Motorcycle Industry. The Good The Bad And The Ugly.

chriscallenridingA new (and justified) big rant written especially for you my readers by Chris Callen,  Editor in Chief of Cycle Source Magazine.

Thinning Of The Herd Hurts All Of The Industry.

I remember a few years ago, as motorcycling started its “Downward Trend” hearing so many people spout off about the effects they believed this change would have. Like some of them I even let me thoughts drift towards the idea that in some ways a lean economic period might somehow drive out the profit hungry and leave our industry in better standing for it. Well, here in good ol’ 2009 that has surely happened but the hard times have also started to take with them some of the most revered of our ranks as well. This all came to mind as I read the news that Randy Simpson of Milwaukee Iron was closing his doors. Randy has been a good friend to me for some years now and for that reason alone I felt a pain in my heart but as I further explored my emotional reaction to this sad news I began to see that what is going on right now is actually the opposite of what many had forecasted.

Take Randy for instance. Milwaukee Iron and or Randy personally have been responsible for quite a few innovations in our industry.  The pop-up gas cap for one is probably his most notable but how about the fact that before they were doing custom steel fenders on the open market most all of them were fiberglass or plastic, other than those that you could buy as one offs. So here is a man that has made constant improvements to his craft, starting out in his mother’s basement, working over a twenty five year period to build his company into what it has become today, or was until a few days ago. So is this all the work of a struggling economy where no one has the money to buy parts I asked myself? Hardly!

Now, don’t get me wrong, the economy does have its challenges right now as I well know as a small national publisher but to get to the root of the problem I ask that for just a minute you put away preconceived ideas about protectionism, separatism and rights to a global market so we may discuss this a little further. You see, one of Randy’s biggest challenges, and I know this from talking with him personally, was the lackadaisical approach our government has towards foreign trade. Many people will argue that our unions are the reason why America can’t compete in the world market and I won’t even go there but instead I will mention that compared to the manufacturing restrictions and additional expense that American companies must factor in, union wages aren’t even the half of it. So for a company like Milwaukee Iron, working hard, paying their taxes, dealing with the EPA, making good quality steel products here in the USA and employing American Workers, is all for not if the federal government won’t do for them what they should be doing for all of us and that is create a level playing field for all manufacturers. If the Chinese government doesn’t enforce the same EPA standards then their product prices should be adjusted at our borders; PERIOD. It worked in the late  eighties when Reagan did it for Harley and it might be the only way we save manufacturing here in our country today. When you add in the fact that there are no international trade mark or patent laws to protect the intellectual property of those innovative minds like Randy Simpson, then you have what has become common practice in our world today: Get a good idea, ship it overseas, they knock it off and sell it back for less money than we can make it for.

This is by no means a problem that the motorcycle industry has alone either.  Everything from textiles to furniture, electronics that have long been gone and even larger amounts of our food production is starting to be imported all the time. Once great companies like GM have been branded the great swindlers of the modern age and with good reason. Even as GM sits and waits for additional monies from the “Pension Fund” oh, I’m sorry, the Stimulus Plan, after bankrupting on the first thirty million of taxpayers dough, theyalready have another plan to emerge from bankruptcy by shifting a considerable amount of their manufacturing to factories in China….American cars, manufactured in China, and shipped here to be sold. Only thing they haven’t announced is who will be left here with enough money or credit to buy them once their five year plan is complete. Right now we are seeing not only factories leaving this country but our infrastructure, our very ability to defend ourselves. Factories like the York Final assembly plant were once munitions facilities during World War II and hopefully will be there if our Country needs them to fit that purpose in the future.

So back to our industry and our problems. You might not think when you pick up a catalogue and order your parts and accessories that there isn’t anything wrong with getting more for your money by buying products that have been made in China that are clearly forcing Americans out of work and out of business but brother you’re wrong. Call it protectionism if you like but for me and my family choosing to support our friends and neighbors is patriotism. To not choose this higher road is not only personally irresponsible but when you put another countries government or their people ahead of yours, then it is the very definition of treason. And in case that last sentence offended you let me lay a quote on you from one of the great men in our countries history who also thought this way:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen! – JOHN ADAMS

85 Responses to “Motorcycle Industry. The Good The Bad And The Ugly.”

  1. 1 BadMonkeyMW Jul 16th, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Well said Chris. My biggest worry in all of this mess is that our government has dug a hole so deep that the good people of this country can never dig their way out. But, worse comes to worse you’ve got to at least go down swinging.

  2. 2 Joe Jul 16th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I can’t help but think OCC will be one of the next big names to fall. Senior has taken a lot of risks lately with his dealer network, his overseas expansion, themed restaurants, the glass palace he built. I can’t help but think those expensive risks were taken at a time that he should have been more conservative in order to weather the economic storm. Is anybody buying any of their production bikes? Have they opened any restaurants?

    Crazy times indeed.

  3. 3 Obamabot Jul 16th, 2009 at 10:03 am


  4. 4 jspfc Jul 16th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Here is my only question, manufacturers produced parts during the boom, sold them, and made a lot of money. Why is it that manufacturers expect the people to pay the same pricefor parts now, just so those same manufacturers can coninue to get rich?

    This is a give take issue if you ask me. If you want Americans to buy American, then maybe the American people should pay a little more for those products because of the regulations the manufacturers face but the manufactures of the products should lower their profit margins as well.

  5. 5 Cameron Jul 16th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I entirely agree with this article, in theory. I have been riding for 20 years. Currently own a Harley Davidson & a Yamaha R6. Here is where I get confused (& FED UP!!) Everyone cries “Buy American!” So I did, bought my Harley in the mid-90’s before the big television motorcycle boom. Every accessory & I mean every accessory was bought right from the Harley dealer (remember by American….) The last piece that I bought was an emblem for my (wife’s) backrest. It read “Harley Davidson Made In The USA” I flipped it over to install and guess what I saw? Made in China. Where does this fit into this argument? Thanks. Keep riding.

  6. 6 Greg Hoeve Jul 16th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    jspfc, I’m just wondering if you know what manufacturers margins really are anyway. I’m not being critical of your view, but keep in mind that the manufacturers bear all the risk in product liability, warranty , etc. plus the massive capital investment in production equipment, (CNC’s anyone?) All of these ancillary issues tend to degrade your margin well after the time sale. No one in US manufacturing is getting rich. We have all been beset by CONSUMERS on one side who want the parts practically for free and VENDORS who want it all on the other side. My FUC%*&^&^N health insurance premium has gone up 36-45% every year for the last five years.

    We in the US manufacturing community are not to blame here at all. It is in fact, the FUCKING unions and a Government that allows unfair foreign trade practice that has us in the vice.

    ( I would like to take this opportunity to ask all of you who are union members to cordially fuck yourself up the ass for contributing to this debacle by your unwaivering support for your corrupt union leadership. To the extent that your unreasonable demands on the companies you work for drives these companies to outsource, you are each personally responsible. Yes MICHIGAN, this means you! and a few other like minded states.) If this offends you it is only because you know I am right, and outrage at my sentiment is how you point the blame away from yourselves.

    I freely admit that I am painting with a VERY broad brush here and that there are a few union members who would have it otherwise, but I stand behind my general premise that corrupt unions+corrupt government=no jobs for anyone anymore. For what its worth, the automotive manufacturers are doing alright, just not up north. Those who produce in right to work states are overall much better off than those who produce in the traditional sectors.

    You may not like what I say or agree with what I say but I don’t fuckin care anymore. Dancing around the issue is not going to solve anything. Speaking plainly and bluntly is what is required now.

    Pray for America, but buy a house in Brazil just in case!

  7. 7 choppertom Jul 16th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    i totally agree with greg.
    i’ve been saying the same thing for years, but cannot find enough people to stand with me.
    it’s like taking someone out behind the bar for the whooping they so deserve, but all your friends seem to have something else to do at that moment….

    my own brother-in-law is on the welfare system because the company he worked for (20yrs) closed its doors. he was a dock worker, loaded trucks. the same trucks day after day after day. bitched about everything from low pay to long hours to excessive conditions, bla, bla fuckin bla…

    he was making $18-20 per hour, time and a half, double on holiday.
    the union kept this company from firing his dead ass and kept him at a better than normal salary with all the benefits because he payed his dues and was a loyal employee.
    forget about climbing the ladder to success, stay where you are comfortible. reap the success of lazyness he said.

    now he has no job.

    the state even payed for him to get some schooling for other employment, so he took them up on it.
    went to school to be a truck driver/heavy equipment operator. all the while collecting my tax dollars to pay him a wage while he went to school.
    so he graduates-looks a little while for a job, quits looking because he can’t find a job that was as easy to do where he was…
    what do you mean i have to start at the bottom? i want $20 per hour….

    give me a fuckin break-i’m self employed, nobody, i mean NOBODY WILL HOLD MY HAND if i loose my job.
    ok, now my blood pressure is gettin edgy

    good luck randy-i know you will do fine in what you persue. your american!

  8. 8 Jeff Nicklus Jul 16th, 2009 at 1:55 pm


    I couldn’t agree more with your statements, however, the issues are deeper than you represent.

    I hear and read of people on a daily basis crying about the high cost of manufacturing a motorcycle and how we as manufacturers are doing nothing more than stuffing our pockets with fresh new Ben Franklins. These same people tout praises for the guys building the $15,000 bobbers on the market. Little do they think that that $15K bobber is made with over 60%, or more, Chinese and Korean parts. These idiots don’t understand that it can not be done both ways. If you want a $15K bike you are going to get Chinese and Korean parts … period. Then, this is the good part, the next breath out of their collective mouths is “Buy American” and how fucked up everything is because we have no manufacturing jobs here in America. Makes me wonder how many of these Union assholes buy at Wal-Mart?

    Further the same group of magazine editors; website advertisers etc. who scream “Buy American” are the first to sell advertising space to the guys doing the $15 Chinese/Korean Bobbers, The CCI’s of the world etc., all the while singing the songs or praise for these guys. Double standards guys?

