Show Me Your Office. Mike Corbin.

From designing an extensive line of motorcycle seats, fiberglass body kits, saddlebags and accessories for which he is known worldwide, to developing electric-powered vehicles before everybody else (remember the V-Twin powered 3-wheel named “the Merlin” and the single-seat enclosed “Sparrow Motorcycle”?), to furniture and even fitness equipment (at the time endorsed by bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger), Mike Corbin’s life is full of a multitude of trials, experimentations and eventually triumphs.

An AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, he is an inventor (Mike and his companies have been awarded over 70 mechanical patents, trademarks and copyrights) turned businessman (he followed Harvard courses) and is well known in the industry for his ability to innovate, to adapt to new economic environments and to reinvent both himself, his products and companies.

In his vast office at the Corbin Pacific 80,000 square-foot facility in Hollister, California Mike Corbin displays some reminders, souvenirs, memorabilia of his long and rich career in the motorcycle industry. Like most pure designers and inventors, Mike likes to keep his office uncluttered. When he is not reading my news on his Apple iMac (had to plug this one…) the CEO of one of the world’s largest motorcycle seat and accessory manufacturers can contemplate his beautifully laid out wall of patents, front of him when sitting at his desk the artwork “Heart & Soul” by John Francis Marsh, a tribute to the development and launch of the Sparrow Electric Car by Corbin Motors.

When very young, Corbin started tinkering on motorcycles on a 1958 Triumph Bonneville and later a 1964 Norton Atlas. His first Snap-On toolbox (refinished by his in-house painter) lives in his office. A Bonneville hat is a reminder that in 1974 Mike experimented with electric motorcycles and built a bike that set a land speed record of 165.387 mph on the Utah Salt Flats.

Pictures and collectables dominate the file cabinets under the window. Left to right: Mike’s father, his four children and his wife Beverly. Among other souvenirs, commemorative wine glasses (I kept one, too) made for the Corbin Daytona Biketoberfest parties, probably some of the finest the movers and shakers of the custom motorcycle industry have ever been invited to…

I want to add that Corbin Pacific has always been a major sponsor and organizer of the Hollister Motorcycle Rally. And despite the fact that the event has been “officially” cancelled by the city 3 years ago, Mike and his crew still organize festivities including a bike show, a trade show and of course Corbin factory tours with discounts on all products and free installation of their goodies.

This year’events will take place Saturday, June 30, 2012 (the weekend before the Fourth of July). Maybe Mike will let you take another sneak peek at his office. More info at Corbin Pacific

Personal note: Mike, maybe it’s the perfect time to relaunch the Sparrow…

Zipper's

23 Responses to “Show Me Your Office. Mike Corbin.”


  1. 1 Johny Apr 1st, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Wow. Great office. I didn’t know there was a Mike Corbin behind Corbin Seats.

  2. 2 Shifter Apr 1st, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Perfect, except that the patent frames on the wall need to be horizontally straitened out. LOL.

  3. 3 Marty Apr 1st, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Mike Corbin, famous for his seats, his “flowered” shirts, and now for his office!

  4. 4 Rodent Apr 1st, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Looking forward to June 30th…,the last 2 celebrations were great!!!!!!

  5. 5 Skeeter Apr 1st, 2012 at 10:17 am

    One of the best guys in the industry, I don’t remember when I first

    met Mike but it has been a long interesting friendship.

    Skeeter

  6. 6 Rob Campbell Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I met Mike last summer during the shindig at the Corbin factory here in Hollister. Glad I met him!

  7. 7 john reed Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Mike is a good guy , I love spending time time with him and his team.

    Shifter,
    The patents are stuck on the wall of his office ,I have tried to
    square them up hundreds of times and I cant,
    It drives me crazy

  8. 8 nicker Apr 1st, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    GeeZuz!!!
    That office is bigger-n my house.
    Looks like it’s got better suf in it too………… 🙂

    -nicker-

  9. 9 Ryan Apr 2nd, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I could work in this place. Missing: an antique motorcycle against the wall.

  10. 10 fat city Apr 2nd, 2012 at 7:51 am

    glad to see an east coast success story ……

  11. 11 Doc Robinson Apr 2nd, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Mike’s a great guy, builds top shelf products and is at heart a true biker. His contributions to the industry by way of innovative designs are huge.

  12. 12 Doug Wozney Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I met Mike in Sturgis last year while he was relaxing in John Hoppe’s vendor location. John was showing me images he shot of Mike sneaking in a little nap – and its no wonder he was napping – He deserves a nap after all the work he’s done! Another great innovator of our industry!

  13. 13 Yale Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Hey Mike
    Thanks for all the conversations and words of wisdom and encouragement over the years. May your success only continue
    Al the best
    yale

  14. 14 Mike Tomas Kiwi Indian MC Co Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:44 am

    A true gentleman of the industry. A class act all the way. Respect.

  15. 15 Paul Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Mike is a Great man, father, friend, innovator, pioneer and to me a mentor! Our industry has certainly benefitted from all his work. Can’t wait to see whats next……

    Hey Skeeter, it was an Americade way way far back brother!

  16. 16 BlueStrada Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Hey Johnny… There really isn’t a Mike “Corbin” behind Corbin seats… but there is a Mike “Hannigan”… aka his real name.

  17. 17 Cris Sommer Simmons Apr 2nd, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Mike is a great guy and we think the world of him!

  18. 18 Newyorkmyke Apr 2nd, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    What a class act and a modest man of few words…..when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame he said “Thankyou” and sat down! One of a kind great guy! Way to go Mike!!

  19. 19 Jeff Decker Apr 2nd, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Captain of industry!
    A good friend, mentor & patron.

  20. 20 John E Adams Apr 2nd, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Nice post and background, the Corbin Sparrow is one of my all time faves, an amazing vision way ahead of its time – I would love to have one!!!

  21. 21 Jeff Nicklus Apr 3rd, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Mike is a great guy who has been an inspiration to many in this industry.

    Further, I can’t even imagine my office ever being as neat and orderly as Mike’s …. that in and of itself has to be a full time job for Mike!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  22. 22 Joe Cree Apr 4th, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Mike has been one of my best and most cherished fiends in this industry. I met him about 15 years ago and he’s always been a huge suppporter and great friend. I can’t say enough about Mike. My bikes always have a Corbin seat made for th em before I deliver it. My personal bike is a collaberation between me and his design team using custom made bags, fairing, fenders and chin spoiler. He’s a true innovator in more than just our industry.
    He has a great Indian collection so he doesn’t really need an antique motorcycle in his office. His showroom has a number of cool bikes on display.

  23. 23 Chris Aug 13th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Mike has a nice office but I wish he would spend just a bit of time trying to get his people to answer the telephones or email. I would LOVE to order one of his supposedly fantastic seats but I cannot get anyone to answer an email or a telephone call. Apparently they are too busy working on his office.

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