Should A Motorcycle Always Look Like A Motorcycle?

occ3TSgt Randy Redman, of Public Affairs at USAF Thunderbirds sent me the following letter about a new OCC theme bike. Personally, I don’t challenge the quality of the fab. work or deny the fact that OCC has probably accomplished the mission assigned by its client Norhop Gruman, but I still think that a motorcycle should look like a motorcycle, not a plane…or anything else. And you? The bike will air (pun intended) in a next Teutul”s episode saga on TLC.

“I came across the Cyril Huze blog recently and I enjoy the diversity of articles you include, from upcoming innovations and new technology to classic reproductions. Great stuff. I just found something your readers might enjoy with regards to custom bikes. I know there are plenty of people who bash the OCC guys, but they do put out some pretty interesting stuff occasionally. They were recently commissioned by Norhrop Gruman to build a B-2 Stealth Bomber bike to celebrate the aircraft’s 20th anniversary” More by jumping HERE.

Zipper's

39 Responses to “Should A Motorcycle Always Look Like A Motorcycle?”


  1. 1 ian May 15th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    i wonder if that OCC Stealth technology will help you evade a speeding ticket?

  2. 2 Vlad May 15th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I’m not going to bash the OCC over this bike. They are paid to provide a service & product to the customer & make something they want to pay for. Who can be picky about the work they do in this economy, especially when you need to worry about payroll & overhead? I guess some of the stuff is bordering on being a bit silly, but if the customer likes/wants something like that why not?
    😉
    Hey, at least they didn’t add wings & the rotary tailgunner exhausts! LOL
    http://www.tailgunnerexhaust.com/special-bikes08.php

  3. 3 Robin May 15th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Cyril,

    What does a motorcycle look like? Certainly you are not insinuating that you, even as accomplished a custom builder as you are, represent the ultimate authority on what constitutes the definition of motorcycle based solely on appearance. Of course not as you have invited comment. I respect your opinion, as I do anyone’s opinion, but if bikes modeled after aircraft aren’t really motorcycles, what about three wheelers? Are they motorcycles? Perhaps only if they are sidecars attached to a two wheeled bike that doesn’t look like a B-2 bomber. That would eliminate all trikes with a straight rear axle and would also eliminate machines with a single back wheel and two front wheels like the Can-Am and the T-Rex. How about the Arlen Ness built Mach Ness powered by a jet engine with bodywork that looks like a jet. Arlen, apparently all you built was a jet that won’t fly even though it looks cool, sounds awesome and draws crowds from all around when running down the street on two wheels. Continuing to consider an icon of custom motorcycle builders, how about Arlen’s Nesstalgia — is it just a 57 Chevy sliced, chopped, shortened and set-up to run on two wheels — actually a car that just happens to have a motorcycle engine? A couple of years back I photographed a boat mounted on a trailer with an engine running through the rear two wheel axle and a steering mechanism controlling the single front wheel. Not what most would think of when considering the definition of a motorcycle. It is registered in the state of Florida as a motorcycle. There you have it, Cyril. We don’t really have to determine what constitutes a motorcycle, the government, for better or worse, has already done it for us.

    I’ll conclude with a little personal insight. Many years back when I was getting my college degree in photography I took an art history class to satisfy a history credit. I didn’t expect to benefit much from it, or for that matter from a photography history class that was required for the degree. To this day I use concepts learned in those two classes in my composition and lighting considerations for every photograph I take. Everything has relevance, if we allow it to. The relevance here is not to ostracize our biker brothers just because they build different from us. We are all different from those that only ride in cages. If it weren’t for the entire biker community we would not have the the degree of freedom that currently exists or the respect from communities everywhere, except for the City of Myrtle Beach. That’s about as far as I go in bad-mouthing someone or someplace. I do feel very sad for the many local businesses in the Myrtle Beach area that have and continue to support the bikers and for the great storm cloud hanging over the event due to the ignorance and prejudice of a few. They have decided that anything registered as a motorcycle is not welcome in their community, whether it “looks like a motorcycle” or not. Let us not even slightly act like those ignorant and prejudice clowns.

  4. 4 Conrad May 15th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Hey look, it looks just like ever other OCC out there. Big Woop

  5. 5 John E Adams May 15th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    It started out nice in spots – don’t like the end result however…

    ian,

    … it can be done via angles/and special coatings and/or just dump all of the metal on the frame and shield the engine – a new start up perhaps -;0)

  6. 6 ian May 15th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I agree John – the only reason to have a Stealth OCC Chopper is so that no one will see you on it!

  7. 7 T May 15th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I’ll give you one better
    Why should a Honda look like a Harley?

  8. 8 Dave Blevins May 15th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    To each his own, I suppose… but I don’t care for it.