    Today my cost of my Desperado line of bikes is actually $47.00 higher than they were in 2006. Consumers don’t understand that, nor do they care. For me to run a set of grips for example I have to produce 100 sets to make the dollars work ….. now I have to sit on 90 sets for the next God knows how long before I sell 100 bikes. That is the cost of inventory which few understand. The same is true of all the other parts we manufacture in house. My motors are no less expensive that they were in 2006, in fact they are about $80.00 more expensive. My cost on steel, aluminum, welding supplies, labor and TAXES are higher now than ever before and I can go on and on but it just depresses me.

    The long and short of this is the administration we now have in place is doing everything possible to squeeze small business out of existence and take over big business …. We are all fucked if America doesn’t wake up soon.

    Anyone know a good real estate agent in Rio?

    Over & Out,


    PS: Right on Choppertom.

  9. 9 Jeff Nicklus Jul 16th, 2009 at 2:44 pm


    In March of 2006 I was asked by one of the magazines who I shall not name, to write an article of what I thought “The State of The Motorcycle Industry” was in my opinion and how it related to me. This is the article I wrote and was never published because I was “overly frank” with my concerns …. it now seems I was dead on the nail head.

    In reading the article that Chris Cullen authored I thought you might like to read this. You have my permission to with the article as you please.



    I am not sure just how I have been “unofficially” designated the holder of the Crystal Ball in regards to the “State of The Motorcycle Industry” but somehow that seems to be what has happened. I would like to believe that others in the industry are seeking my council due to my vast knowledge and experience in the industry, however, in all likelihood the reason is more likely that I am known for having the balls to speak my mind where most others won’t.

    So here goes.

    First a brief history lesson: As most of you are aware I and Desperado Motorcycles have been a player in this industry for over eleven years now. Desperado Motorcycles was one of the founders of the “Custom Revolution” way back in 1995. We are, as we have been since our inception, a fully licensed motorcycle manufacturer.

    When we first started business the only players in the industry were Titan, Big Dog, Illusion, California Motorcycle Co, Bourget Bike Works, American Ironhorse and Desperado Motorcycles. Note: (AIH & Desperado opened there doors within a week of each other.) Of these companies only three remain as originally organized; Big Dog, Bourget and Desperado.

    I have watched this industry transform from what Harley, in the beginning, referred to as “Clone Bike” builders into what you see today. Today Harley can only dream of being as nimble and progressive as those alleged “Clone Builders” of yesteryear are today. We, as builders, have advanced motorcycle building and motorcycle equipment by light years over where the industry was just 11 years ago. For sake of time and space I will name but a few of these innovations here: ie. Four Piston Dual Action Brakes, Chrome Moly Frames, Stainless Steel Rotors, Dry Kevlar Clutch Systems, Big Bore Leak Free High Performance Engines, 6 Speed Transmissions, Right Side Drive Transmissions, Computerized Ignitions, Billet everything you can imagine, Inverted Front End Assemblies and on and on.

    With these accomplishments under our belts and our chests stuck out so far that they are starting to look like our aging pot bellies, this industry is starting to implode all around us. That’s right implode. In plain English this industry is starting to suck like a Hoover Vacuum Cleaner on steroids! It seems, we the keepers of the brass rings, have lost our vision and we have no one other than ourselves to blame for the blindness.

    This industry in today’s environment it seems that every shop and/or alleged builder out there is named County Something, Chopper Something, Coast Something, I’m a Bad Boy Something etc. All that matters in this industry today is TV time and reruns, how many autographs you sign at Trailer Week, how many T-Shirts you sold at an event, the profit margin associated therein and how big of an ass you made of yourself on the “As Built on TV Programs” (you know what I mean here) for all of America to see, thus, reaffirming the Biker Stereotype that we are all a bunch of illiterate, drunk, drug crazed assholes. At what point does a small item called RIDING & BUILDING MOTORCYCLES come into play here?

    As an example of what I am saying I will share a story with you. I will not name the individuals I am going to tell you about, they will know who they are if they can get someone to read this article to them.

    A few weeks ago, during our visit to Ocean City for the Delmarva Bike Week, I was told by two guys who had just started a “New Bike Shop”, on the east coast, of how they had just recently broken off from a company that leases motorcycles – that’s right I said “Leases” not builds motorcycles. I was further told by these individuals of how they had “two guys behind them that had long “drug dollars” to invest in the shop BUT we don’t give a _uck about the bikes, all we are after is the fame”. That boys and girls is what this industry has turned into. Thank you Hugh King and OCC for helping to turn a legitimate industry into a freak show of t-shirt salesmen.

    Now don’t get me wrong here, I like so many others, have achieved Rock Star Status in this industry and I am not going to try and make anyone believe that I don’t enjoy the attention, because I do. What I will tell you is that I, like so many others in this industry, have achieved the Rock Star Status from years of hard work and years of producing a quality product that people enjoy owning and we enjoy building. Rock Star Status has not come from a one time 44 minute TV segment in which I stuck my ass in the air for the cameras and insulted an industry that I know nothing of.

    Now I find in talking to almost everyone of significance in the industry that their businesses, in many cases, are down as much as 58% over the same time period a year ago. We are now watching many small builders bite the big one and many, many more won’t make the first of the year. I expect we will see one and possibly two larger builders “withdrawing from the market place” by early to mid next year. At least one of the largest suppliers of motorcycle parts in the industry has already been taken over by investors and, in my opinion, will in all likelihood, be scrapped out by mid next year. One of the largest wheel manufacturers in the country is currently in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and is expected to have a new buyer coming on board to save them from the auction floor. At least one, and possibly two, of the larger parts manufacturers in the industry has been bought out by a company from the UAE – that’s right Middle East money and owners. (Have we forgotten 9-11?)

    Attendance at all the major bike events nationwide, that I am aware of, is dropping faster than an ugly kid in a beauty pageant. Some events, Sturgis as example, have lost as much as 25%+ of their attendance in the last two years. Does this sound like a stable and strong industry to you?

    I will admit that every industry must have a “cleansing” from time to time and while the “cleansing” is typically a painful thing it is rarely not beneficial. I believe this industry is no different and that is what we are experiencing as we speak. I believe this “cleansing” will last for another 12-18 months before the fame seekers, national home building companies and the Post Toastie CEO’s are gone and the dust settles. I truly believe this industry will emerge from this “cleansing” much stronger and much better off for the enema.

    Now with that said I only have but two more personal points, to offer:

    1. When the dust settles Desperado Motorcycles will still be standing and better off from the experience.

    2. Without a question – Desperado Motorcycles and Jeff Nicklus will be getting back to basics starting today. Basics being the hell with the Rock Star crap and back to doing what we do best – Building cutting edge high performance motorcycles one at a time!

    As I once told a good friend “I was building bikes before it was popular and I will be building bikes after the popularity is gone.”

    Over & Out!

    The Desman
    March 2006

  10. 10 Greg Hoeve Jul 16th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I’ll take it by the deafening silence that there is not ONE person who is a union member out there with balls enough to debate me on this topic? Anybody, Hellllooooo,,,,,,,, anybody there? Thought so.

    Chicken shits, everyone of you.

    Well you guys are getting your way nowdays. Enjoy it while it lasts, sit back and read your current copy of Pravda and congratulate yourselves on yet another victory over all those non-union dupes who work so hard for so little. Take pride that someday soon you will all rise up and TAKE BACK what the rich man STOLE from you. No need anymore to aspire to greatness yourself, just drag everyone else down to your pitiful level of mediocrity so we can all be the same, equal in our Workers Paradise.

    The Chinese are laughing at you!


  11. 11 ian Jul 16th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Jeff you may be a tiny bit too Republican for my European sensibilities, but you talk so much sense about bikes on this blog (and the odd great joke too) – top man and well done.

  12. 12 A 1 cycles Jul 16th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    greg, jeff, choppertom, agree completely,in it to win it…i lose business everyday to internet hawkers of chinese products, i wont install them, i wont use them, i try to educate people of the quality of the crap versus, jay brake, ego tripp, carlini, they dont get it..they would rather pay twice than pay once (more up front) but the parts are rebuildable,reliable,quality products that last..we are in this pickle now becuase of our own doing..change the way you buy america, change the way you do business or we will all be punching a time clock and recieving a check signed from the u.s. govt…jfpc. all your concerned with is the margin a distributor makes…wake up

  13. 13 Greg Hoeve Jul 16th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    A-1, I thank you for your support, from my heart! Don’t waste your time anymore trying to educate “THE MASSES” . They are willfully self deceptive. It is for those of us who can what is approaching to exploit these masses. Fuckem! I give up on them. I’m not Jesus. I’ve got my wife and my kids to worry about and I wont sacrifice their future just to go broke trying to educate people who dont want to know better. If I can find a way to milk these morons I will do it, Just like General Motors did. I cant get myself to feel bad for The Masses anymore, tho I try from time to time. Im old enough to have seen the work ethic be replaced by the welfare ethic, and now the welfarites out number us in shear voting power. How can we win when they can vote themselves a raise anytime the want it. We are past the tipping point and there is no going back.

    I don’t know how yet but I will take advantage of the fact the these people want to be exploited. Maybe I’ll run for office. My catch phrase will be ” I’ll take away from someone whatever I have to, and give it to you, just vote for me.” It’s already proven to work. Look at Detroit for an example. Now we have Obamacare coming down the pipe. Good Lord! More freebees for the welfarites.

  14. 14 Mike Jul 16th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    1) The author of the original article is DEAD WRONG.

    2) Jeff Nicklus is the best poster on this site – LOVE reading your comments Jeff. You’re obviously a businessman, and I can relate completely.

