Jesse James, Paul Jr, Paul Sr In A Live TV Bike Build-Off. Any Positive Side Effect On The Industry?

Since 2000, the start of major TV shows devoted to the building of custom motorcycles , It has been the question that everybody working or having any interest in the motorcycle industry has asked himself, to his peers, collaborators, clients and friends? Overall, do we benefit? Evidently, there is no doubt that those whose work has been exposed to the public at large through these shows, not only builders but also part vendors, have benefited, short or long term. Both in terms of notoriety, image and sometimes big money, fat checks for TV appearance, royalties, merchandising, sponsorship, etc (for sure, Jesse James, all The Teutul family got all of the above)

During these last 11 years, no meeting, no rally, no trade show where this topic is not debated between professionals. Criticizing or lamenting that most of this TV shows disappeared. I must say that I have heard everything from the extra positive (motorcycle exposure in TV shows gave birth to a completely new market of bikers; more bikes ordered and parts sold; more attendance in rallies, in bike shows etc),  to the very negative (it attracted very opportunists businessmen; it created a new breed of over-hyped custom builders and of “motorcycle fashion enthusiasts”; it projected a poor and distorted representation of our industry, of our daily professional lives, of the way custom bikes are built, etc.) Of course, many nuance their answers depending of the TV show you mention. For example, mention Motorcycle Mania, Biker Build-Off and American Chopper and for each show you will get very different reactions from the same person, again from the very positive to the very negative to the “it has absolutely no influence on my business” 

During these last days all the custom industry, bikers (and non-bikers loving to watch the Teutuls duel on the Discovery Channel) have eagerly waited for the big custom building skills confrontation between Jesse James, Paul Jr. and Sr. in last Monday’s and Tuesday’s Discover Channel Chopper Live Build-Off. You know the result, and whatever it is, the question is again “will the industry benefit? Will such an heavily advertised TV event raise a new interest in motorcycling, in custom bike building, will help sell more bikes and more parts, incite youngsters to join our sport? Or is it all reality show with no substance and no effect on the custom motorcycle industry?

As of today, the only thing I know for sure, and you all noticed, is the tremendous interest that this TV competition has created in my Blog. Just look at the number of comments under each of my articles related to the Discovery 3-way build-off. But what you don’t see is the volume of extra traffic that converged to my website during the last days, either supporting or criticizing with passion the event and its 3 competitors.

Look at the traffic numbers in graph below. They come from Google Analytics tracking with sharp accuracy my number of visitors (by opposition to HITS which are only the number of graphics, images,text links served when a page is opened), minute after minute, day after day. As a reference, during the last 12-month period my website is visited at an average of 13,900 individuals per day. My traffic spikes, usually almost doubling for a few days to around 22,000 visitors per day, each time I publish breaking news like the Billy Lane sentencing, Big Dog Motorcycles Bankruptcy, West Coast Choppers closing or Bear Bear Choppers closing its business, etc.  Knowing that weekends (from Friday morning to Sunday evening) are always, for evident reasons, the lowest traffic days for all major internet news organizations, look at what happened on my website because of this Discovery Channel TV event.

Friday December 2: Exclusive interview Jesse James. 18,386 visitors (32% traffic increase). Saturday December 3: 9903 visitors. Sunday December 4: 9061 visitors. Monday December 5: I announce the 1st part of build-off TV show. 32,866 visitors (236% increase) . Tuesday December 6: I announce 2nd part of build-off TV show. 56,197 visitors (404% traffic increase). Wednesday December 7. I announce the build-off winner.35768 visitors (251% traffic increase) A record 921 new readers also subscribed to my daily RSS feed during the same 6- day period! Most of new visitors come from major search engines (78% from Google), Twitter, Facebook (where I am not present by professional choice)

Not difficult to guess that, thanks to the big return of Jesse James on TV, the Discovery American Chopper Live Build-Off had its best show ever with an absolute record of viewers.  The companies I write about, my sponsors and advertisers, all gained extra exposure, got more click through to their websites via text links or banners. Twice more readers in only one day that the stated number of monthly readers of the largest American V-Twin print magazine is of course something I am proud of, but the main purpose of this article is to ask:

1- To all of you non professional readers who are bikers, if such a TV show incites you to ride more, to customize more, to start building a bike for yourself, to buy more parts, etc. 2- To all those working in the industry, if you think that, in one way or the other, it will help you do more business. And if it’s not the type of TV show you want, what content would you like? I remind you that Jesse James told me last week that he will start shooting a new TV show  in January for the Discovery Channel. It seems that its content is still somewhat flexible. So, what would you really like to watch? What would benefit all of you, individuals and professionals? (pictures @Discovery Channel)

74 Responses to “Jesse James, Paul Jr, Paul Sr In A Live TV Bike Build-Off. Any Positive Side Effect On The Industry?”

  1. 1 brew Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I’ll be the first. It was a win-win. I don’t like PJD or the bike, JJ was the only true real bike that can be ridden and OCC had a machine that wasn’t a bike but would be fun to try to ride. The positive is how everyone is talking about bikes where ever I went the last 3 days. As a fab shop I have gotten 50% more hits starting on Tuesday. Kind of like the old Honda ad “Different strokes for different folks”. Any spin for the industry in todays economy is good in my opinion.

  2. 2 Justin Drek Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:16 am

    First, Cyril, congratulations for your amazing daily magazine. Well deserved. Second, I am like Brew, for (almost) any TV motorcycle coverage. But the question is what type. Motorcycle Mania, Biker Build-Off had probably more positive influence than the Teutul’s American Chopper saga. What I am interested in knowing is what the people at Discovery have in mind for Jesse James’ new tv show. Another Monster Garage is not what we need. Only build-offs between true custom builders,”dancing with the stars” atmosphere not necessary!

  3. 3 brew Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    would be nice true 1 man shops that have to build there own frame, engines, do all the fab work themselves including paint without behind the scenes help or buying from another company.

