Randy Simpson Closing Milwaukee Iron


When I started my business in 1992, Randy Simpson was one of the first major professional builders of the time that I met. It was during an Easyriders Bike Show in Charlotte, NC. I was displaying one of my bikes on a “James Dean” theme next to him exhibiting his vintage racing looking custom bikes (it was not yet the trend). Under the slogan “Steel Made America”, his company Milwaukee Iron in Lynchburg VA had already a very solid reputation not only for bikes but also for the quality of his steel fabrication.

Randy built a line of parts, high quality steel fenders becoming his forte to the point where the industry big catalog distributors became his main clients. Then, as you know, about 10 years ago foreign competition and cheap knock-off parts invaded the industry and Milwaukee Iron took a major financial hit when he lost his distributors looking for cheaper more profitable sources.

Milwaukkee Iron got renewed attention in 2004 and 2005 when the Discovery Channel aired a 13-episode series about Simpson and his crew called “Southern Chopper,” then renamed “Southern Steel”. Then the recession came and Randy says that it’s very hard for him to continue to keep up with taxes and other costs. Since he doesn’t foresee things improving anytime soon, and after 26 years in the business, Randy decided to close his shop at the end of the month. “I’m ready to step off and watch the merry-go-round, and ride my motorcycle while I still can”. Randy, please, never lose your trademarked. loud laugh. Best to you and your family. Cyril

24 Responses to “Randy Simpson Closing Milwaukee Iron”

  1. 1 Greg Jul 11th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Sad news. Randy Simpson was very respected for his machine shop work. Good luck to him.

  2. 2 A 1 cycles Jul 11th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    im am sad for randy, he is one of the nicest people in our industry, a true gentleman and honest businessman, when you called with a weird request for a fender with built in struts for some weird one of frame he would chuckle and say “no problem mike” he was the one who answered the phone and if he didnt he would always call you back, im sad for him, cant wiat to see you again randy..good luck in anything you choose to pursue in the future.

  3. 3 Spencer Jul 11th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I started dealing with Randy back in the early 90’s he was making long dashes that fit stock harley flat side gas tanks and they were very cool. I also started using his fenders on different models of frames we were doing to sell as a kit. When you called Randy he always had the time to talk with you, and no matter how weird the project he always did it. I’m going to miss Randy, he was one of the good guys.

    I’m going to miss Randy he was one of the nicest guys in the industry.Good luck pal.

  4. 4 Jeff Nicklus Jul 11th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Randy will bounce back! Good Luck Randy!

    Over & Out,


  5. 5 Big Sean Jul 12th, 2009 at 2:03 am

    what can I say, Randy was deffinately one of the best people to ever deal with weather large or small. Randy is hands down a solid mofo.

  6. 6 FHP Scott Jul 12th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Randy…good luck and hope to see you again…

  7. 7 Cadillac Joe D. Jul 12th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Good luck Randy……..good guy, good stuff……….what a shame!

  8. 8 Jim C Jul 12th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Another Made in America company gone. Damn shame. I recently bought one of the AIH Classic Chop frame kits that came with the sheet metal. I bought it from a liquidator at a good price. Anyway,the tank was in a box and it said made in PRC. On the way home it finally hit me that PRC was short for People’s Republic of China. DAMN and I liked that tank for the look it gave the bike. I am going to have a hrd time usingtht tank asI know every time I look at it I will be thinking about where it was made. So what do I do with i. Trash it after it was already paid for or use it? I ve a RWD tank that would probably look good on this bike and maybe I will just sell this tank to someone else to put on their bike as I know it will piss me off every time I look at it.
    Randy’s parts are higher priced than the crap coming from over the pond but seriously,if you had a question on mountin or needed smething special done,he was just a phone call away.And that kind of service is worth something,isn’t it? If we don’t stop buying this crap coming from China then we are all going to be working for the WalMarts,ect. I am sorry to see Randy calling it quits. I hope that he did well enough to get by.

  9. 9 Brenda Fox Jul 12th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Best wishes to you Randy in whatever direction you may roll….

    You sure left a positive boot print in the industry and I have no doubt you will do the same down whatever road you cruise in the future.

  10. 10 Rogue Jul 12th, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Randy I will be looking for you at events and other places.
    Getting time to ride and enjoy life is a good thing.

  11. 11 sheriff Jul 12th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Yeah Randy is a part of my old Daytona history, good guy indeed

  12. 12 Pepper Jul 12th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I had the opportunity to learn more about Randy when he was included in an exhibit at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Great guy, great products, loads of integrity and sweet Southern style. He was very generous to the museum in those first few struggling years.
    I’m hopeful we’ve not seen the last of him.

  13. 13 Bobfather Jul 12th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I’m a customer of Randy’s and always enjoyed using his fenders on my bikes. Great quality that I have yet to see from anyone else out there. Fit and finish was always top notch. This is indeed sad news to me. It’s another USA company gone by the wayside. Sorry to see you go Randy.

  14. 14 JoAnn Bortles Jul 13th, 2009 at 7:48 am

    It is not easy to be in the motorcycle industry. It is hard work fueled by dreams and nerve. Many times in this business, on those not so easy days, you wonder why you do it and why you hang in there. One of the reasons is the people you meet and become friends with. Randy is one of those people.

  15. 15 Missy Scott Jul 13th, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Randy is one of the most straight-up guys I’ve ever met. He helped me so much when I was writing my Harley-Davidson book, and really gave me a treasured glimpse into the world of custom motorcycles. He was always patient and kind, even with my dumbest questions, and his good cheer always brightened my day. I’m so glad I had the chance to work with him, and trust that his future holds even more excitement and innovation.

    I raise my glass to you, Randy, with deepest thanks for the ride.


  16. 16 Walt Lumpkin Jul 13th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I had the opportunity to meet Randy several times over the years while covering events.
    One thing I noticed was that he is always generous with his time with whomever needs his attention at the moment. And always with a smile. A true southern gentleman.

  17. 17 Mike Corbin Jul 13th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Another great American craftsman being taken out by the economy.
    The selling off of American companies is shreading out Flag.

  18. 18 Rebecca Jul 13th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Good Luck Randy~

    Thanks for taking care of some of my FDNY friends! They loved meeting you and your crew in Myrtle Beach a few years back.

    Hope to see you out there!


  19. 19 JP@MyEvilTwinChoppers Jul 13th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks to Charlie Brechtel I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with and becoming good friends with Randy Simpson. Randy is such an amazing guy. I’m sure for every door that closes in Randy’s life 5 more open with amazing possibilities.
    It’s sad to see so many real craftsmen leaving this industry. Seems to me all the WRONG people are leaving!

  20. 20 Aaron Dills Jul 14th, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Randy has been a friend of mine since the mid 90s when we first met. A stand up guy, and one of the best in the industry. Ill keep in touch with him, and Ill wish im well, but ill miss his products which we still sell today. aaron

  21. 21 Rodent Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Go enjoy!

  22. 22 Frito Bandido Jul 14th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Zorry to jear that Randy………yu kan alwayz com and sell tacos wit me……Frito Bandito…..ur amigo.

  23. 23 ZZTom Dec 13th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Sorry to hear the news that your not there anymore. You did some work for me a few years back. Thanks

    New York

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