  9. 9 JC May 15th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    “Contribute to the Culture…….Don’t Exploit it”

  10. 10 Dave Blevins May 15th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Here’s an idea, since OCC now sells Ducatti bikes, why not black out one of thier Ducs? They already have an angular, stealthy look, and are a world class bike… no gimmick needed.

  11. 11 Fred P. May 15th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I think you all need to remember John Covington of Surgical Steeds. He actually built a stealth fighter bike when the jet first was released, ten years ago. He also has a bike that is fashioned after the 60’s era Cobra race car.That one made it into the motorcycle hall of fame.
    Very talented guy that never got enough credit for his work.

  12. 12 kre8 May 15th, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    This bike has received a lot of flack since it’s conception and rightly so in my mind. I first heard about it on Twitter from either @fredmotorco or @ironworksmag — anyway, this bike is your typical OCC piece of crap. If it’s not gimmick or glam it’s not OCC. What a joke.

  13. 13 jatinder pal May 16th, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Love it hate it…OCC built some of the most innovative bikes like IROBOT,GILLETE and CAT bike…they have very good working machines tooo.

  14. 14 Doc Robinson May 16th, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Love ’em or hate ’em, the boys at American Chopper have done more to make the public – and especially the kids out there – more turned on to custom bikes from mild to wild to downright stupid than anyone else on the planet. Just as Star Trek and other sci-fi films motivated many boys and girls to become scientists in various disciplines, so the Teutuls have/will inspire the next generation or two of custom builders. Hey, think about how exciting the Stealth Bomber bike is to kids – way more so than any “ordinary” custom chopper or bobber. Two words for OCC – IT’S ENTERTAINMENT!

  15. 15 Rogue May 16th, 2009 at 6:28 am

    It should be well known by now that I have nothing good to say about OCC.
    I do Not care for the motorcycles they assemble But to each his own.
    I think Paul Senior is a ass and I have had words with him on more than one ocassion because of how he talked to someone especially young people waiting to pay for a autograph on some over priced piece of crap he was selling.
    Hopefully some day we will stop hearing about OCC, not that I see that coming anytime soon because the antics of motorcycling’s disfunctional family will be humerous to many as well as the things they call motorcycles.
    ROGUE

  16. 16 Knucklehead May 16th, 2009 at 7:20 am

    I’m with Robin on this one. I also have to agree with Rogue. Sr. did that just as my grandson was to get an autograph except he talked like that as he had had enough and was not signing anymore. The grandson had to hear Sr’s mouth and NOT get what the little fella waited for for an hour to get.

  17. 17 thug custom cycles May 16th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    WHO THE HELL WOULD WANNA BE SEEN ON THAT CRAP!! I’M SORRY GUYS BUT IF YOU RODE A BIKE LIKE THAT IN FLORIDA OR OUR BIKE NITE PEOPLE AND GONNA LAUGH THEIR ASSES OFF !!! I MEAN REALLY….. JUST STOP IT!!!! BUILD A REAL BIKE THAT SOMEONE WILL RIDE…. STICK TO THE T SHIRT BUSINESS, PUT IT IN THE PAINT JOB!! DONT MAKE THE BIKE THE PAINT JOB…I HATE THEME BIKES!!!! SO OVER IT….GOSH…WE NEED A REAL SHOW OF REAL SHOP LIFE….RIDE HARD OR GO HOME……..

  18. 18 bigalyts May 16th, 2009 at 8:48 am

    YOU GOT TO GIVE THOSE BOYS CREDIT, THEY ARE UNIQUE. I remember walking down one of the Streets in Daytona Bch a number of years ago and running across one of their First Creations. It was the Spiderman Bike. It was really “UNIQUE” as well. It was so long ago that they were not displaying their Bike or Bikes anywhere, but on this side street. I saw Jessie James later in the Day selling T-Shirts under his Tent on Main St. I asked him “Hey Jessie whada you think of that Spiderman Bike? He Ressponded with a Classic remark” Its allright I guess but, I Like More Bike and Less Bullshit” ! Here it is 8 or 9 years later and that line of Jessie still WORKS !

  19. 19 Joe May 16th, 2009 at 10:02 am

    The irony is, Paul Sr. is sitting in his huge warehouse garage admiring his collection of motorcycles and muscle cars, all bought with money he made by selling this “crap” as most people seem to call it. Lots of people must like OCC’s stuff if he can get that rich off it! Oh yea, they probably sold a lot of OCC Cologne too, so that probably helped he he.