  4. 4 doc Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I wonder what the age group these TV shows are geared to.

  5. 5 Josh Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Jesse James’s tv shows were positive. The Teutuls, VERY NEGATIVE for the industry. Period.

  6. 6 Shifter Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Unbelievable traffic numbers. So, it shows that whatever you think of the 3 contenders, there is a Discovery positive impact

  7. 7 Kustoms and Choppers Magazine Dec 8th, 2011 at 9:56 am

    My traffic shot up yesterday morning too!

  8. 8 thomas Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:12 am

    It seems that its content is still somewhat flexible. So, what would you really like to watch? What would benefit all of you, individuals and professionals?

    Cyril, In response to your questions:
    I’m not connected to the motorcycle Industry in anyway and have been riding different brands of motorcycles on the roads for 38 years…oops you now my age.
    I would like to see a mix/blend of motorcycle maintaining, customizing and some building with less drama. For example; I own a modern American Touring bike and an older metric Cruiser. It would be GREAT to see a TV show that would illustrate the installation of various products. Like fuel controllers,
    engine cam upgrades, belt tension/alignment, replacement of steering head bearings and tire maintenance/removal/mounting.
    The TV show could discover weekly, a feature builder and film inside his shop. The TV show could be 25 mins of building a bike, 25 mins of maintaining a bike and 10 mins of product information.

    Oh thank you for your GREAT site, I’ve been reading it for a few years.

  9. 9 steve-O Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    The old Biker Build offs were great because you got to see different builders go for it and watch them build the bikes. Seeing the real people who make this work inspires me pesonally to see what I can do with my existing bike. I am not a fabricator but a Harley is like a blank canvas, there is so much you can do to them.
    American Thunder was great to watch because it showed products, rallies and you got to see bikes from all sorts of people…. of course they ruined that by replacing Jay and his fine little side kick and then the show sucked.

    Can we go back to what worked and not over due the theatrics….

  10. 10 biker Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Get The Fuck over it you fools! Just because they call it a “Biker Build off” does not mean any thing.
    IT’s TV !!!! You dumb bastards !!!
    It’s all about Ratings and marketing of Discovery and their
    cast of Characters!! They need to promote JJ new Show and keep American Chopper in the Lime Light.

    Thats all this is Folks!! JUST TV !!

  11. 11 J Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Depends on whether you wanna be a biker or a blogger…

    Bike builder= overhead, liability, customer service, real-life hassles;

    Blogger= minor overhead, work in pj’s, cash Google checks day and night;

    Seems like an easy choice to me……

  12. 12 Walt Lumpkin Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Thomas: That show was American Thunder. It had most of the components you discussed.

    As for the show: JJ built his bike from the frame up with help because of time constraints. He could have done it all himself but had a drop dead date for TV.

    Jr. and crew did a good job outfitting their mail order frame. Unfortunately they are apparently stuck in the “theme” bike mode forever and for some reason love the rivet gun.

    Sr. apparently has to ask what OCC is building and how does it work. No clue. Building a tracked vehicle for a bike build off. WTF was Discovery thinking even allowing it?

    Part of the show should have been a ride in like the old Discovery shows. 200+ miles should have separated the men from the boys.

  13. 13 hk Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    i dont care what anyone says ,this is the case of “there is no bad press” ,As silly as it might be with the drama and goofyness it helps our industry wether you want it to or not .Its only been negative because there is only one outlet .Years ago there was biker build off’s .chopper mania,occ ,build or bust ,2 wheel tuesday ,american thunder ..even car shows on speed were working on bikes . So that helped the industry in a massive way .If we can get back to the core of building and riding we can inject some positive .But don’t think there wont be fluff along with it ,,its the way the world works so start getting over it now.

    It was positve we just won’t know how much or what the effect will be for some time until the next wave of trend comes around .

  14. 14 hk Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    build or bust was the best motorcycle build show to date .Well produced ,lots of actual work and the drama wasnt forced as much as an occ show .

    That format was perfect ,it just gets a little repetitive

  15. 15 Englishman Dec 8th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    To quote JFK “A rising tide lifts all boats”, anything that increases interest in non-stock bikes is good for all of us.

    We don’t have to like it :o)

  16. 16 Brandon Dec 8th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    For sure Discovery, JJ, Jr., Sr, Cyril are cashing in. Who else?

  17. 17 Magnumbob Dec 8th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Hey Cyril,
    As always, thanks for a great blog and forum.
    There is not a doubt in my mind that the TV shows helped drive the craze, and certainly played a big part in Cyborg Cycles growth and success in the early 2000’s.
    Love him or hate him, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and you’ve got to hand it to Jesse James for basically starting the whole ball rolling. He was the right guy at the right time.
    And it WAS a good time…..Lots of guys buying lots of parts to build lots of bikes.
    In the beginning, the bike and car shows were pretty much aimed at hardcore gearheads like most of us on this board, but that was about to change.
    Enter the Teutuls….
    Instead of a show centered around building custom motorcycles, we get a show centered around an obnoxiously dysfunctional family that happens to build custom motorcycles. It is an off the charts hit. People of all types are tuning in, not just to see bikes being built, but to see the next outrageous, scripted, temper tantrum. From that moment on, all the shows change in an attempt to keep up.
    It’s all about the drama now.
    I don’t know about all of you, but that’s about the time I quit watching all these bullshit convoluted soap operas.
    No matter, with all this exposure, the bike building fad was getting bigger, and gaining speed. Between the TV shows, the celebrity status of the people on those shows, and all the media celebrities seen riding custom bikes, lots of people who had never given thought to a motorcycle, for better or worse decided this was something they wanted to be involved in.
    And what, we were going to discourage it? Hell no! How many bikes do you want to build? OK, this was a pretty damn good time too.
    But, like all fads, what is new becomes old. Between the inevitable dying off of a fashion fad, a recession, and tightening EPA regulations, the party pretty much ended. (In reality the 2006 EPA regs turned out to be a non issue to people in most states, but that’s another story).
    Which brings us to 2011.
    Most of the fashion followers have moved on to the next big thing and all that’s left are the hard core gearheads. (From a professional standpoint, that sucks. From a personal standpoint, It’s fine by me.) Hell, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a used custom motorcycle that somebody is trying to sell for nothing. Many of us who enjoyed a lot of success during the fad are now, once again as before, simply trying to survive in what has always been, a tough business.
    So, as to the question put forth as to whether we believe TV can boost our little niche market, I seriously doubt it if they continue using the same, tired ass old formula. To get anything like we had during the first half of the 2000’s, you would need some new, bigger than life personalities to lubricate the fad machine. (Hey, maybe somebody who is actually likeable?). I certainly don’t see it with the current crop of whiny/shit talking drama queens they have now.

