Build Your Own Custom Bike Under The Supervision Of A Pro Custom Builder

It’s called the BYOB (Build Your Own Bike). An idea of JC & Jimmie at Three Two Choppers. The program is for all those who have thought about building their own  motorcycles but don’t know how to start. You know how to turn a wrench, but don’t feel you have all the knowledge needed to build yours. Do you talk yourself out of a project because you don’t have the tools? Three Two Choppers has started a mentor program that allow customers to come to the shop and be involved in the process under professional direction and supervision.

Wether you want to build a ground-up custom or modifying your existing motorcycle, their program takes you from initial design to final assembly while teaching you metal working techniques, lathe, mill skills, parts fabrication, welding if interested, electrical wiring, etc. The shop guides you in the safest and most sound possible way. So, do you think it’s a great “give back attitude”, a good business to benefit both the shop and all amateur builders? As a shop are you interested to offer such a “Build Your Own Bike” program? And as a retail client interested to use such a service if offered by your local custom shop? Three Two Choppers.

26 Responses to “Build Your Own Custom Bike Under The Supervision Of A Pro Custom Builder”

  1. 1 Conrad Nicklus Jun 4th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I think this could pose a potentially risky insurance claim on 3-2….. What if one of the clients gets injured in the shop? You can have them sign a waver, sure, but what happens when they say you waved negligence?
    Its a good idea guys, but I would definitely be talking to my insurance agent and lawyer before getting to into this. There will be many out who want to do this but I dont know if they small paycheck from them is worth the possible lawsuit.

  2. 2 Jeff Nicklus Jun 4th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Pro One and RC Components did this same thing several years ago if my memory serves me well.

    Over & Out,


  3. 3 Bill Jun 4th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    As customer #1 in this program, I am very grateful to JC and Jimmie for opening their shop to me. These guys represent what the industry should be… originality, creativity, contributing not exploiting, etc. Anyone considering a build needs to come see Three Two; ebay and craigslist are full of half-done projects, because this stuff isn’t easy.

    Cyril, thanks for running the story.

  4. 4 Kirk Perry Jun 4th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    It would be one of the only public motorcycle job training facilities in the USA. There’s the Kennedy school build-shop, in Canada, which is fine. We need some.
    The 3-2 is a one-on-one build program, and after a few build’s, you’d know what areas to let apprentices participate or not. [But let them get burned on hot iron and learn by fire, for cry-yi.]
    Liability is paramount in Calif., but so is education.
    Imo, it’s NOT beyond reason to require a student-builder to carry a 500K – 1 mil $ dismemberment/ life / home, “umbrella” insurance policy that would cover maiming or killing himself in “pursuit of a hobby”, or while attending a supervised apprenticeship program. It’s a choppa school correct?
    The school might show you how to make a craig’s list abandoned project roll.

    Where else are you going to learn anything or get the opp. to burn rod and build something?
    A person needs to walk into a shop and pick up where he let off, by reading the logbook that goes with the machine.
    The more people you get involved in motorcycle’s the better.
    Ask Harley and their stockholder’s what they think – well, they think – the more the merrier. 🙂

  5. 5 Warrio Poet Jun 4th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    “Chris, you be careful in those new ships. I don’t want you sailing off the edge of the earth or anything silly.”

    “You know, we could potentially ingite the earth’s atmosphere when this thing goes off…”

    “Say Buzz, that first step looks like a giant leap to me. You sure I’ll be okay?”

    Good thing not everyone lets risk stop them from realising their true potential.

  6. 6 FYI Jun 4th, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    i was at the first Bike Builder Bootcamp put on by Pro-One, well run, and just a great learning experience

  7. 7 nicker Jun 4th, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    “…ebay and craigslist are full of half-done projects, because this stuff isn’t easy…”

    Hell, if it were “easy” everyone would be doing it…… 🙂
    (instead of talking bout it)