  20. 20 Jim C May 16th, 2009 at 10:10 am

    It was built for a company who wanted to incorporate what they build into the bike. It looks like they accomplished that. It takes imagination and creativity to do what OCC does. As far as their other bikes,I have had the PLEASURE of riding a couple of their production bikes and I must say that they are well designed and because of that handle very well and ride very well. I think their prices are still a bit high compared to other production bikes but I can not fault them on the quality of the parts that are used for the most part on their bikes. A lot of smaller bike companies out there are using a lot of Taiwan parts on their bike all the while bashing OCC. Looks to me while they are bashing they should be looking in the mirror and questioning their real reasons for bashing OCC.
    Love them,like them or hate them,OCC has brought a lot of attention to the motorcycle industry. As has Jesse,Arlen and others including Cyril. One other thing,have you ever been around Jesse? He is worse than Paul Sr in a lot of ways when it comes to taking care of his fans. He basically just told the working class guy,who was buying his parts to build a bike like him, to F#$k off when he closed down his parts line and he has told multitudes of kids to go away and quit bugging him for an autograph. It is funny you never hear anyone say anything bad about Jesse even though in reality he is a LOT worse than any of the Teutuls. “More bike and less bulls$#t” -have you ever priced one of his bikes? LOL talk about over priced!

  21. 21 Jeff Nicklus May 16th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Jim C.,

    One must remember that Jesse was in the industry before TV, the Teutuls are here because of TV …. a big differance my friend!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  22. 22 David May 16th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    You guy’s dont even get it. This bike was built with TAXPAYER money.Nothrup Gruman build the b-2 for the govt they paid for it with the taxpayers money so now this bike belongs to the taxpayers.I really hate to see any of you out riding this thing on the public roads so maybe we can just keep it in the hangar and admire it.
    David

  23. 23 thug custom cycles May 16th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I JUST BOUGHT THAT BIKE ON EBAY!!!!!!!!! THEN I BURNED IT TO THE GROUND…..LOL….THATS FUNNY…..LMAF

  24. 24 bigalyts May 16th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    jESSE IS A JERKOFF, BUT HE SURE PICKED A MOVIE STARR FOR A WIFE! HE IS IN LOVE WITH HIMSELF. DO YOU THINK ONE OF US COULD TAKE A SHOT AT SANDRA , WHILE HI IS OUT THERE LUVIN’ HIMSELF???????????

  25. 25 Nicker May 16th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Back to the question at hand:

    RE:
    “…should a MC always look like an MC…”

    Your free to build anything your heart desires.

    On the other hand, you can’t make anyone take any interested in-em.

    My perspective….If it doesn’t look like it “should be” a MC, then i couldn’t care less about it.

    -nicker-

  26. 26 Nicker May 16th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Dave,

    RE:
    “… keep it in the hangar and admire it…”

    Well, exactly what is it about this design that you “admire”….???

    If anything, it gives me the impression of a “Monster Truck.”

    But then, that’s just how i see it.
    -nicker-

  27. 27 David May 16th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Nicker,

    You are right I just had a “Momentary Lapse of Reason” according to an old Pink Floyd song.
    Who could possibly “admire” this thing. Let’s just hide it behind the B-2 and maybe it will meltdown on takeoff.

    David

  28. 28 Fluke May 17th, 2009 at 7:03 am

    “Should a motorcycle always look like a motorcycle?”

    Whatever floats your boat, but if all bikes were stamped from a cookie cutter there would not bike a custom bike industry at all.

    Personally the lines of this bike are about as ugly as it can get, What gives with the tank/body pointing upwards like that? Both the fenders are appalling looking and solid wheels with a bunch of bolt on decoration pieces makes the engineer in me cringe. I hate overly stretched rigids anyway, which pretty much means i hate all OCC’s Fisher Price theme bikes.

    I am a fan of OCC, OK, not the bikes, but of the business plan. T shirts and merchandising have made the Teuteuls a lot of money, when if they had stuck to just bike building they would have been one of the many mostly forgettable shops who jumped on the custom bike bandwagon. If you don’t have real talent you need an alternative way of making your name known enough to charge premium prices your stuff. They found it by planning ahead and using media to their advantage, wheras Jesse seems to have happened upon it by circumstance.

    As for the TV show, jeez, even through the TV screen you can feel the negative vibes of a half empty “world headquarters” with absolutely no bikes to build and nothing else happening either.

    Fluke

  29. 29 Woody May 17th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I guess as “art” the bike was a success, as a bike not so much. ‘course a lot of that opinion might be based on WHO built the bike, not the bike itself.
    To be fair, how would we react to Ness’ original ’57 Bel Aire bike, if it had come out yesterday and the OCC circus had built it instead of Arlen?. I think it’s one of the coolest rides ever done, and launched the whole “outside the box” styling genre of custom “cartoon bikes” just like some of Barris and Roth’s TV and other cars. I.E. the Batmobile and Munstermobile were cool for what they were, but should Motor Trend or Consumer reports rip ’em a new one for poor handling or other function flaws?