    On the article… this Chris guy is talking about implementing tariffs to keep foreign parts the same price as domestic ones. That is possibly the dumbest idea I have heard in years. During the lead in to the great depression, we tried this – and it is now regarded as one of the most fundamental reasons that the depression lasted as long as it did. It’s just a horrible idea. It causes other countries to do the same, to raise tariffs to bolster domestic demand. Well guess what, the USA is critically dependent on imports and exports. If prices on everything you buy went up 30%, how would that affect you? I know what would happen… you’d stop buying. Your wallet would clam up and you’d sit by the wayside and not spend. That is *precisely* what leads to things like depressions.

    Look, there aren’t any less dollar bills floating around in the world than there were 3 years ago. The total money supply is credit + currency. Currency is the same (actually more since we’ve been running the presses non-stop), but credit has been destroyed. And credit is largely based on perception and confidence. So when you do something (implement tariffs) to jack up prices, you essentially freeze consumer spending, which leads to massive credit destruction.

    So that is a very very bad idea.

    Now, on Jeff’s posts – they are excellent. He is dead on with his comments.

    Regarding the union comments, I largely agree. A big part of the problem these days is people just want it easy. They don’t want to learn a skill that can earn them $150k a year, they would rather band together and extort it from their employer. When you subsidize people with higher wages than their jobs are worth, you cause an imbalance in the system. Capitalism will always work out these imbalances, and for many years, the result of that is a flight of manufacturing overseas. The right response is to move on to bigger and better things. We have largely done that – we are the leaders in high-tech, which is an industry that really didn’t even exist 50 years ago. We are the leader in the medical field too – another industry that has boomed in recent decades. Instead of shops cranking out sheet metal parts or o-rings, they are making electronics and precision medical parts. That’s good – that’s how it should be. The problem comes when the company making o-rings is prevented from making something bigger and better because the guys earning $100k a year to push a button on a punch press band together and demand “equality”. If you want to make $100k a year – EARN IT. Don’t hold your employer hostage.

    As for businesses having trouble in the USA, it is sad… although all business owners must adapt and overcome. If you overextended your credit lines during the good times, then it’s gonna come back to bite you. If you got fat and rich making parts for $10 in cost and retailing them for $199, well, those days are over. Adapt and overcome.

    The sad reality of someone like Milwaukee Iron is that they failed to address the marketplace. People don’t want to spend US prices for something that can be made elsewhere for cheap money. Honestly, crying about “buy American” is never going to solve the problem, it won’t change anything, so it’s pointless. As business owners we need to change our focus and adapt.

    Look at Intel… they used to make memory. It became a commodity and was made for much lower cost in Asia. Intel changed focus, got into the microprocessor game. Last I checked it worked out pretty well for them.

  15. 15 Bike EXIF Jul 16th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    If you think a “pop-up gas cap” is the kind of innovation that will save the US motorcycle industry, no wonder it’s in trouble. Innovation is stuff like cross-plane crankshafts, not aftermarket fenders.

    Eventually, Americans will get bored of chrome, and it sounds like that day is coming. And protectionism won’t help: it’s a short-term, short-sighted solution. It merely covers up the fact that large tracts of the US industry are no longer competitive on price.

    The average Joe shouldn’t have to buy an overpriced product just because it’s Made In The USA.

  16. 16 DK Jul 16th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I work for a company that has been making footwear in the USA for 130 years but we are having to source more and more off shore because all are competitors do no manufacturing over here and we can’t compete with their prices.

    The bottom line rest with the consumer. They say that they want USA made goods but will not pay the extra money for them. Thank goodness we have enough consumers that will buy our USA made footwear so we can keep our factories running.

  17. 17 blammo Jul 16th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    while i agree with the premise of the buy american sentiment, i see lot of hypocrisy. i’m pretty sure most on here own a tv, stereo, cell phone, microwave, etc.

    doubtful that any of it was made here- or your levis, vans shoes, timberlands, etc.

    if you really want to pump your chest get rid of it all until america provides what you want. i wonder how much of these computers we’re on right now if from the states.

    where’s the line drawn? only when it affects your industry?

  18. 18 jspfc Jul 16th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I think Mike pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    “If you got fat and rich making parts for $10 in cost and retailing them for $199, well, those days are over. Adapt and overcome.”

    Businesses succeed because they adapt to a changing environment. And whether that is finding a better way to do something, changing what they do or cutting costs to be competitive, then that is what they do.

    There are a lot of people on here who wine about how we should pay more because it is made in America.

    Sorry I will shop around and buy what I get the best bang for my buck for. Why???? Because I work hard to make my money and I am not going to give it away because I need to support someone who charges too much for a product/service. If that means that I am not awake then so be it. If you want my money give me a good product at a competitive price.

  19. 19 FUJI Jul 16th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    In my lifetime, never have I seen so many live with so much with so little. A quote from ? or not.
    It is sad and disheartening to say the least.

    Fads come and fads go. But when fads hurt society as a whole, then it becomes a sickness/epidemic.

    When I speak of fads it is in general. We as a society just went through the fad of “Lust”, “Gluttony”, “Greed” and “Envy”.

    I need a truck/Hummer, SUV , sports car, boat and a big bike and a large home. There is nothing wrong with any of this until it goes way beyond your means and for many it did.

    Many post-depression, WW II parents cried, after living through hard times. I will not let my children go without. Little did they know that it stuck in their children’s minds for most of their lives.

    We will survive hopefully learning from others mistakes. We are tough and enduring.

    Look at the youth in our military who make me proud. Our future leaders.

    Hang tough. Semper Fi

    Good luck to all.

  20. 20 Matt Wright Jul 16th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    From reading all the posts you can tell who is in manufacturing and whom isn’t. NAFTA is a complete failure. It has moved us from a super power in manufacturing to a see how much you can consume culture.

    Recently I had the pleasure of sitting next to an attorney on a flight from California back to Indianapolis. Her job is establishing work visa’s for Chinese nationals coming here to “Procure industry”.

    An average assembly/manufacturing position in the states makes what $15-25 an hour or more here? The attorney I mentioned stated in the manufacturing districts of China the workers are paid so little it’s not even a factor in the cost of manufacturing. Many less than $20 a week. In these districts you start work at age 11. Sign me up…

    Every day we are faced with new problems, costs. The latest nail in the coffin of US industry is Cap and Trade tax’s your elected officials just passed. This is a HUGE tax burdon put on any carbon producing power company. (All of them). This is a cost that will be passed right on to us the consumer. Expect more than 100% increase in your power bills over the next 2 years. Wohoo!!!

    We want/need clean power? Clean power is expensive power. China doesn’t care about clean. They care about cheap.

    We pay 1000’s of times more in wages, 100’s of times more in power. Some of you guys suggest we tighten our belts? That’s a joke right???


  21. 21 FUJI Jul 16th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Chris Callen, Editor in Chief of Cycle Source Magazine.

    Senior managers of Harley Davidson after the take over from AMF completely restructured the assembly line to imitate that of Honda after visiting their Marysville Ohio plant.

    During the implementation of the Productivity Triad, Harley Davidson in 1983 sought tariff protection from the U.S. government. They requested and were granted a 5-year, self-liquidating tariff by President Reagan.

    Because of the success of this new program Harley Davidson asked the Government to lift the Tariff one year earlier than expected.

    Then a couple years later admitted that it was poor management
    rather than imports that troubled the Co.

    Did you by chance read Harley Davidsons version of their history. LOL

    P/S There is more interesting history between Honda and Harley.

  22. 22 FUJI Jul 16th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    You the man . Good read

  23. 23 jspfc Jul 16th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    A 1 Cycles

    BTW, I said nothing about distributors. Why dont you learn how to read.

  24. 24 Paul Aiken Jul 17th, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Amen brothers!

    I am sick and tired of “high quality billet” on ebay when, in fact, some of it is just cheap pot metal made by barefoot Chinese kids.

    I am sick and tired of “why should I pay more for your product?”

    I am sick and tired of the Wal-Martization of our country.

    Wake up America!

  25. 25 BikerMarc Jul 17th, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Hey Chris,

    Thank you for saying your piece Brother.

    Its one of the reasons I subscribe to your Cycle Source Mag. It keeps things simple and has no bullshit.

    Bottom-line, we have a severe leadership problem in government and until the bums get voted out, the economics will continue to be dire for our industry and all other businesses.

    Ever thought of conducting a survey of your readers on how to improve the business? Results could be sent to DC leaders as part of a “we’re going to vote you bums out” campaign.

    Also, how about using your platform to organize a Biker March on Washington DC to show who’s really in charge?

    If we the people don’t control government, the government will control the people.

    We need a John Wayne to kead the charge on Washington DC. Might as well be a Patriot like you Chris.

    Thanks again for sharing your opinion.


  26. 26 john reed Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Bike EXIF
    I dont think the “pop-up gas cap” was a good example of the kind of innovation that will save the US motorcycle industry.
    The pop-up gas cap was designed by a guy in Sweden, any other ones were either copies ,or based on his original idea.

  27. 27 Matt Wright Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Well said Paul. Ebay and other venues will take over this market if we allow it to. I could manufacture a product, Add 20 percent and peddle it on there to the masses. However that eliminates a big book distributors. The smaller distributors, and dealer network. Then I’m doing every sale one at a time and supporting every end user because all the shops are out of business that lost the minimum of 35% they require on EVERY sale. There are VERY FEW that survive on labor alone.
    So Yes the Made in america label does mean something to me. I served and fought for this country. It pisses me off that our leaders are giving it away, and the mutant masses are following blindly.
    “Wake up America!”

  28. 28 Amazed by ignorance Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Good read back and forth guys.

    Won’t post too much as I have to get into my MANUFACTURING facility, but be very clear…
    An aftermarket item that you are paying $700 bucks for on the retail, gets down to $490 at dealer, then down to about $320 at distributor.
    My cost of that “$700 item” is about $210-$225 depending on processing and material fluctuations. So I get all of $100 for my expense, including housing another 50-100 units just waiting to be sold.

    We buy all American aluminum and all American components so our product is about 99% American, built by Americans, in America.

    Do I shop at Walmart? Yes. Can you find me somewhere else where a guy can buy all the crap he needs for his family for the week for under $100. Remember..I only made $100 in profit.