  8. 8 JC Jun 4th, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Kirk, you are correct, it’s chopper school. We don’t let everyone into the program. We vet individuals to make sure they are right for the program and of course logistics is important. We don’t claim to be the first and it’s not always about money. When we were young we were fortunate to have met two guys in our lives Joe Cox of Azle TX and Steve Hersh of SF valley in California. Both these guys opened there shop to us bc they saw the passion and love of bikes as they had. Not only did we work on bikes, but the shop experiences, rides, up and downs from learning by doing forged great friendships and long lasting memories. When Bill came into the shop he reminded us of ourselves years back. Now over a year into his build, which tomorrow wraps up the fabrication part of his build and Monday the parts go out for finishes, we have forged those same bonds and experiences. Bill has learned that building bikes is not only about skill, but about diligence, problem solving and perseverance. This has not only been a learning experience for him but a life experience. The greatest thing about this program is we have also grown as builders and individuals as well. We have had a great time and the bike he has built is going to be sick sick sick! We are all excited.
    We will continue the program (three others still in it) along with building bikes for customers.
    You can follow us on Facebook (threetwo choppers)for updates on these builds and our company.
    Three Two Choppers

  9. 9 nuno maroco Jun 5th, 2011 at 5:00 am

    I think it´s a very good idea, learn whid people that already know how to do it, it´s less dangerous then
    try do do it our selves whidout knowlege.

  10. 10 Heavy Metal Jun 5th, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Although I see the liability that some are talking about I think the professional builders will keep a close eye on someone using dangerous shop equipment and probably teach a little safey along the way. Someone who wants to build a custom can benefit from pro help and for their fee they get the use of thousands of dollars of shop equipment that they would probably never need again. Nice looking customs coming from this shop.

  11. 11 Mike Infanzon Jun 5th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Nice. Keep thinking outside the box guys. It’s the only way our industry will move forward.

  12. 12 Matt Olsen Jun 5th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Good Idea guys. I hope that the program goes well and you get a lot of people excited about bikes

  13. 13 Kirk Perry Jun 5th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    This 2009 film will give someone more than “ride by” , as it actually lets you hear more than several qualified trade-skill mechanics briefly explain their involvement in the fragmented world of metal-benders. These folks known as “mentors” (usually someone who applies their skills as a team member of a some process with an end result, and obviously more for love than money.
    Of more, you’ll meet Goodson in his casting shop and listen to his ’40 knuckle list of improvements.
    And Cindy, Long Beach’s treasured & natural m/c historian. You’ll see the beach cities build scene in reality – mostly from home garages in tight neighborhoods that have paved alleys.
    And J-Bird who speaks pidgin (simplified English) and gets the job done.
    And Earl (who takes you on a virtual kick-stand build) + paper templates, nutz & bolts – and like Cindy is a strong thread in fabric that holds it all together. No way are these people in it for the money. It is heartening to see people like yourself hammering something out to ride on.
    And I seems all the knowledgeable people in this film are over 50.
    It will get you stoked.
    Like the 3-2 project, but authentically different. It represents one facet of the total scene going on.
    I’d say Zack Coffman is approachable if you had a film trailer idea. They’re holding all the technical equipment.

  14. 14 Teetotaler Jun 5th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Trade tourism. Fucking brilliant. Hope this catches on and these guys do well with it… While it may not be original, it’s such a cool thing to do and can work out great for all involved.

  15. 15 Rick Peyton Jun 5th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I love this idea. I was excited when I heard about it from a small shop here in Ohio. I don’t think they survived the fall out but, great idea. I wish someone else would do it again around here. It’s really difficult trying to figure everything out n your own. Online forums help but, having a live person to go to quickly helps tons. Most shops around don’t like giving free advice. I don’t mind paying for work being done but, a few minutes to answer a question would help. Good luck guys. I hope this really takes off.

  16. 16 JC Jun 5th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    That’s a killer idea. I’ll pick one up for sure.
    As I wrote before, we finished the fabrication part of Bills bike today. We have a few items on his list to do to the frame, but it’s about ready to go out for finishes. It was a great day today at Three Two Choppers and My friend Mr. Bill is one excited and proud dude, which he should be. Great job Bill!
    Pics are posted on our FB page.

  17. 17 Wiz Jun 6th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Hell, I’ve been doin’ this fer years now, I encourage it with my customers. I give them a reduced shop rate, supervise them in all aspects while they build/work on thier bike. Gives them a hands-on expierence ‘an they feel like thier machine is a part of them. Frees me up to work on other projects and rattle on ta someone about life-expierences. They run into a problem they benefit from my expertize. A win-win situation. As far as the insurance issue goes, well… I believe ya already know how I feel about that buncha crap! Wiz

  18. 18 GRIP ACE - HIDDEN MOTORCYCLE SWITCH SYSTEM Jun 6th, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Great concept.