  18. 18 Rodder Dec 8th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Trash talking bikers and builders are so 2000. Let’s bring the polite, clean shaved talented builders. You know who they are. It’s what the public wants. If Jesse James would have been respectful, polite while defending his ideas (I build bikes to ride, hand made, etc) he would have won the build-off. But he is prisoner of his own public image. Jesse, you need a complete makeover.

  19. 19 Xea Dec 8th, 2011 at 11:42 am

    The rules (as such) did not say the bikes had to be practical. That said, I can see Jr winning. All the poles we offered here at J&P Cycles showed Jesse winning handily. It would be interesting to see the final vote totals. Did Discovery have the FIX in?

  20. 20 XH-D Rider Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Made some very good points.
    Yes cause of TV and these so call build offs has made the motorcycle craz grow. I see more an more guys copying the TV stars not so much in what there riding but more in the way there dressed. Guys wearing helmets cause they think its cool not cause of safety. The ones that have plaid shirts and bandanas wrapped around there head’s. The shows are a big influence on us all weather it be good or bad.
    If it wasn’t for the Arlen Ness and Donnie Smith and Dave P and Tom Rudd would JJ ever came about or would he be a bass master guy. Jr and Sr were selling steal till they saw Sanford and son and thought they could build bikes and act like ass’s.
    Every body customs the HD V-Twin it would be nice to see them do some other bikes like the European country’s do. They build bikes with what ever parts they have at hand they don’t care if there not harley oriented.

  21. 21 rebel Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    of coarse jesse’s bike really won, unfortunatly the mouth may have beat the builder. i’m inspired to finish my long bike every time i see one but, making a living keeps getting in the way ! disposable income has all but disappeared in my area, but hopes and dreams live for another day. stay tuned for the rematch?

  22. 22 Harleyman Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I feel it is all positive as there are many diff. type of bike riders in the world. Any news is great and only time will tell good or bad. Think positive in these tough times. ( I felt bad because I had no shoes, until I saw a man with no feet.) Anything is possiable.

    Ride often and safe

  23. 23 Matt Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    There were shows like ‘American Thunder’ and ‘Build or Bust’ that focused more on the the custom chopper industry and the building of them but neither of these shows could pull the viewers to stay on SPEED let alone for a higher profile network like Discovery. If DSC puts the time and $$$ into another bike building series you can be certain it’s going to involve a “TV friendly” personality (like James) and the actual building of the bikes will be only a side story to what ever is going on in the personal life of the “Star” whether it be real or fabricated. If you want a show specifically for “builders” you won’t find it on TV.

  24. 24 Skins Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    With everything you just wrote about on the spikes and numbers that’s an easy one to figure out the answer with out asking? we ALL want jesse james back! He knows what we want to see.

  25. 25 burnout Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The flood of “Reality” shows cater to all types of entertainment seekers. My type of show would be boring to most people. I could spend hours watching a CNC machine OR watching someone using a mill or lathe. The problem solving aspect of bike building is what I get into. peace

  26. 26 pj98rider Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    My final thoughts on all this…It was positive because it did have a whole segment of the population watching that wouldn’t normally.

    As to JJ being the only real builder, what a crock. Jr builds some beautiful bikes and knows how to satisfy his customers. And say what you will about “Theme” bikes, every one that’s been unveiled has been to applause, cheers and great reviews by the public. And when and wherever they are on display, they bring positives back to motorcycling and the custom bike industry.

    As to the real “biker” crap. Jr has been true to his craft and has built nothing but motorcycles from the very beginning to the present. He did not run off to a “Monster Garage” show and build bizarre contraptions. How did that show in any way help the motorcycle industry? Bottom line in all this is, it’s about the customer and what they want is usually what gets built.

    JJ has what on his bike…a 2 1/2 gallon tank if that? Boy that’s a cruiser.