    Unions are a joke, but the general mentality of the public is as well…I want American made…just as long as I can’t get some Chinese crap cheaper.

    Things are tough all over. Blame your government, blame your unions, blame the market, blame the consumer.
    Or you can blame yourself for trying to survive. Unfortunately, yes, there were plenty of people that came and went and were flushed out of the industry. Plenty of people made money..the next pet rock as it were.

    Then there are the core people who’ve been around the industry and unfortunately, as is the case with Milwaukee Iron, have not been able to continue on due to the economy in general.
    There are some Pro Ones out there that kept spending and spending and thinking it was never gonna end…you can probably still get their CNC’s on the cheap as they’re now going to go elsewhere for production instead of manufacturing themselves…GOOD LUCK.

    People got a bit too fat and happy without paying attention.
    Astonishing that a guy that’s making $50K a year can suddenly buy a house for $500K in Southern California, and can immediately go pull a loan off that house to buy a $40k bike that he could never afford in a million years, yet everybody in the industry is thinking it’s all government, EPA and Trade? Absolute ignorance goes a looooong way here.

    There’s a lot of people out there that just weren’t paying attention period! Too many greedy irons in the fire, and a lot of snake oil being sold.
    Yes, things are being weeded out, and yes, there are some good folks that are seeing a bitter end, but there are reasons for everything to happen and if anything, I hope we’re all much wiser and frugal having seen this go down.

    No more Billy Mays pitchmen hocking their bikes and building on TV, but instead, a tighter knit industry, with mutual respect and admiration for other’s abilities, accomplishments, designs and the overall goal…to enjoy the ride.

  29. 29 Rodent Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Fuck all this bullshit is giving me a headache….I”m going for a ride on my stock Sporty and at 80 mph nobody can see that it’s dirty, no chrome and stock pipes so the cop don’t look up from writting you a ticket on your big chromed out show bike. Motorcycles primary purpose is to carry one or two people from point A to point B

  30. 30 Dar - Brass Balls Bobbers Jul 17th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    For What Its Worth…

    I occasionally read the comments here and it seems funny to me how everyone is an “expert” at something, especially those who boost themselves up by way of putting others down.

    It also seems ironic that some bike builders (a very small majority mind you) criticize other builders who are trying to simply make a living at something they love. I personally take offense to the continuing comments made by Hypocrites about “watch out for the $15 thousand dollar bikes because they are predominantly made of Chinese crap”.

    I have been silent long enough. Go to these self proclaimed, former Rock Star status, expert’s web sites and take a very close look at their bikes. I went to the web site of one builder in particular who blasts $15 thousand dollar bikes and I can only assume they mean our bikes, given that we are the only builder who advertises with Cyril, a bike in this price range. Anyway, this guys entry level bike starts at almost $26,000 and has an Ultima motor, Ultima primary, a self proclaimed proprietary tranny (which I have never heard of) $45 Ultima seat and Chinese components all over the bike to include brakes, tag bracket, front end, headlight and more. These are the builders who are taking the large profits.

    However, in ignorance they blast other bikes that are less expensive because they are threatened that the public might one day realize the truth. Some builders, like myself are taking less profit margin and building a bike with better components in order to provide a better bike, hence better value to the consumer.

    Every Brass Balls Bobber & Chopper have a high quality, all American powertrain, starting with your choice of a H-D, S&S or Crazy Horse motor, S&S carb and air cleaner, Tauer Machine primary, a Baker transmission and D&D performance, ceramic coated exhaust, and Diamond XLO chain. We use Wilwood brakes and discs (a staple in performance). We use Excel Components hand and foot controls which are in fact machined from solid billet (in New York) and a Wire Plus wiring harness and gauges. Lead Sled makes our fenders. We even use Gardner Wescot for all of our nuts & bolts. Our frame is hand TIG welded in Oklahoma City by Racing Innovations from 1026 DOM steel, just to name a few of the high quality components that come standard on our bikes. We also make our own leather seats in house. I invite anyone to investigate these quality manufacturers we use.

    And that “you get what you pay for” quote that the blog critics are putting out, applies itself unique to each situation. Yes, some product inexpensively priced translates into cheaply built. Conversely, in other situations when applying the same quote “you get what you pay for” (and you are paying more)… what you are getting is, ripped off.

    I can only speak for myself, with the Brass Balls Bobbers & Choppers what you get is a great value. Look at it from this angle, is a Ducatti, Agusta, a GSXR or a great many other bikes cheaply built because they are under $20,000. I think not. They may not be each persons’ taste, but they are well made.

    I am not perfect and won’t proclaim that I am an expert. But what I am it a truthful person. We try our best to bring a bike to market that is first, high quality, second as much American made as possible. This is not easy and requires us to make sacrifice. Over the last year my costs of a bike have risen almost $900 and I have not raised my prices at all to my customers. Why, because I believe in providing quality and value, not fiction and hypocracy about where what is made and so forth. Yes, there are foreign made parts on our bikes. You almost can not make a bike entirely of American components and make it affordable. It is easy to buy expensive components and sell your bikes outside the range that most can afford. It is fraud to claim how much is American and how yours is superior, when in fact it is not.

    What takes courage and effort is to put a bike together of high quality components and offer it at a price the average person can afford. Let us not loose sight that this is about riding motorcycles, not about who is a rock star or who is on TV or not. And a quick side note to that, whether we agree or not as to the content of the Motorcycle TV shows, we owe them thanks for raising public awareness of the American Motorcycle.

    As far as for Chris Callen of Cycle Source magazine. Take his message for what it is worth. He is attempting to make a point. His heart is in the right place. I personally know that he turned down a very lucrative deal to put his magazine in Wal-Mart. It would have made him
    a very wealth man. Instead, he stood on his principles. Unlike others in this blog who will put him down to elevate themselves and are hypocatic about the “American Bikes” they build with Chinese powertrains.

    I am not condeming your choice of components. I am condemning your hypocrisy and fictional accounts of your bikes and the way you blast those who you are threatened by.

    I support all builders who are good, honest people, trying to support their families. There are all kinds of bikes out there to choose from and many are very good quality. However, if someone wants to blast my bikes by stating theirs is better or a better value, then get the magazine of your choosing and we will put our bikes to a head to head test comparison. I am not afraid to see how ours stack up. The quality of our bikes speak for themselves. We are not perfect, but we continually make effort to improve.

  31. 31 choppertom Jul 17th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    well put.

    i will sometimes ponder the good-old-days, you know, when being a biker was not cool to the “public”.
    not much to choose from in the way of parts. made alot of parts in the shop. repaired alot of parts. sometimes you didn’t leave the driveway before it broke again.
    nobody to call and say, “ship me two of ’em tomorrow. here’s my card #”.

    yea, it would be nice to go back in time. when things were not so mainstream, when yuppie didn’t fuck it up.

    but look at the fun we had during the wave ride, taking yuppies money.

    i think things will be ok, just stay true to yourself and your brother……

  32. 32 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 1:04 pm


    Where do you get that the Ultima Motor is made out of the US? The Ultima motor is built in St. Louis, MO. The Ultima primary is made in Mexico not China as is the Ultima seat? We also offer for no additional charge the BDL and Rivera Systems.

    FYI: We build our own Transmissions (left hand drive only) and have for almost 10 years now. We build most if not all of our frames in house, we build our own rear “Sproter Drive” including the stainless steel brake/sprocket steel rotor, we build our own stainless steel rotors, wheels, ignition covers, triple trees, gas tanks, have our one piece fenders hydro formed in Michigan, grips, handlebar controls, rear pegs, rear tag brackets, transmission covers and trans hydraulic clutch system, points cover, some rocker boxes are ALL built by us in house. Our brake calipers are built with our logo by HHI .. again not Chinese. Our Electrical components are built by a company in Chicago, also American made. We likewise use Gardner Westcott for fasteners. So I am not sure where you come off with the Built in China crap. Just a note: Notice I say “We build” not “This company or that company builds” …..

    Further we offer TP Engines, S&S Engines, H&L Engines and Patrick Engines in our bikes …. all American Made. We likewise build our own billet motors, for one off use, here in house.

    I know what a motorcycle costs and I know that one can not hope to survive in business selling a bike for $15K. The cost of overhead, labor, taxes, product liability insurance, the cost of manufacturer’s licenses in the state you ship bike to, projected warranty claims and least we forget PROFIT will eat up any hope of a $15K bike. I am sorry the numbers don’t lie. By the way you do have product liability insurance don’t you?

    Dar, just for the record, I was not referring to you as you suggest nor was I naming anyone on this site …. sorry to pop you bubble. Personally, as I have stated on many occasions, I wish you and all others well. I do believe you missed the point of my comments entirely.

    Over & Out,


  33. 33 jspfc Jul 17th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Woohoo. I smell a fight coming. Where’s Conrad at?

  34. 34 just my opinion Jul 17th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Confusish say; Sometimes if one shits in neighbors yard, neighbor will pick up shit and throw back over fence.

  35. 35 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 1:30 pm


    No fights, just facts. Damn don’t get Conrad involved! I am not sure I can tolerate that!


    Good one.

    Over & Out,


  36. 36 Conrad Jul 17th, 2009 at 1:43 pm


    Dude I am staying out of this for a while. I am going to sit back and let this shit fester all of you until I have my thoughts in the right place and feel like messing around a bit.

    Talk to everyone shortly, I bet.


  37. 37 Boss Hawg Jul 17th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Hey Jeff,

    Great retort!

    One must wonder….”By the way you do have product liability insurance don’t you?”

    For those of you that are not licensed motorcycle manufacturers, product liability can run an average of $1,000.00 per motorcycle…not Cheap!

    Plus the fact that most all vendors manufacturing in this industry fail to carry product liability on their manufactured and machined goods.

    Boss Hawg

  38. 38 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 2:49 pm


    Exactly! We have been here going on 15 years and, knock on wood, we have never had a product liability claim and still my cost of insurance is $780.00 per unit produced. When we started out is was almost twice that amount.