  19. 19 gina woods Jun 6th, 2011 at 10:24 am

    While not original I am glad – shops, people are doing it..I think Jake of Best Customs started “Chopper College” years ago (7-8) then sold it to that knucklehead who ran it into the ground… weeekend education – I think he had a good response! Keep it going!

  20. 20 Infidel Jun 6th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Customer # 3 here.
    I was onhand yesterday when Bill rolled out his bike for the first time. That kind pride that shows on someone’s face can’t be matched simply by plunking down a wad of cash.

    Mine is weeks away from being finished, and as I’ve said on another forum, I shudder to think what my bike would be like without the guidance of the Coen Brothers. Like Jimmy said when we first met, it would be a shame to survive Aghanistan and Iraq, among other places, only to come home and kill myself on a bike cobbled together on a frame built by (I won’t mention the company’s name as it ALWAYS gets deleted on the other site)

    The great thing about this program is that when the customer has a vision, as I did, Jimmy and JC are willing to do what it takes to see that vision through, within reason. “We don’t build clown bikes here.” On the few occassions when my idea was replaced by a different idea, I have always been satisfied that the end result made for a much better look.

    As far as danger goes-it’s like Achilles said to (damn,I cant’ remember the guy’s name) “That’s why no one will remember your name.” You’ve got to take risks. Be it the program 3-2 is running , or some of the design ideas they come up with.
    If I can be trusted with nuclear weapons, odds are I can handle a four inch cutting wheel. They even let my son help out. After a bit of training, he was able to go to the lathe and help make parts for me without someone standing over his shoulder. This instills confidence in a young kid like him. The fact that it gets a father and son working on something together is rare enough these days.

    As for this statement: “I dont know if they (sic) small paycheck from them is worth the possible lawsuit.”
    All I can say is, it’s no small paycheck. These guys are helping me build one of the most bitchin rides I’ve ever seen, and it’s worth every penny.
    When you see it, you might love it, you might hate it. But one thing you WON’T be able to say is, “That’s been done before.”

  21. 21 Ron Jun 6th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I like it, looking for something similar myself and I wish the shop, and their customers the best of luck. Going back to the litigious society, I think the customer’s need to go in with their eyes wide open and realize what they are doing (and I will spell it out) ‘building a custom motorcycle themselves,’ even under the best supervision things can and will go wrong and I hope they (the customer) can exercise enough self control not to blame the shop; it’s in your hands, given what you have signed up for, that is what you wanted.

  22. 22 Bill Jun 6th, 2011 at 2:44 pm


    You charge less if the customer helps? JC and Jimmie charge more! I’m getting screwed! I want my money back! LOL. Actually, the bike is costing me the same whether I was helping or not. The difference is, the bike is costing me less than if I did it at home in my garage. So, this is a win-win for both sides.

    Thanks to all for the positive comments. You are the guys that make this culture what it is.


  23. 23 maddpuppy Jun 7th, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Right on Infidel, I like what you said, and I applaud the 3-2 shop ! I told a old friend who is a pro builder in the Carolina’s, that he should do something like this a few years ago, but he wasn’t interested. Kudos to the guys and women that do, do this kind of ” school “.

  24. 24 Infidel Jun 7th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Gee, Bill- Maybe they’re charging you more BECAUSE you’re helping!
    Seriously, very cool bike. Can’t wait to see it with some paint.

  25. 25 Larry Kennedy Jun 10th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    This is a great idea, liability be damned!

    We’ve got to get past this overly-litigious society we’re living in, especially in a world as counter-culture as the biker world. I just finished reading a book called, “Shop Class As Soul Craft: An Inquiry Into The Value Of Work”, that touched on this very subject, we’re not all cut out to be cubicle monkeys, but that DOESN’T mean that we’re the dumb ones.

    When I first started down this motorcycling journey, we had a local shop (Lentner’s H-D in Ottymwa, IA) that you could find open and full of bikers past midnight on some nights. Old Man Lentner never turned away someone who needed a hand that I ever heard of. And they were always right in the shop swinging wrenches and LEARNING right beside Wade Lentner, learning. When he passed away, the funeral procession looked like The Love Ride. And, the last I heard, there’s still a memorial ride every year, even though the first one was 27 years ago!

    That, my friends, is BRTOTHERHOOD.

  26. 26 Bill Aug 22nd, 2011 at 10:39 am
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Cyril Huze