  27. 27 EVILLE TWIN MOTORSICKLE CO. Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    WELL … Here’s my 2 cents worth on the whole T.V versus Good for the Industry concept .
    We’ve also noticed more interest directed towards our buisness since the programs , so without a doubt media exposure in whatever form it takes is good for buisness .
    The reality of it is , drama and exposing the short comeings people have is good for rateings . People in general gravitate towards “TRAIN WRECKS ” . They tune in for the most part to see just exactly what the @#$*% these characters are going to do next , based on what they’ve witnessed in the past and that friends and neighbours, trasnslates into rateings.
    Call it exploitation of our craft or whatever you want , but the reality of it is networks don’t care whether or not what they provide as “ENTERTAINMENT ” is good for our industry or not . And it’s amazeing to see just how far a person will go to maintain a certain level of fame , even to the point of compromiseing their own integrity .
    The show pretty much played out exactly how I percieved in my own mind it would . The bikes were all what I figured they’d be . I will admit , I was more than a little disapointed however in the
    ” PROFESSIONALS ” that were chosen to represent the custom motorcycle industry and culture ( With exception to Keith Ball ). It seems to me with a little more research and preperation they could have made better choices in that regard .
    With respect to myself and what I’d like to see in the form of programing ….
    I admit I watch these programs whenever I have the oportunity to do so , partly to see how crazy and rediculuos they can get , but more importantly to see whats going on in the background , behind the drama . I try to pick up whatever I can in the form of tooling , equipment , fabrication techiques , materials use , etc . If your quick and pay attention and look beyond the insanity and the attitudes , there are little snippits of valuable information that is usefull and informative .
    I’d specifically like to see a program that brings to the forefront craftsmen from all kinds of trades to show some of the skills and tools used in their profession or area of expertise to us all .
    Fabricators , Metalsmiths , Painters , Welders , Designers , Bike Show Judges , Tool Manufactureing Representatives and the like, could each do a segment or program highlighting their skills and pass on some trade knowledge and information specific to their craft , that would elevate all of us to a higher skill set .
    Get the Tool Manufacturers , Paint Specialists and Parts Manufactureres onboard as advertisers and pick a Host that can carry the format without being ” ALL THAT ” , and I think the program might be a winner .
    I know , your all thinking …” RIGHT ” Good luck getting guys to give up their secrets and show people what to do for free ” .
    The programs as they are now are simply entertainment . Extract from them whatever you can , but look past the B.S

  28. 28 Mike Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    As an aspiring bike-building hobbyist, I would love to see a show more about the process than that drama. I think this can be done without being dull. It doesn’t need to by preachy, just something to motivate a beginner that is going to fail a 1000 times before getting it right. Though to be honest, I am not one to look to TV for motivation, so I am probably not the target market…but something at a little bit of a higher intelectual level would be nice.

  29. 29 EVILLE TWIN MOTORSICKLE CO. Dec 8th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    By the way Cyril…..Fantastic Job on keeping us all up to date on all this stuff …..Your commitment is not nearly recognised as much as it deserves to be . Keep up the exceptional work …..We appreciate it here in the great white north .

  30. 30 Boss Hawg Dec 8th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    @ Raging Biker

    Wholeheartedly agreed and the opinions here are like assholes…we all got one!

    Now back to reality and the movies.

    Boss Hawg

  31. 31 bigitch Dec 8th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    the idea of bike building involves a continuing revolution of new ideas and new parts/designs.

    after a while people will get bored with redundance or shock by the sudden upsurge of prices as all the pie cutters jump in to get their piece.

    if television wants to put on new shows make them relevant to the latest ideas and times.

    i don’t watch reruns of “leave it to beaver”, nor do i care to watch bike builds that look like the 90’s.

    as nietche said:

    “he who raises his head abouve the herd and intimidates thy neighbor, is hence forth considered …EVIL!”

  32. 32 courtney Dec 8th, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    It’s all good, and I’d like to see more motorcycle based shows.

    However, with that said this whole debate about what constitutes a proper (lol) motorcycle show is, well, stupid. Surely we can come up with shows that can and will appeal to a broad spectrum of riders and enthusiasts, and not limit the target audience to Hells Angels and all those wannabees out there.

    I see this ridiculous debate in much the same context as Harley Davidson marketing to women. So what! Get over it. Women rode bikes early in this country’s history, and they rode those primitive machines cross country as well. Alone. For the mere enjoyment of it.

    So, I don’t know who hijacked motorcycling along the way and asserted that it belonged only to hyper-testosterone fueled wannabe Marlon Brando movie characters, but I think it’s high time to take it back and allow the masses to partake in this wonderful hobby/pastime as well.

    What we need is a Motorcycle Channel, not a few shows spread across a few different networks.

  33. 33 Steve Dec 8th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Billy Lane will school all of them…………………………………………..once he gets out of jail in 4 more years.

  34. 34 DJ Dec 8th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I have to say that I love all vehicle based shows, including all Spikes and Speeds garage shows and Velocities/HD Theater’s shows like Cafe Racer(even though I am American Twin only sort of dude) Build or bust was a great show too! I am just thirsty for knowledge that way. I even learn from OCC and PJD. I want to see a motorcycle build show that is not dumbed down for the fashion biker. I don’t care about the drama, for good TV, I don’t want to spend half a show touring a pinwheel factory to get the back story on the inspiration for a build. I don’t want it to be corny or pussified. Lets see something that is entertaining but educational. The old Biker build offs were the closest thing to it. At least those guys talked about what they were doing. I got ALOT out of those shows. Motorcycle Mania’s were also very educational… But still spent too long on a bio of JJ. You put that show on and I will spend all my money on the sponsors.

  35. 35 rob Dec 8th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    All those bike shows that were on in the 2000-2004 era were great for the motorcycle industry. Look how many H-D anniversary bikes were manufactured/bought in 2003. The best part (forM E) is when all the folks who bought bikes didn’t ride anymore.You know,the guys who got plain bored after riding a thousand miles in 5 years.Or the guys whose wives forced them to sell,or the ones who were actually afraid to ride.Lotsa great low mileage bikes at good prices……………………..

  36. 36 modenawest Dec 8th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Jesse needs to do a new Discovery Channel show called “Metal Church” (something he was doing with videos earlier). Premise of the show is to build a car, landspeed racer, motorcycle, etc in 30-days (say 4 shows) using “world class craftsman talents” (Jesse or others he knows involved) Think of it as a modern Monster Garage but given more time for talented people to polish and perfect the end product. Do co-builds with Cole Foster, Steve Davis, Chip Foose, Hank Young, etc — or outside industry folks who’d bring a new skillset to showcase for viewers. Given the amount of “theme money” out there via corporate (via OCC/PJD) — I’m sure there are some companies (tire, paint, etc) that could get involved but not require “cake decorating” to appease them but would still benefit.

