan. I actually flew over their, visited the factories and met with the same trading company that supplies Drag, V-twin(Taiwan Tedd), Bikers Choice and Mid-West (all the stuff that is not the name brand stuff they get domestically) and some of our beloved Ness products also.(Just to lay the record straight I completely respect what Arlen,Cory and their family have done for the Industry). Now going back to my point, the reality was that I could not get the quality and craftmanship that I was getting the in the US. However, I was able to get prices that were untouchable. It is hard to compete against 1.00 and hour wages, no benefits and people who feel lucky that they even have a job and who work 7 days a week. Their is no mindset for advancement, no pride in their workmanship, and or sense of creating a product that they feel satisfaction and honor when completed; knowing that in time it will be on someones ride. To a laborer in Taiwan your nicely machined and chromed (without Nickel plating LOL) derby cover has the same value as a Petsmart dog frisbee. Most the parts manufacturered their, the laborers have no idea what they are used for other then the obvious (handlebars, exhaust ect.). Their are some factories that have ISO 9001 and ISO 9002 international manufacturing standards that force them to turn out decent products but in our industry those are few and far between. Needless to say this does nothing for the our domestic industry. Since then I have switched to having all my billet products made here by machine shops who know what they are making and are excited to get my designs and CAD files. Do I pay the the price, YES! Do my machine shops whore my products to into the industry: NO. Do I get the quality and pride, YES! Do I have control over the workmanship: YES! Can I sleep in bed at night knowing I’ve done my part (like Vince from American Suspension, Brian from Clockwerks) to help our country.. YOU BET!

  45. 45 Kenny Price Apr 21st, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t really see why there is a problem of being honest about where your parts are made. Samson’s products are 100% American made including the raw materials. I feel if someone has something to hide there is some type of problem.

  46. 46 BD Apr 21st, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Kenny Price is right on the money. As I previously posted there is no issue with parts being imported and sold as such. They should be and are supposed to be clearly marked as to the country of origin. The real problem is the deceit of some company owners and employees not making known that the parts are made off shore. The price should also reflect whether it is a import or domestic made item. Once again it is Buyer Beware unfortunately.

  47. 47 B'COOL Products Apr 21st, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    All B’COOL Products fenders are manufactured in Canada, however, not sure of the origin of the steel, aluminum and copper. For us to export into the US we must attach a “Made in Canada” label to the part and the outside of the box. All of our valued customers are aware of this when they purchase our products.

    Imported doesn’t always mean Made in China!

    Randy Briley
    B’COOL Products

  48. 48 KCR Apr 22nd, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Fab Kevin….100% correct.
    Ive worked for a harley supplier. We made shock components by the thousands on a dailey basis. We sold a specific part to the suspension manufacturer for $1.73 each. To buy that same part from your local harley dealer would run $22.75. Outragous mark up. Whores are everywhere, from street corners to CEO’s. All of them want more for less. manufactureing is more and more cut-throat everyday. But as everybody know’s, a great product will sell itself. What makes them great is not the price, but what goes into the price.

  49. 49 Chopper Kid Apr 23rd, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    This country needs a middle class again and not the one where the dad and the mom both work 2 jobs each. Need to bring back the unions and brotherhood in communities, Fair trade not free trade and the filthy rich at the top squeezing pennies out of the homeless to help his bottom line, well, we all know what needs to happen to those kind of people, they need a serious reality check. The bad thing about this economy goint to the toilet is that the super rich go from being worth about 50 mill to 6 mill and the middle class worker goes from having a retirement to no retirement.

    And remember
    “Trends Suck”

  50. 50 mtnrdr Apr 23rd, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Fab Kevin is right on…and as a fellow michigan guy… can certainly relate more so with what is happening in our Great Lake State…how about we consider the clothing or shoe industry(nike for one) and the scrutiny they have come under for ‘sweat shop’ labor in the wonderful ‘state’ of China and any other Asian manufacturing countries. The parts manufactured for this great industry are made at a equivalent level of slave labor standards and have just not been held to the light of day …yet… ….none ..none are any better what goes into the parts/accesories that go into the USA catalogs here is a shame on all for the greed driven factor that outs them there and people buy them..still…no difference from the ‘nike’ ‘gap’ world we all are just not as hyper critical of the source of the product…and people young and old are paid a pittance to make these “””quality””” parts for all of us to buy buy buy….we need to say enough is enough and create a made in the USA consortium of parts and builders who will only buy when they can right here in our country…we will survive this mess… we will.. despite the companies, and catalogs being a major contributor to this, wthin this industry that are unfortunately beholding to shareholders, hedge funds and private equity greed mongers that have presently destroyed this industy, this country and the moral of the “real” people that make this country great on their backs… I know ramble some here but the frustration cannot be over empasized this is a time like no other that any of us have lived in and should never have had to.

  51. 51 KCR Apr 24th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Sorry chopperkid, but i dont agree. We dont need to bring back unions. The strength of the UAW is a major cause in the downfall of domestic automakers. Ive been in a union (GM) family all my life, and they dont help good workers any more than the help bad workers. Everybody is created equally, but some take advantage of it. Ive seen too many worthless workers keep their jobs because the union had more power than the company. Unions are good to have on some cases, but they only protect the people that need protecting. if we all took pride in our work and lives, we wouldnt need others (unions)help to keep our jobs.

  52. 52 6061 T6 May 19th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I think that one of the biggest problem in the custom motorcycle industry is the fact that people in the industry say they make their own products when the majority of them don’t even come up with the ideas. They are simply ride on the backs of the hard work of others and driving the cost to a point where they can’t be made available to most people in North America.
    Take a look at MM Billetworks web site. Not one thing on his site was made in the USA, it was all manufactured in a small shop in Ontario Canada called TBM Tool and Die.
    That is one of the major problems with the manufacturing industry today in North America. Don’t say you make it if in reality you really don’t!!! It just makes it harder for us manufactures that are making a good product at a reasonable price.

  53. 53 Diablo May 19th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    My 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 twin will out run any Hardley I have had the chance to go with-same for my 79 900 Ducati bevel twin. Hand made sand cast motors from Italy- Bosch electrics made in Germany. These bikes out run and out handle any stretched bloated pig loaded with Chinese chrome and a 300 rear rubber. Twins with soul are out there you just need to pull your peanut helmeted heads out of your ass and buy a few tools. Or just break down and pay cash for a 50’s Harley Davidson that was really Made in the USA. House of Nan-King makes some great sesame chicken but I don’t wanna ride it no matter how shiny it looks.

  54. 54 Big Joe Mar 21st, 2010 at 9:04 am

    The bottom line is, all these guys that think they are bad asses on there newer H.D.s and look down on the guys riding Japanese cruisers are actually riding on the same amount of foreign debri themselves. As a matter of fact, some of the Japanese bikes after market parts such as cobra, are made in USA. So who’s bike is more foreign these days after all?

    To own a 100% USA Harley, you need to buy one which was made before AMF made them in the 70s. (THAT’S ALL FOLKS)

  55. 55 DavidR Jun 19th, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Came across this site while searching for American made products. I would like to add, while shopping for my son ,a member of The Boy Scouts of “America” in the local scout shop last summer,I found that the shirts they sell are no longer “union made” in the USA. They are produced over seas at a cheaper cost I’ll bet. But the BSA still sells them for $30 or so. And in addition most of the gear they sell 99% I’ll wager is and has been for years now outsourced. It’s a crime.

  56. 56 eBay shop Design Sheffield Jul 29th, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Nice post, thank you for sharing this.

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