    Yes, many vendors do not have the required product liability insurance which was yet another reason we started producing so many of our own parts in house.

    Until I read Dar’s comments I had no interest in offering our bobber, the “Good Times Bobber” that we retired a couple of years ago …. now I suppose we will re-introduce the bike for 2010 just for the hell of it. I am such an asshole!

    Over & Out,


  39. 39 Dar - Brass Balls Bobbers Jul 17th, 2009 at 3:14 pm


    Yes, we do carry a 2 million dollar product liability insurance (it is one of the requirements to be listed in the NADA guide). We are also a licensed manufacturer.

    Remember what got this all started. You chime in on everyone else, insinuating that your bikes are the best and that other lower priced bikes are suspect.

    We clearly run our businesses in two different fashions. You claim to make a lot of your own components, which I can only assume adds to your overhead with machinery costs and labor etc. I am not aware of the quality of your components. I can only attest to the superior quality components we use. I do not deny you offer other motors, but at even higher prices. By the way, Big Dog uses a Baker tranny and PM brakes for example. Ducatti uses a Marzzochi front end. Does that make them any less of a manufacture because they do not make all their stuff in-house. Or does it make them smarter businesses because they have formed alliances with quality manufactures who specialize in what they do, resulting in great quality for the customer while also helping to dilute their overhead.

    Big deal you make your own stuff and I source quality components from companies that are experts in their field. Frankly, my business model keeps overhead low and provides the consumer with top quality parts and we have almost zero warrant issues. Are you stating that the Baker transmission in my bikes is of lower quality than the one you make? Are you stating that the controls you use are better than those made by Excel Components? Are you stating that your exhaust is better than D&D? Do you really think your frame is better than a Racing Innovations frame?

    Big damn deal if making your own stuff in house raises your overhead and causes you to sell a bike at $26,000 that others can do for much less because they have a different business model than yours. Does not seem so brilliant to me.

    And for the record, we only have one bike that is for $15,995. It does not encapsulate our entire business. We created it for the public for these trying economic times. We also have other bikes we build and at different price points.

    And finally, I if you were not the coming after my bike, who were you speaking of? You sure seem to weigh in each time something of mine gets a mention. Go back and read your previous posts where my bikes are concerned.

    Lastly, we have placed 5th and 3rd in the World Championships in the last two years in the production class. Where were you? We were awarded Bobber of the Year by V-Twin and Easyriders magazine in February this year. And just this month, V-Twin and Easyriders again presented us with another award, “Top 10 production bike” along side some other small time manufacturers who clearly do not know what they are doing. And for the record, we have never once ran and ad in either magazine.

    Funny, I think I read something on your site that said “you were the world leader in performance and styling” and that “you strive to be recognized as the manufacturer of the Worlds Best Motorcycles”…

    Keep striving.

    Best of luck.

  40. 40 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 3:47 pm


    ……”Remember what got this all started. You chime in on everyone else, insinuating that your bikes are the best and that other lower priced bikes are suspect.”……..

    As I said, you missed the point of my posting. I have never seen one of your bikes in person so I can not say if it is a quality bike or not …… but I can say this ….. I have been around this industry light years longer than you and from that experience I have watched many, many come and go that have attempted to build the $15K bikes. As they fail, and surely they have, we that are remaining in the industry must deal with the bad rap that others have caused. That is my point.

    ……”We clearly run our businesses in two different fashions.”…..

    No argument there!

    …..”You claim to make a lot of your own components, which I can only assume adds to your overhead with machinery costs and labor etc’…..

    Actually that has saved me money …. no, in fact that has made me money. We produce other products outside of the motorcycle industry.

    ……”Are you stating that the Baker transmission in my bikes is of lower quality than the one you make?”…..

    No, but I will say our transmissions are no less than an equal to a Baker!

    ….”Are you stating that the controls you use are better than those made by Excel Components?….


    …..”Are you stating that your exhaust is better than D&D?” ……

    Never used a D&D that I can remember so I can’t comment there…

    …..”Do you really think your frame is better than a Racing Innovations frame?”…

    Without question! Doesn’t Racing Innovation have some ownership interest in your company?

    ……”And for the record, we only have one bike that is for $15,995. It does not encapsulate our entire business.”….

    I know that … I went to your website earlier (not a bad site I must admit) and priced out your bikes in comparison to mine …. you didn’t have a bike that compared item for item, however, I came as close as I could …. in each case you were over $21K. Hell, that made me want to bring back our Good Times Bobber that we sold for $19,950.00. In fact I may bring the bike back and let my Son, Conrad, produce the bikes. I never have been a fan of the Bobbers (built that stuff back in the 60’s) however, he loves them.

    ….”And finally, I if you were not the coming after my bike, who were you speaking of?”…

    The people I speak of know who they are and I have no need to name them herein. Man, I have to tell you, you are giving yourself too much credit here ….. you are not a blip on my radar screen. Sorry, nothing personal.

    ….”Lastly, we have placed 5th and 3rd in the World Championships in the last two years in the production class. Where were you?”….

    Sorry man, I don’t need to do shows. Any show I have ever entered I have always won First place and then I catch hell from others for being a “Professional” and the field isn’t even.

    In conclusion, once again I wish you well.

    Over & Out,


  41. 41 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 3:51 pm


    One more thing ….. with the exception of the 140 cu in motors and my all Billet Motors all motors are “No Charge Options”….

    Over & Out,


  42. 42 Conrad Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Do not reply to him at all.


    We dont need the magazines to name us something, they dont mean much here with their little awards. Also, I believe back when I was a kid when we were one of the originators of the “custom production bikes” that Easyriders and all them sucked our nuts as well as AIH, Big Dog, Roger Bourget etc. So, lets really get into that at this time please. Also, if my memory serves me correctly one of our bike built in 99 as a regular production bike is framed in picture form on a wall at the Library of Congress. Does your 3rd / 5th place awards get you there??? NO.

    Sitting and waiting


  43. 43 Dar - Brass Balls Bobbers Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:08 pm


    Good for you. Congrats on your picture.

    Racing Innovations does not have any ownership in my company. Sam Wills of Racing Innovations builds chassis for the motorcycle industry and professional top fuel Drag racers with 1,000 HP motors. If his frames are good enough for them, they are good enough for me.

    By the way, that was 3rd & 5th in the “World”, with other professional, reputable manufacturers.

    Really, truly, all the best boys. Jeff, thanks for the good words about my site. Good luck with the re-introduction of your bobber.

    If you were not initially talking about my bikes, then I apologize for assuming you were. There are a lot of people who read Cyril’s wonderful blog and if left to imagination, your comments surely could be viewed by the average motorcycle consumer to insinuate that my bikes are of lesser quality. I just had to let them know that is not the case.


  44. 44 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:19 pm


    Spoken like a true gentleman! Thank you.

    Over & Out,


  45. 45 Greg Hoeve Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    “Motorcycle Industry. The Good The Bad And The Ugly.”

    Remember this?

    That’s the title of this thread.

    The illustration is, illustrative?

  46. 46 Bart Langley Cateye Customs Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    This whole fucking mess, is what is wrong with America, what’s wrong with our industry. I dont know either one of you, see both points, I guess, but yet here we all sit, along with the whole bike buying public, watching two industry insiders verbally beat the hell out of each other. Along with my bike shop, I OWN a manufacturing shop, and have for over twenty years, we average about 40M a year in sales, and our work is primary in the stainless steel business so I have a very good understanding of manufacturing cost. We have got to quit this pissing and moaning shit, get rid of the crooks in this industry, (i.e Chip Myer’s of the world), learn to get along, quit pissing in each others cereal.

    We have got to get positive, get active, and get our shit together AS AN INDUSTRY and help each other.

    I dont give a shit about t shirt sells, or being a rockstar, just want happy customers and checks to put in the bank. I am all about live and let live, but I dont see discussions like the above, helping any of us in this shitty economy.

    Before you flame the hell out of me……it’s just my fucking opinion, and I am entitled to it.

  47. 47 Greg Hoeve Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Of all the shit going on all around us, this is what were focusing on? We’ve got Carl Marx’s great grandson in the white house, selling out our country, willfully squashing small business and free enterprise. And this is what concerns us the most?

  48. 48 Conrad Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Dar at Brass Balls Bobbers/Choppers,

    I will try to keep this very simple and understanding for you. I understand where you are coming from and I understand your logic and thinking within the business spectrum. BUT I will tell you where I call bullshit and were I say you can not bullshit a bullshitter.

    …. “You claim to make a lot of your own components, which I can only assume adds to your overhead with machinery costs and labor etc”….
    Actually we have little overhead any longer. We pride ourselves in making the best product we possibly can, even if it makes up spend more to do R&D to insure our product is going to be one of the best products you will buy in its field. We don’t ONLY machine motorcycle parts; yes that is part of our business but not the whole thing.

    ….”I do not deny you offer other motors, but at even higher prices. By the way, Big Dog uses a Baker tranny and PM brakes for example. Ducati uses a Marzzochi front end. Does that make them any less of a manufacture because they do not make all their stuff in-house? Or does it make them smarter businesses because they have formed alliances with quality manufactures that specialize in what they do, resulting in great quality for the customer while also helping to dilute their overhead”….
    Actually, contrary to popular belief, we actually do not charge any different for our engines unless it’s a 140” or bigger/Billet. Whether it’s the basic 107” I put in my bobbers/company bobbers or the 124”s we put in the production bikes (not Bobbers). You can ask for a 131, 127, 117, 116 etc at no charge.. Oh and I forgot to mention they are ALL SHOW POLISHED unless ordered in natural or black and in the NATURAL casting you actually get some cash knocked off the bike, as you should.
    ….”Are you stating that the controls you use are better than those made by Excel Components? Are you stating that your exhaust is better than D&D? Do you really think your frame is better than a Racing Innovations frame?”…
    I will honestly say I hate Excel Components products. I have probably 10 sets of the hand controls (Billet with hydraulic clutch) and 5 or 6 sets of the forward controls lying around the warehouse. I have had nothing but problems with them on my one offs, my fathers one offs and have tried a few times on our basic production bikes. This is my opinion and I don’t like them. They are too blocky and too big for my taste. I like our controls they are light, contoured and chrome on all the bikes not polished.
    As for D&D exhausts, no we have not tried them nor will we ever use them. I personally go for the simple stupid method and my father goes for the what is the best for the bike and our customers exhaust needs.
    As for our frames vs. RI..No competition what so ever. All of our frames look perfect the second they are finished. I have seen and looked closely at several RI frames, yes good quality but not the best. Our frames are all machined pieces that are contoured on every piece to give it the sleek, sexy appeal we look for. The axles are all hidden via aluminum covers, the neck is machined with a contour and no neck cups needed. Our frames are very expensive compared to a basic stamped out parts frame. Yet we pride ourselves in making the best we are capable of doing at a good price.