    The one thing that Monster Garage and other shows provided — inspiration for others (adults, teenagers, armchair quarterbacks) to build cool stuff themselves. I’ve yet to meet one person who was “inspired” by American Chopper other then to yell and whine…

  37. 37 Bud Dec 8th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    @Steve, forget Billy…….WARREN Lane is the man.

  38. 38 pj98rider Dec 8th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Shinya Kimura…stands above the crowd plus quiet and unassuming…class all around.

  39. 39 just my opinion Dec 8th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I really don’t get the whole idea of JJ being a bike builder and saying Jr. and Sr. are not bike builders. Because the truth is Jr and Sr both have built at least a hundred to one bikes over JJ so how does Jesse get so much credit and Jr. or even Sr. get none. I know I know they have teams of people that help them build everything but did you watch the show Jesse could not pull off his build alone so he brought in help so is he a builder? If Jr is a poser because he uses help to build his creations and Sr is also a poser because he uses help to build his creations than it must be obvious that Jesse is also a poser because he brought in a team to help him finish on time. Another thing I heard on that show that sat funny with me was JJ said he has personally hand made at least 600 gas tanks in the last decade, if that were true he has built one tank every 5-6 days and that is if you count ever day of ever year in the last decade, if you take out weekend and holidays he only had 4 days to complete each tank. And remember it takes a good two to three days to shape tack and weld a tank. Sounds like just more bragging to me but what do I know? I don’t believe he was telling the truth on building those tanks any more than I believe he can build a show bike in the time frame he was given for the show and that is why he too had to bring in help. It does not mean he is not a bike builder or that is is less of a builder it just makes him look like a hater to say he will build his own bike 100% and the Tuetle’s are posers because they don’t but then he does the same as the Tuetle and brings in help just like they do. Jesse has a lot of talent and can do some things better than the Tuetle’s but the bike Jr built was bad ass whether it was a style you like or not how can any one being honest say that it could be done with less than a great amount of talent? and Jesse should of had enough class to admit that but I guess he is too busy trying to live up to that badass image he is trying to regain. And as for Sr’s build it was not techically a bike but any one that has ever built any thing could not truely look at what his team built and not see the talent it takes to make something like that from scratch. Over all this show was good for the bike industry, good for Jr, good for Sr and even did Jesse some good because after all his fans thought him being an ass to the Tuetle’s was being cool.

  40. 40 sollis Dec 8th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    The banks regulates industries not a tv shows

  41. 41 Rider2 Dec 8th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    It’s a tough question because it’s hard to measure. I certainly don’t think regular folks who were not riders before watching any shows started to buy tools, lifts and motorcycle parts at their local shop to start building bikes…. or decided to open their own business. They bought $40 t-shirts and Discovery DVDs. This was the intend of the shows anyway. Neither OCC or Jesse James build bikes for the general public. OCC failed with their production bikes, Jesse is building 10 to 12, mostly for Hollywood guys who can afford a $150,000 choppers. OCC’s money comes from theme bikes for corporations and memorabilia at rallies and online.

    It did not help the industry at all as far as selling more parts or accessories. It didn’t help the distributors because those guys go direct for frames, engines, wheels etc… So their rep didn’t make more money because they were on TV.

    It did help showing one side of the industry to the general public, showing welders, painters etc… but that’s pretty much it. The motorcycle industry is way too small compared to NASCAR for example. It’s just cool to watch some guy on a long chopper or some painter doing pinstripping at an event. But it doesn’t help motorcycle sales, parts sales or even clothing sales.

    Whatever is done for TV Is for rating and advertising (money). They are just surfing the wave then will go to the next thing. What’s strange is that they have shows about bikes and stuff but never really have done anything about muscle cars, street rods or luxury vehicles who seem to have a larger audience (and more money to spend).

    No matter if we like it or not, OCC made a tone of money with this and continue to do so. Everybody can tell them they don’t know how to build bikes, they suck at doing this or this. At the end of the day, they are the ones laughing all the way to the bank and the rest of us still have to get up at 6am to go to work. It’s about money and that’s why people want to be on TV. Doesn’t matter if they sell more t-shirts than bikes as long as they pay their bills and save for retirement. That’s what Senior is doing.

    Ask how much more business Arlen Ness is doing now that he has been 3 times on TV or guys like Brian Klock or any of the bike builders that have been on TV for Biker BuildOff. Even Jesse James who had 3 shows and a lot of Hollywood backup for a while hasn’t probably benefited that much from the shows, at least not as much as OCC did.

    I don’t think the industry has had any positive impact from this….. However I hope the external people looking at what we do all day don’t think we just say fuck all the time, sleep with strippers and make bikes that look like snowmobile or fire trucks.

  42. 42 Lambo Dec 8th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    18 Builders get their name thrown in a pool for a 3 way build off. (6 episodes)

    Each winner advances to 2nd pool of 3 way build off between previous winners – similar to any sports playoff system (2 episodes)

    One build off between the top 2 from second round… for grand final.

    Bikes must be ridden 200 miles, 100 out and 100 back. Brake down = disqualified.

    Only question is: Who will judge?

  43. 43 badams Dec 8th, 2011 at 7:27 pm


    Free advise for the Sole Proprietor and mid sized guys out there based on 15+ years in Marketing and Advertising in Auto and Motorsports cleints:

    1.) ALL consumers go through buying stages, from a Rolls Royce to Budweiser. AWARENESS, CONSIDERATION, INTENT, PURCHASE are the stages a consumer must go through to become yours. Oh, and the new one after PURCHASE is ADVOCACY. We were sold nothing at this stage, it was to create AWARENESS. Now its up to the Business Analysis to determine the value of the content created enough awareness to spin off more motorcycle shows and sell the audience sell it to Advertisers.

    2. This helped American Chopper and Discovery recreate “AWARENESS” of a dying franchise. Don’t see the correlation to driving people to custom shops to have a handbuilt Hellfire death-trap with a 120 JIMS motor stuffed into it. Disposable income ratios based on Home Equality Line of Credit are as dry as El Mirage.