  30. 30 Conrad May 17th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Thug,

    While OCC is building unique items youa re still typing in CAPS, being jealous and also building bikes that look identical to the late 90’s and early 2000’s Titans. Quit bitching.

    Bigalyts,

    You dont know Jesse at all and nor will you ever. So back off talking shit about people you dont even know. Jealousy is a very powerful drug and rumors are as well. Jesse isnt like what you think or hear.

  31. 31 Scharf May 18th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    That’s just but ugly!

  32. 32 Mazz May 18th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Don’t mean to get biblical on you all but, let he without sin cast the first stone. I suppose not one of you that is slamming this bike or the Teutels or Jesse James, have ever built anything or worked on something against your personal preference for money. Business is business, and although Paul Sr. and Jesse may seem miles apart they are both very smart businessmen. They have both brought their share of attention to this industry. You can love or hate them, go ahead, that’s your right, but they seem to have a passion and love for this industry that would be in line with any of you. Find the common ground, that common ground is the custom motorcycle industry, let just hope it survives this “recession” and comes out even better on the other end.

    I work with high school kids building custom motorcycles, I do my part for the industry because of my passion for the motorcycle. Not everyone likes our bikes, but they can look past that and see what the kids have done and what these kids will mean to the future of this industry. It’s easy to hate, it’s tough to see what they bring to the table. Yeah they got rich, gees, I don’t know about you guys but I wish money was something I didn’t have to worry about.

    Am I a “fan” of OCC or Jesse James, like all builders they have stuff I love, stuff they have inspired us on and they have stuff that just ain’t my thang.

    Should a motorcycle always look like a motorcycle? I will answer that with a question, What does a motorcycle look like? I know our recent build looks nothing like Daimler’s first bike, so if Daimler invented the motorcycle, I guess they should all be made out of wood and have training wheels.

    later,

    Mazz.

  33. 33 DONNY May 18th, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I THINK WHEN YOU ADD A COCKPIT AND SHIT LIKE THAT TO A BIKE IT’S OVER. THEY SHOULD BUILD A MOTORCYCLE THEME BIKE. FUCKIN ASSHOLES!! THEY COULDN’T EVEN ADJUST VALVES I BET.

  34. 34 Kenny Price May 18th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    i really dont know what is going on here but people were making custom bikes much more wild than that in the early 70’s. you had to be there to understand.

  35. 35 Woody May 21st, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    wonder if some current folks ever saw the ’70s 80’s stuff from Sugarbear, Denver’s, Low Rider Tommy, etc. etc. 🙂

  36. 36 James May 25th, 2009 at 10:57 am

    “Should a Plane always look like a Plane?” If designers would of never challenged the Wright bros we’d of never seen the likes of a B-2.

  37. 37 Jeff Nicklus May 25th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Let me throw this in the mix for thought ….. I agree with Kenny and Woody … some of the bikes we all built during that time period were “over the top” in styling and function, however, with that said I also believe that where we all seem to get crossways with OCC is simply that what we did (and do today) we did for ourselves and the love of the motorcycle …. what OCC does is for the love of MONEY. It has nothing to do with the motorcycle or the love thereof. Just my opinion ….. for what that is worth.

    Over and Out,

    Jeff

  38. 38 Eric G. Jun 11th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    OCC has been instrumental in opening the custom-bike world to the masses, however, here’s an analogy to consider.
    It can be said that “Days of Thunder” raised the interest in NASCAR. Tom Cruise actually did a little driving while making the movie and occasionally appears at a track to this day but it doesn’t mean Tom Cruise is an accomplished racer. To this day the real racers pay a small homage to the movie in gratitude for what it did for their sport.
    Maybe OCC is the custom bike world’s Tom Cruise…entertaining…but…
    They can fabricate some radical metal…but there is a huge difference between bike building and metal fab.
    Just an opinion…
    …and the Stealth bike is quite an eye catcher…but I wonder how reliable it runs and how it handles. But then again…its not meant to ride…is it!

  39. 39 Eric G. Jun 11th, 2009 at 10:36 am

    …not to be misunderstood…OCC deserves alot of recognition for what they have done for us all. Would I buy one of their overpriced show-pieces…no. I buy a bike built to ride…not one to trailer and show off for a bunch of “Ohhs and Ahhs!.” However, they do build the trophies for the vane that are more concerned with showing off than actaully taking to the highways and riding something unique. That in turn brings out more numbers of the vane and the “real” bikers and everything in between. And more power to them for it. Thank you OCC and thanks to all that are willing to ride with me…on the road!

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