    …”Big damn deal if making your own stuff in house raises your overhead and causes you to sell a bike at $26,000 that others can do for much less because they have a different business model than yours. Does not seem so brilliant to me”…..

    It is apparently quite “brilliant” if we have made it work for 14 years and counting, Dar. I know you mean no disrespect here but I will have to enforce the fact that we have been here since way before you and we do things the way we do for a good reason, it works. There is not much my father does that does not work perfectly, that’s why I trust him with his choices even when I question.

    ….”Lastly, we have placed 5th and 3rd in the World Championships in the last two years in the production class. Where were you? We were awarded Bobber of the Year by V-Twin and Easyriders magazine in February this year. And just this month, V-Twin and Easyriders again presented us with another award, “Top 10 production bike” along side some other small time manufacturers who clearly do not know what they are doing. And for the record, we have never once ran and ad in either magazine”….

    Ya, that’s cool. Retribution, our 360 tire, 149ci (270 whp) bike won 1s at the International Motorcycle show in Houston in 2006. Also, we won 2nd with our NRA bike but got so much shit from other builders that they knocked it out and said it was unfair to have 2 bikes in. That’s ok though. So with that said, the bike has since taken 1st place in EVERY SHOW it has been entered in. Taking the Seattle Roadster Show with Best of Show..Yes in a ROADSTER SHOW…. But we don’t boast about this unless we must.

    Here are the current stats on 2 of our One-Offs ;
    Bucket of Bones Bike:

    36 Show Entries:

    34 – 1st Place in Class Awards
    2 – 2nd Place finishes in Class Awards
    6 – Best Paint Awards
    3 – Best Engineered Awards
    18 – Best of Show Awards


    8 Show Entries
    8 – 1st Place in Class Awards
    8 – Best Paint Awards
    8 – Best Engineered Awards
    7 – Best of Show Awards

    So, I hope you see why we could care less about doing these industry bike shows. We don’t need that, we don’t need to waste our time so we can say we are 3rd or 5th etc. I don’t need to spend the money to go somewhere to know what place I take in the industry, it doesn’t matter to me. I am here to build bikes/cars and ride. I don’t need the spotlight, my dad doesn’t need the spotlight. We only need our bikes to be liked by people and have our customers be happy. Our customers like this from us, I can’t tell you how many things my dad has around his office and house that our customers have sent us. We are here as a business, yes, but we are also here to cater to our friends. We have many good friends in this industry as well as customers who have become like family to us. I can not mention how lost some of the builders are with this theory. They see the money, fame and women, they don’t see that we are a small industry and need to stick together.

    Conrad “The Youngin” Nicklus

  49. 49 Conrad Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Just take a look at
    Take a look at “The Ronald McDonald House bike” it raised 278k for the charity, my father GAVE THEM THE BIKE and paid for an entire year out of pocket to show the bike all over the country because he knows money is not everything, helping out is. Whether be kids you are helping, our economy or OUR INDUSTRY, we all need to stand up and go at this together.

    I had the oppurtunity to go to more Ronald McDonald houses than I knew existed, why is this cool to me? Because my father did this to give to the kids and their families who needed help with issues they face, much like our economy/government. I got to see kids smile, who usually do not smile, when they got to meet the Official McDonald and my father, sit on the bike, hear the bike etc. You have no idea how something like this changes ones life. It was a real eye opener and some on here need that I believe.

    I am honestly upset because at a show a few weeks ago we saw another builder, wont mention the name, had built a bike for RMHC and charged them for the fucking bike. Why in the hell would you build the bike for a charity then charge them? I know times are bad but dont build a bike for a charity if you can not afford to give it to them. Im pissed.

    If you dont see where I am going you are stupid and are the reason why this place is so fucked.


  50. 50 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 5:00 pm


    We all are insiders here which is like brothers, which we are, brothers fight (or at least agree to disagree) with each other all day but just let an outsider enter the fight and the brothers will come together to beat the shit out of the outsider. This is the case here. “Can’t we all just get along?” Fuck No, that wouldn’t be any fun!


    Calm down! There is little that can be done now short of a revolution and even that is what they are looking for and want! Once the riots and racial war starts then we have anarchy and that is exactly what they want so that the good ol’ Police State can be implemented. Obviously that isn’t the answer. The only answer is to stay after your legislators and look forward to the elections of 2010.

    Over & Out,


  51. 51 Boss Hawg Jul 17th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Boys, Boys, Boys!

    Now, now…the general public aside….we must consider the source of the so called “editors in chief” and the advertising dollars spent with the good ol boys at the magazines…that will explain Production Bobber of the Year at the V-Twin Expo.

    Sort of reminds me of a play back of BBC whereas it is strongly “alleged the so called “editors in chief” were given a BBC bike of their choice for favored advertising positioning and awards! Read into it what you may…but we on the inside know.

    My Friend, we will see you at Thunder Beach in September to shoot the shit from a few Mango seasons ago when we displayed along side you and Eddie Trotta beat out Russell Mitchell in the biker build off at the North Atlanta Trade Center.

    Woo hoo….And as my good industry friend says… Over & Out!

    Boss Hawg

  52. 52 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 5:06 pm


    They just had to awaken the sleeping giant, Conrad, didn’t they? Damn! I am going home!

    Over & Out,


  53. 53 Jeff Nicklus Jul 17th, 2009 at 5:10 pm


    Over & Out,


  54. 54 Boss Hawg Jul 17th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Jeff…Have a great weekend!

    Conrad…you go young man…that’s the spunk that made your Father… “Who’s Your Daddy”

    Boss Hawg

  55. 55 Dar - Brass Balls Bobbers Jul 17th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Boss Hawg

    For the record, as stated in my previous comments… I have never, not once, advertised in either Easyriders or V-Twin magazine. Their parent company puts on the V-Twin Expo, which also has never received a dollar from me, nor have I exhibited there.


  56. 56 James (Kiwi) Jul 17th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Well… read every single comment,just glad I picked up my new spec’s this week other wise I coulda gone blind.

    I really like the Brass Balls Bobbers cause thats my personal taste.Jeffs bikes I am sure are well made but not the style I prefer. You are in two different parts of the market !!
    I would not expect the prices to be the same.

    Is that too simple or am I simple…(Jeff is not allowed to answer that)

    The biggest problem the USA ,UK and a number of other countries have is you got rogered by your banks.
    They lent money to people they should not have.

    The Banks are the heart of the western business system.

    We had this same crap in the 80’s cause the banks were a lending money to people to buy shares and other crap they could not afford.Banks went under or actually were bailed out and then really tough rules were put in place So with tough regulation they are in good fettle here and we have been burnt ,but not as bad as It could have been
    The pricks that run your banks are the problem
    Just an opinion
    James (Kiwi)

  57. 57 Joe Mielke Jul 17th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Wow, I know my opinion is not necessary in this at all but I’m still typing even as my brain tells me not to.

    I have to believe that Chris’ point was that we all as consumers and business people can do our part to lift up American companies and support our own economy where ever we are. It is nothing new for big business to cheat the system and gouge the consumer. And most times it feels like it is government’s intention is to just gouge us all. Insurance, Health Care, it’s all a mess. It is a long road to try and fix those problems. One thing I hate almost as much as the companies that overcharge for their services like insurance and health care are the people who cry FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!

    Seriously! Just give us quality options provided by companies who actually give you the service you pay for. Who can argue with that?

    I also believe the intent of his letter is to motivate people to support Mom and Pop not Wally World on a day to day basis. In our industry we should try to support the S&Ss, the Baker Drivetrains when we can rather than the Szechwan Transmissions and Teriyaki V-Twin. Certainly not to get into pointless pissing matches about who builds a better more affordable motorcycle using the most American made parts. Come on guys rise about it all.

    As an American parts manufacturer we are pretty proud that thus far we work with all American based companies to put out American Made parts. Is it hard? It can be but not impossible. I pray we continue to be able to do the same for a long time.

    One last rant! I’m already typing too much already but here I go.

    Support your local shop, Brick and Mortar People! You know, your local parts dealer who has a face behind the parts counter. Ebay stores and faceless internet stores have created consumers who think everything has to be cheap to be affordable. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of quality businesses operating on the internet. But there are several piss poor retailers out there on the net.

    As a parts manufacturer nothing is more irritating than to have to fix the problems created by a faceless retailer from the internet. Time and time again we exchange parts and answer questions for customers who buy the wrong parts or get damaged parts from an online retailer who has no intention in satisfying the customer.

    Come on! You’re suppose to buy someone’s old priceless junk you can’t live without from eBay not new cars and jumbo plasma screen TVs.

    Online retailers sell with very little margin and rely on volume sales to make their profit. Then offer no service after the sale if the customer purchased the wrong part or gets a part damaged by the shipper or by the consumer themselves. We do our best to help those customers to get what they hoped they had paid for many times at our loss. It costs money to have staff to answer the phone and provide technical support and customer service. When you buy stuff as cheap as you can you should be prepared to get burned. And don’t cry when you do. If you pay a premium price you should expect premium service. And don’t get it twisted either. We are not perfect, mishaps happen. Manufacturing defects, miss ships, you name it things happen. But when we make errors we try our best to fix the problem as quickly as we can.