    For all those dreamers who think just because they have an English wheel and a friend can paint pearl and flakes in an alley doesn’t mean you are going to become a TV Star. The Industry just needs to just go back to work; Its loaded with interesting people, innovation ideas……and thats what put it on the map in the first place .

  44. 44 chaos cycle Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I dont care for the american chopper show or its stars, that being said some teens may watch it and introduce them to bike building. Hopefully jesse’s show will display the process of the way to do things. Lets face it the english wheel was known to very few before jesse and im sure he is responsible for sales of thousands of them since the first motorcycle mania. All this hype from the build off will be good for buisness but will probally increase the number of people saying “Wow your just like OCC” which will agravate everyone in the industry but if it helps over all numbers we will deal with it.

  45. 45 Mark Dec 9th, 2011 at 12:38 am

    PJD is essentially a marketing company. They don’t build bikes that you can buy and ride around on. They don’t make parts you can buy to put on your own bike.

    What PJD does is provide services to corporations looking for marketing through TV. I have no problem with that – BUT – what is going to happen in the end is that the TV show is going to end, and PJD is going to have to make the transition to a real business outside of the insulated world of TV.

    OCC has been trying the same thing and not doing so well. As I understand, their “dealership network” didn’t pan out, and if the foreclosure is any indicator, their parts sales haven’t panned out either.

    It’s been said the TV show has not been picked up again… and I doubt it will be. I don’t think OCC is going to be around in a few more years. PJD will be around as long as they are on TV, but I don’ t know how long they will last after that.

    As for JJ… well he’s not even in the bike building business anymore… what parts or services is he selling?

    As for the effect on the industry – I am not sure. I don’t think most people watching are going out to buy bikes or parts based on these shows because most people who watch aren’t bike people. I don’t think people necessarily see products on the show and want to go buy them either, because most bike people don’t put much stock in what they see on the show.

    The only benefit I can guess at is an intangible one – increased awareness of the MC industry. Does it help our sales? I don’t think so, personally.

  46. 46 Rogue Dec 9th, 2011 at 8:04 am

    All Good Comments Pro & Con.
    No matter what any of us do or say we will never please all the people all the time.
    I know the comments help educate me to what people are interested in. Olease keep them comming.
    Ride Free

  47. 47 Rogue Dec 9th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Damn Typo That should be – Please keep them coming

  48. 48 olgraybeard Dec 9th, 2011 at 8:14 am

    My vote is for actual build programing, that shows actual build techniques . I like the multi-week programing on a bike that is not just bolting parts using skilled and unskilled builders. This type of programing gives me the most motivation to work/build my bikes. The trash talking format does nothing for me.I like to see a number of styles (not just one builder) and not trailer queens or just show bikes. I don’t like programing solely based on theme bikes although I know some builders like to name their bike to identify a style they were after. Shows like the old Exile show where building techniques were shown keeps my interest although that particular show got a little old showing the same basic bike all the time. A similar show using different shops would be very interesting to me. Just my 2 cents

  49. 49 Oldude Dec 9th, 2011 at 8:37 am

    What real rider buys a theme bike and face it folks the Chopper craze is over. If you doubt me just look at the “chopper ” builders that are no more. For motorcycles to be the real winner there must be more riders and new riders don’t buy hand built bikes they buy factory produced reliable motorcycles. After the new riders decide they like motorcycles then they may try custom builds. Until then the one off builders better scale back. How many of you out there would like to invest in a new small scale bike building company? Just count the number of companys that have gone tits up!!!

  50. 50 kc cheef Dec 9th, 2011 at 8:40 am

    It looks like you credit the return and promotion of Jesse James with the increased traffic on your blog.

    Did you consider it might have been the popularity of Paul Jr. Designs that increased the hits on your site?
    Before the polls on Discovery Channel were taken away from view Jr. seemed to have had nearly double the votes Jesse had.
    Yes–it probably was a popularity contest, but public opinion will always sway the bike building industry.
    Maybe all us wannabe mere riders do actually have an opinion that counts, and it might be the industry need to observe and respond to those opinions.
    Maybe the trend in motorcycling is drifting away from the bad ass – tatt covered – outlaw biker image that seemed so popular for a while and heading back towards the average man (or woman) out enjoying SPORT of riding motorcycles and rallying up to have some without tits flashing, and out of control weekend warriors raising ten kinds of hell..
    Might be time for the custom industry to take serious notes on what happened on Discovery Channel and follow the lead Jr seems to be setting.

  51. 51 Mazz BMHS Bike Klub Canada's Only Chopper Class Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Bring back Biker Build-off, to curb some of the costs, make it series instead of one show episodes. What I mean is, have 4 builders, give them plenty of time, like 4 plus months, follow them around for those four months, have the show more about the building but have some personal and business related elements, at the end, have a decent ride attached to it and then a “Live’ event at the end with both Judges (from all walks of life) and show goers voting. It’s fair, it’s acurate and we are all seeing what we want to see.
    jus’ sayin.

  52. 52 Mazz BMHS Bike Klub Canada's Only Chopper Class Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    and oh yeah, fresh, new bike builders, the past ones are great, we know they are great, but a new show means new blood, give the new kids a chance, they are the future of the industry after all.

  53. 53 Tim Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for all the great feedback good or bad, we now return to our regular scheduled program…
    Thanks Cyril for a great Blog! Tim

  54. 54 Cyril Huze Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Kc Cheef. No. The success of the show is not due to Jr. or Sr. but to the “confrontation” with Jesse James. Never any “American Chopper” TV show, even if talked about in my website, with only Jr. & Sr. dueling, has created such an interest and traffic increase in my website. The popularity of the American Chopper Live is unanimously credited to Jesse James making a return on TV. It was exactly the strategy pursued by the Discovery channel, and from this point of view, they fully succeeded.

