About The Effects Of The Discovery Chopper Live Build-Off Competition On Bikers And Professionals Of The Industry

As expected, after you debated the merits of each builder and custom bike you saw in the Discovery build-off competition, conversation in comments turned to a one decade long topic still dividing both bikers and professionals of the motorcycle industry. What are the effects, positive or negative, of such motorcycle TV shows? Do they make more people go into motorcycling, buy more parts, build more bikes. Do they improve or alter the image of bikers, make more people start a motorcycle shop or businesss, etc?

Well, there are no quantitative studies to measure what the effects these motorcycle related TV shows may have on the public at large, bikers and professionals in particular. And if there were studies, I am pretty certain answers would be very different depending of the TV show you refer to. For example Chopper Mania, Biker Build-Off and American Chopper are different breeds of entertainment. Through Nielsen, networks are extremely good at measuring the daily number of viewers and their demographics of each their programs. Objective? Of course selling advertising (“American Chopper Live” won Tuesday night December 11, 2012 Nielsen Cable ratings with 3,911,000 viewers) They are also able to rate each  TV personality and host in terms of appeal to their adience, the way they keep or replace them. But networks are not really interested in observing any consumer behavior change of those watching their shows, except when selling show merchandise to them.

During the last 12 months, The Cyril Huze Post received an average of precisely 11,450 visitors per day (source Google Analytics), putting us by far in the lead among all V-Twin related magazines, print or online, both in the US and abroad. Some events on which I report daily create huge spikes in traffic. The most recent one is of course, last Monday & Tuesday’s “Discovery Chopper Live Build-Off” competition between Jesse James, Paul Senior, Paul Junior and the 2 guys of Gas Monkey Garage.

Look at the daily graph above showing our traffic just Friday December 7 to Wednesday December 12. On Friday December 7 and Saturday December 8 , it was usual regular traffic of respectively 10,802 and 11,425 visitors. Then, on Sunday December 9 (in directt contact with Jesse, I publish an exclusive on his struggle to finish his bike on time for the build-off on Monday) traffic jumps to 17,933 visitors. On Monday December 10 (1st Discovery Show) 28,784 ifferent visitors enter my website. On Tuesday December 11 (2nd Discovery Show) traffic jumps to 40,420 visitors to peak on Wednesday December 12 to a whopping 48,926 visitors for 76,312 page views!

So, as a media, do I benefit? Of course, yes. My advertisers and all those featured in my articles too. How many new visitors are transient, will never come back? Probably a lot. They may be non-bikers who don’t intend to enter in the sport of motorcycling, just looking for more inside information about their preferred entertainment show. How many discovered my daily news website and will stick with it, daily or occasionally? Time will tell?  The only new readers I am certain of are the 927 readers who, during last week, signed up on the top right of this page the subscribtion form to receive  my daily morning email updates. Is it as easy as it looks to attract the interest of more readers and to keep them faithful? Reporting motorcycle events is not enough. Some of you know that there is also behind these acquisition numbers a huge amount of hours of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), of background digital work (at least 2 hours a day) on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) In the case of TV build-off, it also helps a lot when the Discovery Channel blog, the builders involved who are also my friends and their fans tweet and re-tweet links to my articles. Thanks to all.

To come back to the influence of motorcycle TV shows on attract new bikers and on benefiting the industry, for sure, there is some immediate direct and indirect benefit, like for my website. Can we quantify it? Somewhat. Like when a vendor tells you that he sold a pair of wheels to a guy stating that he saw them on TV in such show where there was this bike from such builder… Are the effects deep and lasting? Nobody knows for sure and it’s getting extremely complicated when you add other parameters like the economy and demographic changes. So, today I am interested to know, and other readers too, if such TV shows influenced your decision to ride a motorcycle, to become a shop owner or bike builder, to buy more parts, to customize or build your own bike etc. Who gets the conversation started? (top picture @ Discovery)

85 Responses to “About The Effects Of The Discovery Chopper Live Build-Off Competition On Bikers And Professionals Of The Industry”