    I’m certainly not trying to make excuses for anyone but when has Cheapest on the Net, Discounted, Below Dealer Cost, Close Out pricing, Cut Throat Pricing been synonymous with getting a warm fuzzy feeling that as a consumer makes you think to yourself “I’m going to get what I want with the best possible customer service as cheap as possible right now!” click .

    Right now on eBay I type Klock Werks and I get three pages of parts for sale. Not one of those listings is from Klock Werks. I clicked on one item which happens to be a cad image of a brand new fuel tank dash we designed of which we are just starting to create inventory. The picture of the part they are trying to sell does not exist on a dealer shelf anywhere. Anywhere. It’s brand new! But there it is. So the description is wrong for the image shown and the description is misleading. A person could very easily purchase the part and find that it does not fit their motorcycle because the item they are were sold will only fit certain years of HD touring bikes. But the customer will still assume that the part will fit their motorcycle because the retailer has told them it will. Or has not told them it won’t. How ever you want to look at it. Either way, when it doesn’t fit who will the customer and the online retailer blame? I know the answer will be Klock Werks even thought the customer was sold the wrong part by an uneducated retailer.

    No mater what the product or service, be an educated consumer and buy from reputable retailers who you know have your satisfaction as one of their driving forces. And of course when at all possible try to by American.

    I’d rather buy an $8 100% South Dakota corn fed beef burger from the locally owned burger joint ran by someone whose kids go to the same schools my kid goes to rather than buy a couple reconstituted $1 sliders from the big franchise joints of the world any day. I think it’s just that simple.

    You stirred us up once again Wildman!

    See you in a couple weeks. Much love and respect to you brother!


  58. 58 Chris Callen Jul 17th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Here’s the deal man…….. What I hoped this article would do is exactly what it did: get us talking. Now that this has happened we can do anything. We must NOT be afraid to talk to each other, scream when necessary and to fight for what we believe in when the time is right. I applaud all of you for holding what you believe in one hand while you make a fist with the other. This is the motorcycle community that I grew up in, not this soft hearted, politically correct bullshit version it has become.

    On a few points some of you cats were kinda rough on each other…. GOOD! Someone should come around and check all of us once in a while, just like when some of you threw around the magazine word. It didn’t hurt my feelings cause I know where I stand. I will lose and advertiser over the truth, turn one away over principals and fight to the death for one that is right. The last thing that motivates me to get up every morning and work my ass to the bone is money, because there ain’t none in publishing. But I will tell you this, that “Editor In Chief” title is one that I earned and I’m damn proud of it. Those words men that I own what I print. I don’t put my name on someone else’s risk, this is my magazine and I put it all on the line every thirty days so in that regard I feel like I am in the same boat as a lot of the business here in the states right now.

    Just remember the foundation of all we stand on today….. they are not so simple words from a nation of simple men……

    Preamble of the Constitution:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Declaration of Independence:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Thank you all for participating in my sociology experiment titled
    “Will they still uphold the Constitution?”

  59. 59 Amazed by ignorance Jul 17th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    And so the pissing contest and cockfight ensued.

    How about “Nice bikes…I like the look” or “Man, how do you make any money making a bike of that quality with all those components?”

    This industry is so much smaller than this and you guys have to go with the pissing contest…astonishing. You guys are both talented builders and should be thankful that you are on the other side of each other’s styles.
    Piss on all the bolt-on bike builders of the last 5 years all you want, but indulge in the talent of both old and new….there’s some good things still going on around this industry and there’s plenty of room for ANYBODY that is still around after this mess of a year.

    Now’s the time when you come up from under the water of the sinking ship to see who made it through…a little common bond, and a lot of thankfulness will go a lonnnng way in getting this industry back in shape.

    I’m calling Johnny Pag to get involved in this. Maybe he can straighten it all out.

    Oh…and Chris…thanks for the article…good reading.

  60. 60 David Jul 18th, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Remember the definition of INSANITY is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a diffenent outcome!!!!
    So we all need to get of the couch and start inovating!!!

    Over and Over ; David

  61. 61 nicker Jul 18th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    “… And so the pissing contest and cockfight ensued…”

    You and Rodney King wann-a know “why we all can’t just get along”…..????
    Well, that should be obvious…… Because we’re Human, that’s why.

    And humanity will get along without a hitch…… when pigs fly.
    (or when Obama’s health care plan requires a frontal labotamy at birth)

    “…The biggest problem the USA ,UK and a number of other countries have is you got rogered by your banks…”

    No, we got “rogered” (?) by our Liberal politicians who tried to game the system by forcing banks to make very questionable (politically correct) loans.

    The banks simply took that “unfortunate mandate” one step further and made those bad loans available to every segment of the economy.


  62. 62 Boss Hawg Jul 18th, 2009 at 8:01 am


    Nothing personal…I admire your work. It is the “fairy faces” of the world that work their back door voodoo, as they think….shall we say while running under the radar with backdoor deals through their respective company’s auspices. Chris….I implore you to take look as an investigative reporter would…you may be quite surprised to see just who may have owned what, at no costs, from advertisers while they have been employed as an “editor in chief” for some of the mags being discussed here.

    This industry is starving for new talent attention when it should be writing about the Men that Built the Industry and are still here in it.

    Dar….I like your Bobbers, however, you and Jeff Nicklus are simply not in the same class of builders nor character as men. Jeff is one of the very limited esteemed builders and duly licensed manufacturers that does act like a whore…he produces a much better motorcycle dollar for dollar than you do!!!

    Furthermore….to paraphrase your quote, Dar, “Their parent company puts on the V-Twin Expo….nor have I exhibited there.”

    Did I miss something here? “Production Bobber of the Year Classic Bobber, Darwin Motorcycles”

    Boss Hawg


  63. 63 Boss Hawg Jul 18th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Oops Jeff….meant to say not….but what the hell….you can be a whore when you want with a much better ride for the money….lol.

    Boss Hawg

  64. 64 Shifter Jul 18th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    2012. Chris Callen For President!

  65. 65 nicker Jul 18th, 2009 at 10:08 pm


    “…Jeff you may be a tiny bit too Republican for my European sensibilities…”

    I think you’ll find Jeff is a Conservative by choice and only a Republican by necessity.

    There’s a hell of a difference.
    But it typically only becomes apparent to those who are grounded in Reality.


  66. 66 Dar - Brass Balls Bobbers Jul 18th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Mr. Hawg.

    I can’t believe you are still at it. Jeff and I said our peace and moved on. Someone told me you attacked my character and I just had to get on here one more time.

    Listen, unless you know me personally, you don’t know my character. It is easy to say stuff about people when you hide behind a CB radio/internet name. Why don’t you tell us all your real name, where you live and what you do… or don’t you have the balls to do it. People know it is me when giving my opinion. They know where I am and what I do.

    Secondly, thanks for giving the link to the V-Twin awards so that everyone could see. That was very nice. But clearly you did not understand what I was saying. You or someone on this thread insinuated that people who win awards like this are the advertisers of the magazine or somehow pay people off. I was merely stating that I did not pay to advertise or exhibit with V-Twin. My bike was there because they asked me to bring it. The award was given perhaps because they liked it.

    Unless you have seen and ridden our bikes head to head with any other builder’s bike, how can you make an intelligent decision about them? There are a lot of very talented builders in our industry who build fantastic bikes. I am honored to be in such a great industry. I am sure Jeff’s bikes are fine bikes, but you are making claims similar to what started this all to begin with. Don’t slam my bikes or my character.

    AND if making a high quality American bike and offering it at a price the average Joe can afford is “whoring out”, than we have different views on helping people who want to get out and ride a cool bike. Sure I would like to charge more, hence make more money… but I choose to make less to help others.


  67. 67 Christi Kapp Jul 18th, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Hello guys,

    You all have been in the motorcycle industry much longer than I have, but it does not make me any less passionate about making the motorcycle business a success.

    The creativity that I see on other people’s motorcycles is astounding – at each show I go to, I analyze the bikes and marvel at both the artistry and the engineering ability of the builders. People who have had the foresight to build bikes that the market will buy right now are on-target for today. Anyone who can dream up a design, then build it should be proud of themselves. People who have been successful, and created the first round of the custom motorcycle industry may be choosing to leave, but that is the cycle of business. They did a great job, and also – they are capable of being successful again – even if their new success has a different flair, or is in a different field altogether. This already has happened in lots of other industries. I was a management/information technology consultant and entrepreneur for many years. When the computer consulting industry took a major hit from Indian outsourcing a few years back, many of my peers chose to build different businesses. Some built restaurants, others went back to school. The beauty of it was that they made their choices, and pursued their new passions. It may have hurt, but lots of success came after they started their new dreams.

    All business segments have cycles of startup, growth, maturity, and then decline. What happens after the decline is usually a new version of the old business model. Since the old motorcycle industry business model is obviously broken within the current economic context, our mutual goal should be to determine what that new version of motorcycle business looks like. And then when we have defined what it looks like, we need to jointly hammer on our elected officials until they release us from the bondage of overregulation – at every level of government. We need to be unified to change enough laws so that we can all be more successful. The number of hoops that Tom & I had to jump through to start our business was ridiculous. The interrelationship of the insurance industry, government, and politics makes it almost impossible for an independent builder to succeed. You can NOT start a motorcycle business in the basement anymore – at least not legally. The freedom that this country was built on has been bureaucratized to the point that our ability to innovate is virtually nonexistent without a giant pile of cash, persistence and patience. I consulted to local government for years – and the lack of accountability to measurable goals is downright scary. Why should it be acceptable for a building permit to take 6 months – when the entrepreneur cannot float that long without a place to do business? We need to make government bureaucrats accountable to create an overall environment for business success. That means we need an educated, motivated workforce – and in case you haven’t noticed, that isn’t what we have here anymore. And the Feds should not be permitted to ‘own’ any part of a corporation…not ever.

