I don’t know for sure how the 1995-2005 decade will be remembered in motorcycle history books. Among many positive developments in the custom motorcycle industry, abundance of creativity and emergence of new talents. But also some less flattering components like the arrival of too many business people and companies with no motorcycle background, just jumping in because these new ventures seemed as a cool way to make fast money, no motorcycle love necessary. Do You remember how many Harley cloning manufacturing companies were created? Most gone as fast as they appeared, and this before our economic recession. A few others giving up when our economy started to hiccup.
Contrary to the already defunct companies, those few custom motorcycle manufacturing companies still active today are animated by men who were loving motorcycles well before they became shrewd business people able to manage a motorcycle company. Among these companies still with us and deserving it, Desperado Motorcycles manufacturing seven different custom motorcycle models for a total never exceeding, by choice, 300 bikes every year, a safe and smart marketing approach. To answer the requests of those wishing a pure one-off, Jeff also created Jeff Nicklus Customs building one-of-a-kind American V-Twin High Performance Motorcycles. Jeff began building bikes at age 15 in Dallas, Texas. That passion has grown later into a lucrative business with Jeff relying not only on motorcycle dealers to sell his production customs but also spending months on the road meeting directly with his potential clients.
His yellow semi-truck is a fixture on the show tour and recession coming was the only exhibitor I know to be able to rank each rally and exhibit on a criteria of profitability that only him knows. Advice to all industry vendors: follow his yellow truck… Contrary to other custom motorcycle manufacturers trying to cover many styles to please a wider clientele, Jeff Nicklus builds only what he likes (reliable and powerful cruisers), got a strong personality style and doesn’t care much about the latest motorcycle trends or fads. He is a strong voice to advocate the cause of vendors with big rally organizers, has strong opinions about the motorcycle industry and, as my readers know through his comments in my Blog, about everything else… Among all my interviewees to this day, he was the quickest to answer my questions and reveals a little bit more about himself.
Cyril. When you were a teenager you wanted to become a? Jeff. A Fighter Pilot.
Cyril. Preferred actor and actress? Jeff. Robert De Niro & Angelina Jolie.
Cyril. Do you watch any sport, which ones? Jeff. Baseball (I love baseball!) , Drag Racing, Boat Racing, Golf.
Cyril. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Jeff. Nope.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Jeff. Forrest Gump.
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Jeff. Know it all people, Someone bitching at me, Scripted “reality” shows, People on blogs who use the term “haters” for anyone with a different opinion than theirs and people who find it necessary to Tweet their every move … I don’t care if you are brushing your teeth now or not!
Cyril. What do you miss most at home when you are in a rally? Jeff. My Family (including my dog Astro)
Cyril. Where is your favorite vacation place? Jeff. Key West, FL.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Jeff. I am a sucker for a great Chicken Fried Steak!
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Jeff. I collect as many pictures as possible of Ben Franklin, AKA: $100 Bills.
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Jeff. Enron Stock ….. now that was one of my best investments, NOT!
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Jeff. A Desperado Sport Bike!
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Jeff. Venison Back Strap pan seared with a wine mushroom sauce.
Cyril. When was the last time you were really angry? Jeff. I try not to get over the top angry….. I would rather concentrate on getting even.
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Jeff. Flying into Key West with my wife for the weekend and leaving my cell phone, computer and the kids at home!
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Jeff. The Black Hills Rally.
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Jeff. An interviewer on Fox News ask me once: “So Jeff, do you actually ride motorcycles? And if you do, isn’t that dangerous?”