  1. 1 Colin Dec 14th, 2012 at 10:49 am

    You know we all have our opinions about what a motorcycle is or should be. Opinions are just that. I personally will watch or look at anything motorcycle related. I Love Motorcycles. Of course I too have my opinions about the way I would want a bike built, but it doesn’t matter. Anything that promotes motorcycles is good for the industry. I don’t care if some guy buys a bike because of American Chopper or any other show, it just keeps the industry going. I remember the hey day of the shows when Discovery had Build off, Build or Bust, and all the other shows going, and man was that an awesome time to be part of motorcycling. There were so many people riding, there were a ton of show tours and numerous other things happening in the motorcycle industry at that time. Either way you look at it, in the end deny it or not, these shows have made an impact and I have no doubt others will come to start a new generation of shows.

  2. 2 Ray Dec 14th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Agree 100% with Colin.

  3. 3 Wilbur Dec 14th, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I work for one of the larger aftermarket parts manufacturers and spend a ton of time doing the same type of research into our analytic’s and website data. Without posting a SINGLE thing about the build-off or even interacting with it we saw a jump in website traffic. Now there are tons of things this could be attributed to… However we have not changed our formula we didn’t do anything drastically new in that three day span to create the jump, and as of yesterday it had started to subside. My personal theory is that when consumers saw the motorcycles on TV being built and the buzz around it. It started to make them think about their own bike and what they could do to “work” on it. Our products are primarily bolt on accessories (the perfect thing for instant gratification). Overall I believe that ANY show that is based on motorcycles or the building of motorcycles (drama aside) is good for the industry. I understand that most custom builders will disagree. Those builders need to understand that they are a very very small percentage of the motorcycle industry. OEM Manufacturers, Aftermarket Parts Manufacturers, and even Riding apparel brands make up a larger percentage of the market then the Custom Builders will ever be able to achieve.

  4. 4 Johny Dec 14th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    What I don’t understand is some companies giving free parts, especially engines, to OCC & PJD without any mention or coverage on the show. What’s the purpose?

  5. 5 GuitarSlinger Dec 14th, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I’ve never purchased or done anything because of a TV show . More often than not I’ll watch a specific show because it relates to a hobby or interest I already have or might wish to expand upon . Then .. if the show is good I’ll watch it . But if it turns out to be another in a long line of over dramatized scripted reality shows or poorly done drama/sitcoms the switch goes off .

  6. 6 Jester Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    On TV a lot of people are going to watch shows about hot rods, guns, etc because they love them. Doesn’t mean they will ever own a hot road or rare engraved gun. Just a very low percentage will buy one. Same with motorcycles. But even a low number of people jumping to action, buying a motorcycle for the 1st time, customizing, buying parts and a few of them starting a shop are all positive for the industry. Regarding the image projected to the public at large, some motorcycle shows are good, others very bad. American Chopper was a family show with good residual image for the public, Sons Of Anarchy projects a very bad stereotyped negative image of bikers…So, some good, some bad.

  7. 7 Rob Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I think Matt Hotch summed it up earlier this week when he posted: “I cant believe what has come of the biker build off!!!!!… What a disgrace to a show that use to mean something to so many……”

  8. 8 KC Choppers Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    That was one Butt Ugly bike Jr. Assembled glad the show ended what a joke

  9. 9 Mike Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I wouldn’t mind the show if the people who could actually build a bike won.

  10. 10 Brandon Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    The disgrace are those MC vendors who went in bed with the Teutuls. By ego more than by reason of business. There is a reason why their bikes are never featured in magazines or this website. Fugly. Did you ever seen one from close? Full of defects, welds, molding, paint. So, these vendors associate themselves with fugly bikes! Good job.

  11. 11 Greeko Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Cyril, I never realized how big was your traffic is. Congrats. The place to be for interesting news.

  12. 12 Steelchoppin Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Yes…this (any subsequently any further) motorcycle related show(s) are definitely good for our industry.

  13. 13 Jesus Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Interesting topic. For sure, Discovery, the builders and Cyril make money! For all the others, I don’t know.