  55. 55 Joe Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Usually don’t comment. Cyril, you did again a remarkable job factually reporting on this show, before, during and after. You let us express our points of view and I hope that the people in charge at Discovery read you. I am certain that all 3 builders read the comments and good or bad, right or wrong, they get a good feedback of how they are perceived. Extremely interesting.

  56. 56 badams Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    @ Mark—–well said. Very intuitive.

    All these replies are refreshing. Lots of smart, savvy guys reading this blog, keeps me coming back. Shows ya the industry and sport isnt full of knuckle draggin thug wannabes afterall. Thanks for the great engagement and candid feedback, keeps the juices flowing…..

    Thanks all-

  57. 57 kc cheef Dec 9th, 2011 at 10:16 am

    You make my point Cyril.
    My own opinion and it isn’t worth a nickel?
    Discovery Channel might have learned a lesson with that public voting it put up.
    Might be all that interest was generated by us common folk who were out to voice an opinion without being intimidated or influenced by our peers or the industry. Just kind of voting for what WE ilke.
    Fact is Jesse got his a– kicked in those polls–then he got his a– kicked on the show.
    I will grant you that Jesses return to TV would generate a whole lot of interest and bring in a whole lot of viewers (for a while–all that drama gets old eventually).
    OCC/PJD is losing it’s appeal to the public because of its long run on TV same as Monster Garage was losing its appeal towards the end of its run.
    PJD vs Jesse James was marketing genius. Paul Sr. was thrown in out of pity.
    Might be the run of the mill — so called wannabe motorcycle riders out there today are kind of tired of being associated with skulls and bones and tatts and tits and motorcycles that are built to stroke builders egos rather than to be ridden.
    Might be there’s a lot of just every day riders who ride for the fun and chance of finding a friend or two along the way. Hell–even us posers love the feel of the wind on a short ride, and maybe us posers are beginning to realize the ”life style” is a dream lived only by a few.
    Thing about us wannabe poser motorcycle riders is–we’re the ones buying and the builders should be listening to us.
    That Discovery Channel production looked like it was a popularity contest between Opie Taylor,(Paul Jr.) and Darth Vader (Jesse James) might be Opie is beginning to make a comeback.

  58. 58 Scott Dec 9th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    YTY and MTM should tell you if this show has any economic effect on your business.

    This show reached 4.766 million total viewers, with 2.4 million coming from the coveted “males 18-49” demo. In November, it was #1 with that demo.

    Makes it obvious why corporations beg these guys to promote their brand. They’re not buying motorcycles, they’re buying airtime – both in real time and residual via rebroadcast (cable and web), direct web presence (OCC, PJD and Discovery), and third party websites (blogs, forums).

    Whatever type of programming you think will increase your business, it has to increase Discovery’s business as well. And to do both, it has to appeal to a much broader audience that those who will buy even a tee-shirt from your shop.

    Your business is no different than any other business. Look at targeted marketing through internet channels (streaming content). Develop your own content.

  59. 59 Geno Dec 9th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    The Turtles were part of the demise of the chopper industry
    they made a joke out of the chopper scene

    With Billy gone until 2014 and Larry gone forever
    its so sad that a incredibly talented builder like Jesse’s who helped re-ignight cool ass choppers years ago has to work with the 3 stooges to get any new TV time and his reputation is lowered to this level to be beaten by that crap little Paulie built judged by losers

  60. 60 JACK HUGHES Dec 9th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Jr’s bike-wow a whole gallon of gas !!
    I personally gave Jesse my vote-the Teutles are just “glam” builders-how far can you ride on a gallon of gas ?? Come on, Jesse’s bike was the most practical,if not rideable bike built. FUCK OCC AND PJD!!!

  61. 61 tattooeddmike Dec 9th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    If I might add to the reply by Geno, I agree with you and the thing is Jesse is back building bikes again and that’s cool, but with the contest deal between the three,… ok, two as OCC didn’t even build a bike I just can’t get past the skinny back end. (board track my ass)…. You can’t ride that shit for a day and do past 1 – to two hundred miles much less a riding trip to anywhere for a week or two. Jesse’s bike is a rider. End of discussion, and Jesse get’s my vote for a bike that you can ride as well as feel good riding it. You build it and ride it, not just build it and show it. Two different styles and the old man don’t count…. too bad for his crew…. no one wanted to tell him any different and just point out that it was a bike building contest. And again, to each his own. Thanks again Cyril for getting the mc news to us.

  62. 62 Olive Oil Dec 9th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    After a wonderful life of riding around this great country and Mexico, logging more than 300,000 miles over the years, my riding days quickly ended due to health.
    I live my rides all over again now in memory. I relish those memories and am always thinking of forgotten things I saw or experienced over those years that I have long forgotten about.
    I would love to see a show on plain and simple riding this country. Including all the breakdowns , campgrounds , crumby cheap motels and yes even all those incredible rainstorms, snow storms, wind storms, dust and desert heat I have gone through.
    To relive all this on a TV show would be a dream for me.

  63. 63 Ron Dec 9th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    As far as the new JJ show. I would actually like to see more actual building, the more detail the better. I hate the fact that the shows started off great showing builders actually building and then over time it disintegrated into just personality and hype with the bikes seemingly taking a back seat.

    I would like to see people talking about their approach, the build process from drawing to material selection to tools, parts building, bike construction and then some kind of actual review about how they feel about the finished product, what they are changing/didn’t work as well as they thought/worked better etc. etc. I realize that that is a lot to squeeze into a 40 minute show (+20 for ads = 1 hour) but it could be done.

    I know you know JJ Cyril. Any chance you could talk to him and get him to talk to Discovery about releasing a DVD with ALL of the stuff they filmed whilst he was building his bike for the buildoff. I bet there is hours of material that just hit the cutting room floor. That’s a dvd I would buy, I love that bike he built.

