Yesterday, got a private tour of the new Custom Chrome facility in Morgan Hill, CA. As expected in the Silicon Valley, a beautiful high tech glass and steal building housing 80 collaborators belonging to the purchasing, marketing, tele-marketing (inbound and outbounds calls), international (Japan, Australia, South America), technical support and warranty & repair departments. Got a chance to put faces (and smiles) on the voices I hear on the phone while placing orders, saw how they work to get your parts delivered on time or to resolve your technical issues. I also enjoyed hearing (please don’t read this Holger & Steve) that they all daily read my Blog at work (must be during break time…huh).
Back at the Hayes Mansion where guests are greeted by a CCI tent where are displayed the two 40th Anniversary Custom Bikes built by Cole Foster (a 70’s flashback chopper) and Kirk Taylor (a radical Harley-Davidson FLHX), I spent time at the Retrospective Exhibition retracing the evolution of the custom motorcycle industry through the eyes of Custom Chrome. A lot of rare pieces like the prototype bikes, parts and design sketches of John Reed for CCI. During his career, John designed, prototyped and tested about 80 of the company original parts. It’s time that the public at large know his name and acknowedge his immense talent and contribution to the custom motorcycle industry. Also a great, (acid) funny and very sweet man. I wish that this exhibition could tour the main bike rallies for bikers to understand what it takes of work before they can bolt-on a cool custom part on their rides…
And of course, Custom Chrome CEO Hoger Mohr threw several lavish after-hours parties to thank its 65 parts vendors/partners (who started to exhibit their new ware until Sunday evening) and faithful dealers who made the trip to join in the festivities.
Since the who’s who of the industry is here under the same roof (V-Twin after-market part manufacturers, vendors, dealers) I can tell you that most, like me, are quite optimistic for the rest of 2010 and especially 2011. Walking through the alleys of the CCI Dealer Show I observed that a lot more new parts are launched this year than in 2009. As a proof, the 2010 Custom Chrome catalog is 50% bigger, so heavier, with new vendors and pretty cool new ideas to customize your ride. Custom Chrome. (photography with Legendary Custom Chrome Designer John Reed and CCI CEO Holger Mohr).