    This is a problem for all American businesses – it is not just a problem for our industry. We have a huge opportunity to work together to change the way we define the motorcycle business, and change the way we look at the marketplace. Perhaps along the way, we’ll even fix the completely jacked-up distribution channel so local motorcycle shops can survive too. Have you all competed with manufacturer pricing lately? We have…forget about eBay… the people making American parts are so desperate to make money that they sell to our customers at the same price they sell to their dealers. And they don’t enforce their MAP pricing either because they’re paying their rent selling to the eBAY sellers. They’ve eaten the distribution channel alive.

    If anyone is interested in more dialogue about any of this we are on twitter as artinmotionllc

    Ride Safe! And don’t forget why you love motorcycles and motorcycling and building.

    Christi Kapp (a.k.a. “Den Mother”)

  68. 68 Chris Callen Jul 19th, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Just for the record, I know Dar personally and in business. I must say that the one comment that said that he was less of a man in character was off base. This is a good man, does tons of good stuff in the community and I will speak on that anytime! Not to get off topic…….

  69. 69 Boss Hawg Jul 19th, 2009 at 9:40 am


    Now here you go again…First Jeff and now me? For your info….Boss Hawg is not a CB/Internet name…it is a name given by respectable industry peers. I live on St. Simons Island, GA…if you would have researched just a little bit you would see my phone number, too….I don’t hide from anyone….the people that need to know…know where I am, too!

    I am a Vietnam Era Veteran…Respect Brother! I owned my first Harley Superglide in 1977, and then built my first ground up Chopper in 1977, built and rode a 108 ci rigid stroker almost daily when it would hold together back then and street raced a 120 ci 2-spd top fuel stroker to suck up rice burners and take their money week after week in the late 70’s…never run on the track cause it was so much easier to shoot pool, drink beer, catch the babes, and take the money on the street.

    I have a Florida State Certified General Contractors (unlimited) license (ask Cyril what the pass rate percentage is for the exam since he lives in S FL) and I managed $300 million to $400 million per year in major construction projects with upwards of 700 people under my belt throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America for 20 plus years.

    I retired in 2001 (ha ha). I now own own and/or I am affiliated with several small businesses with FRIENDS not foe or hypocritical wanna bees! I do own a small multi store chain of retail stores that sells products that every household needs in multiples…this business conservatively grosses around $1.5 million annually and when the economy was good it was in excess of $5 million plus plus annually without running the road.

    I am a licensed VIN authority and through my associated team we built frames and chassis kits for others in the industry that have built thousands more bikes than Brass Balls Bobbers has reported to industry peers.

    However, the above is neither here or there. It is you that chimed in jumping a dear industry friend of mine that had nether pointed you out or attacked you personally to begin with until you singled him out. So in turn, you get called out…it is that simple!

    I like your bikes and I like what you and your team are doing for the industry. But the vast majority of your builds are basic bar hoppers….and no more, which is quite nice because that is my next build of choice, too. However, when you build a bike like your Model 1 and then add the options to ride (not bar hop) from your Brass Balls Bobbers site, it puts you in a price point that is more than Jeff Nicklus Customs or shall we “say” an as equal?

    Who’s Springer? Cost $299 or less! From where…you know!
    Who’s Wheels….DNA? Costs
    Frame $500 to $600…good frame though
    Sportster Gas Tank? $60
    Boat Trailer Rear Fender? Boaters World $15.
    80 CI Evo Natural $2,200
    Baker 5-spd…$900…bet I am close when bought in quanltiy
    Wire Plus Wiring Harness? $150

    Shall we build a spreadsheet to ascertain the costs from the tires up, right down to the fluids poured in? I need to build a spreadsheet for my next build and will be very happy to work with you (at no costs on my behalf) if you would like to share your costs and quantities?

    Thanks for bringing up the fact that Easyriders/V-Twin shall we “say” sponsors their favorites. It is a known fact to industry insiders, and now, hopefully through this blog, to the general public whereas they can see that there is lots of blue sky & wiffle dust swirling around here. It has been said here before and I am sure it will be said again. You will learn that the V-Twin Expo will not warrant you attention as it may have early on.

    Keep on building, but lighten up Dude. We are here to have fun….please don’t get to stressed up. Maybe you should listen to the song by the Cross Canadian Ragweed Band…. The Boys From Oklahoma?

    I choose WHERE I go and WHAT I do and WHO I associate with….Others DO NOT tell me where to be and what to bring! There is a difference when a Man is Humble.

    We ride (not trailer) to a lot of major and regional rallies in the SE US. If you would like for me to stop in an pat you on the ass for a job well done, rub your head and get kissy kissy with you I will be glad to…wink wink.

    Please let me know about the spreadsheet above and also to stop in to see you?

    Boss Hawg

  70. 70 Chris Callen Jul 19th, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Christi Kapp – That was one of the most lucid comments I think I have ever read on Cyril’s blog. I’m not sure if I have met you but I sure would like to sometime, I’m sure it would be worth the conversation. Thanks for you post!


  71. 71 Dar - Brass Balls Bobbers & Choppers Jul 19th, 2009 at 10:03 am


    Okay, I am calmed down. You actually brought a smile to my face. No more hard feelings.

    However, the prices you have are way off. If you can get those items that cheep, then perhaps you can consult with me.

    In our early years, we did use the flat fender, but it was double the money. However anyone who follows us, knows we are constantly on a quality campaign and have made several improvements in our bikes. We now use a 13 gauge hand spun fender from Lead Sled which is over $100. Our frame is over $1,300 just to name a few. If you would like to help a brother Vet, then tell me how to get those prices so cheap on some of the other items you mentioned. Feel free to email me.

    Have a good Sunday.

    And Chris, thanks brother, got your back anytime, anywhere.

    Best to all.

  72. 72 raycwheeler Jul 19th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Dar .

    Your building one helleva motorcycle . keep up the good work .


  73. 73 Bradley K Jul 19th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Good read. Written with respect by most & the passion for the industry that all partys have displayed should be a common bond that is recognized.


  74. 74 Jeff Nicklus Jul 19th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Dar, Boss and Chris,

    Damn guys …. I will buy each of you a beer in Sturgis ….. actually Chris yours will have to be a Light Beer … remember the diet!

    I personally think this was one of the best rants on Cyrils site in some time now …. I know I enjoyed it.

    Over & Out,


  75. 75 Conrad Nicklus Jul 20th, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Ok so can we bring back some arguements about the economy and Obama?

  76. 76 Conrad Nicklus Jul 20th, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Im getting bored with all this kissy kissy touchy feely stuff guys. jkjk

    Good thread, good thread.

  77. 77 Boss Hawg Jul 20th, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Thank you, Jeff.

    Conrad, real men like that kissy kissy feely stuff….lol!

    Boss Hawg

  78. 78 BikerMarc Jul 20th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hey Bros – if Ray Wheeler says Dar’s bikes are good, then they are good.

  79. 79 Conrad Jul 20th, 2009 at 5:15 pm


    I know you all are some softies, but hey, I can not help you there. I have to have fun on here and make everyone pissed then smile, its my “trademark”….JK

  80. 80 Christi Kapp Jul 21st, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the comment. I don’t think we have met. Tom & I will be in Sturgis – you can email me at to set up a time & place.


  81. 81 TxSpeedster Jul 21st, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    This is something I have harped on for years. While the dimmies currently in Washington want to place even more restrictions on American manufacturing via carbon taxes and green treaties, India and China remain wide open and ready to export even more of our dollars into their accounts. EVERY PRODUCT imported into the US should either meet all of our environmental, safety, and wage (regionally adjusted) standards OR be levied at a rate which will bring their retail price into competitive range with American made products.

    Don’t think of it as protectionism, rather think of it as being environmentally and socially conscious about the rest of the world.

  82. 82 Boss Hawg Jul 23rd, 2009 at 11:48 am


    Watch it now young man.

    I got your “softies” hanging & curling wet towels as I exit the shower!

    Vroom vroom vroom.

    Boss Hawg

  83. 83 Big Bonie Aug 18th, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Dar, love your bikes man….. Now i would like to make a point to the right wing know nothings…you keep squaking about the “liberals” and President Obama (including white trash racial slurs….remember there are probably just as many or more white trash on the government tit as any other race)….the reason why the US is in such bad shape lies with the “right” & Republicans (business lobby) which removed restrictions on the creation of “credit” by big business…..this is how people with no collateral borrowed so much money over the last twenty years that the money is now “Monopoly money”,,,,who the hell do you think has been running the show for the majority of the last 30 years..very rich REPUBLICANS.

    One time if you wanted to buy a house or car you had to go to your local bank and show the boss you could carry the loan….then the right wing made sure that anyone could create “credit” (ie: think everything from credit cards issued by 1000’s of businesses and all the other modern credit outlets)
    The revolutionary change in the “creation of credit” by REPUBICAN administrations run by filtthy rich idots such as Reagan, Bush senior and shrub who will go down as the worst president every in history, has lead to what is now the status quo.
    However you boobs who keep slandering Obama don’t understand because you haven’t read or understood any American history …you are blaming the worng guy….he only came into office (the first ever President who wasn’t a wealthy man hardwired into the money circles)…he didn’t create the problem.
    Bush and shrub have made a fortune trading on the creation of credit and what that did to the staock market (read BUBBLE)… you you really think the right wing rich Republican brahmins didn’t know how to make money on that???!!!
    Get an education….your ignorance is showing (along with that other indicator of ignorance = racism).

  1. 1 The Cycle Source Magazine World Report » Motorcycle Industry: The Good, Bad and the Ugly Pingback on Jul 18th, 2009 at 1:48 pm
  2. 2 Motorcycle Industry. The Good The Bad And The Ugly. at Cyril Huze Blog | BikesRegion.Com Pingback on Jul 22nd, 2009 at 12:37 am
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Cyril Huze