  64. 64 Lugnut Dec 9th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Can’t we ask the judge to let Billy Lane out for good behavior so he can get about the task of showing all of these drama queens the directions back to the soap-opera set.

    I am not even sure JJ can out-cuss Billy.

  65. 65 Austin Weiss Dec 9th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    for me as a builder and I been very lucky to Weather the reccesion storm as well as having to break away from my father this past 6 months.
    Well, First off a little about myself as a background so people dont think im
    Some blooger, i actually have the cuts on my hands and burns from weldeing, that doesn’t mean im
    Any better of a person, I’m just giving you my view. I have been very fourtunte to
    Be on the easy rider tour and have 3 bikes in the AMA hall of fame as well as covers of alot of magazines.
    I want to voice some of my personal opinions about this buildoff. I have been on both sides, A lot of people don’t know but I came from Eddie trottas thunder cycles. I worked there during both biker build offs (eddie won both),and when he got filmed for v twin tv. I learned alot from eddie and respect him alot. Left for personal issues nothing to do with eddie or any negative reasons.
    My thought on this build off was:
    Jesse- i agree with jessse with how he feels with paul jr, i think the industry is borning and full of crap. i am so glad some one called out paul jr. I’m Tired of Theme bikes. Im Glad he called him out on the rivets, not just the copper bike which was built with actually functioning rivets which held FUEL in the gas tank, he built the airstream bike etc. nothing new, but still built a actual bike. That could be rode. A thing bikers like to do. Maybe just me? Jesse is one of the most pure talets in the industry and repsect him as well as use alot of the same tools. Laughed when he said the tutetls couldnt even turn them on. I do think he could have brought it a little harder. I’ve seen much better work from Jesse. I think it should have been mandatory to ride 100 miles!!! Periord. Under it’s own power. Like how he called in back Up to help finish “i been there” and made sure He appreciated there help. and showed real life problems like Bolts hitting the fender , shit happens!
    Paul sr, funny and great sport, neat snow mobile.

    Paul jr, bike was way to big!!! Looked retarded when riding it , oh yeah where you going to
    Go when you smell like aviation oil blowing in your face and sweat from
    Pushing because you ran out of fuel after your 1 gallon fuel tank that the electric pump ran dry on you after 19 miles. Liked the look of it for a second. Def think Brandon from pjd is extremly talented and knows how to beat some materials, Jesse, he could turn on your machines, lol. I respected how jr, brought out his Whole crew, it is a team Effort here at streamline and i know everyone makes a difference.I think the show was fun to watch and do think jesse should have won, that’s my personal opinion.
    It was the only rider and don’t think Jrs bike had a chance to Hang with Jesse. I think discovery needs to show more of the building process and get away from
    The drama and 45 min builds. People actually think it happens in one or two episodes. I feel stupider after watching usual american chopper, but this show was actually fun to watch. Ps. If any of my spelling or grammar is off I never said i was great in english

  66. 66 Austin Weiss Dec 9th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Also thanks cyril for the kick ass blog keep it up.

  67. 67 Dave from Chicago Dec 10th, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Cyril, The exposure to the industry is definitely helped with this kind of content. I would say it would inspire enthusiasts to look at sites like yours and others to see what is available to either customize your stock bike or build something you’ve always dreamed of having. Being able to look at the custom bikes that are being built around this country is just amazing. The other plus is that guy’s like you and Arlen, RSD, PM, Mean Street, S&S, TP, Daytec, Paugho, Adjure,Supreme Legends, and on and on offer the parts to create dreams. I hope the extra traffic has created sales for all of you that dedicate your life’s work to such a great industry. Always remember Cyril’s number 1 rule “CUSTOMIZING, THERE ARE NO RULES!”

  68. 68 mike Dec 10th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    By all the imput here it looks like the show was a hit. love it or not everyone here wanted to watch it.
    it worked.

  69. 69 mdsphoto Dec 11th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Might be cool to combine two of Jesse’s hobbies, bikes & guns for a new TV show. Perhaps Jessie builds a bike and rides it to some gun manufacturer and gets to fire a few of their models. Please though lets not visit the two gun shops that are already doing reality shows.

  70. 70 Grey Beard Dec 11th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I think the markets gonna see a hic-cup in sales for a short time. It’s still fresh on the minds of so many guys who got burnt with the greed and outragous prices for a bike or parts during the mid 90’s to mid 2000’s chopper craze. These were average guys who didn’t have the big bucks, alls they wanted was to just build a chopper for their own riding, but had to pay 2-4 time as much for a part if they wanted it. I think it’ll be atleast 5 more yrs till the market slowly and continuously picks up. Thats when you’ll be able to buy a complete good used running evo or TC or any other large motorcycle thats about 20 yrs old for the same price or less then a new aftermarket motor and tranny. This’ll give them a solid base at a reasonable price to work with.

  71. 71 papa ray Dec 12th, 2011 at 3:31 pm


  72. 72 Tropical Willie Dec 14th, 2011 at 12:32 am


  73. 73 RUB Dec 17th, 2011 at 6:01 am

    all this and Kim Kardashian is getting divorced ! the horror ……………………….

  74. 74 Confused Dec 21st, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Wished the show would be called American Chopper Theme Bikes. Can’t think of why anyone who would want a chopped bike that is nothing more than a rolling billboard, the fancier, the more computer cut parts, you betcha, a lot of skill there.. Ever hear on the show that 150K bike comment, “I hope whoever wins this, doesn’t ride it”. Thing is so raked out, it would seem it handles badly. So, what good is it? Oh, well, the show has made them rich, wished I had a shop were I can take off at 3 PM for a massage, gym, tattoo, son sleeps on the sofa and gets paid well. Jesse James seems like someone you like to kick into next week, but, he seems to have and developed a great many old hand skills. He seems to have a true fondness of hand built. Not sure I would want to have a beer with him, but, am sure I would buy a bike built by him.

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Cyril Huze