  14. 14 Fab Kevin Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Colin’s point about any publicity being good for the industry is not how I see it. The trash talking each builder did was probably a very small part of the hundreds of hours of filming, yet the viewer saw every single second of that. The actual work being done was completely overshadowed, so the builders were portrayed as a bunch of guys who spend their days bragging – which is how Discovery baited them. The industry professionals are nothing like the show, and any opportunity to show what motorcycle shops really go through to end up with a high end bike is left on the cutting room floor. Something that could really be interesting and informative has turned into the WWE.

    I am sure it was a home run for the Disco Channel.

  15. 15 Patrick Semery Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Discovery Channel + Disco Channel. Ha, ha.

  16. 16 Curt! Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Fab Kevin hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, a show that gave all the technical details that go into constructing a reliable, aesthetically beautiful, motorcycle would have such a small audience that it would not be viable in today.s market… BTW, Juniors bike really sucked.

  17. 17 Steve McDaniel Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    As just one voice I have really enjoyed the biker build off series

  18. 18 Ron Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Guys, Guys, guys, You all have no faith in people!. Do you think all the viewers are that stupid to believe that is the way it is? True, some probably are, but not everyone of them. I really must say that if Discovery Channel didn’t get ratings, that they would drop the motorcycle genre all together. Ratings MEAN that people actually tuned into the show. TV costs money. Most of the builders from the past actually made money from their TV exposure. As for Matt Hotch’s quote, sounds like he is just mad he did not get invited back. It is safe to say that he would like a bump in his cash flow, and wants to sell more kickstands and gas caps. He did increase his earnings because of his TV exposure. You didn’t hear him complain back then, DID YOU!! Like it or not, that is the truth. The shows were kind of over the top back then. My guess, and it is a good one, is that they are testing the waters to see if motorcycles are still a sellable TV show. Remember the ratings dropped on the build offs as the builders became less known than Ness, Trotta, and Billy. Discovery channel did not ruin motorcycles.

    If that is really Fab Kevin above, Kevin, would you honestly from your heart say that if Discovery offered you GOOD money to do a series, that you would turn it down?

  19. 19 roscoe Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    My decision to ride bikes came from my father who bought me and my brothers a mini bike when we were kids.
    I would prefer that motorcycling went back to its more “dangerous” days, when it was only the black sheep that rode. I am 44 years old, and right in the middle off all the V-twin hoopla, the age bracket where everyone has to have a bad boy bike, choppa, etc.

    In short, the TV shows did NOT get me into riding, I liked the early BBO shows but it quickly went down hill after that. I am almost embarrassed to say I ride a bike nowadays.

  20. 20 Bikerbabe Dec 14th, 2012 at 11:58 am

    You see these guys mudslinging,backstabbing and doing stupid pranks.Ok thats good for the ratings and it’s probably exciting for people to watch All these guys had attitude on the show and said some pretty bad things.So with that being said thats how the people voted because of their actions.Most of these guys are very talented,some more than others.Thats what should have been judged.I’ve seen the Teutuls bike and they are fugly as Brandon stated.This wasn’t a real biker build off it was a joke.The work the Gas Monkey Garage and Jesse put into their bikes was outstanding.They are very talented people and yes Jesse has an attitude but his work and outcome are what matters here in the end.These bikes would have been bettefr off being judged by some of these mens piers.Or at least by someone who knows about bikes and building one,not the public.How about next time we have a real build off and focus on the bikes and not what the guys are doing.I am involved with alot of bike shows and show my own bikes.I’ve also judged alot of bikes to.With that all being said i totally agree with Matt Hotch what has become of the biker build offs!!

  21. 21 J. Hamilton Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    You want good judges who know what to look for? Ness, Huze, Hotch, Cox, and quite a few others.

  22. 22 Cyril Huze Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Next TV Show on Discovery should be “Bike Flippers”. I don’t need to explain what it will be all about.

  23. 23 Thomas Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Seems to me the producers should have every builder create a motorcycle based on some rules , for example, lets say everybody should build a 60s chopper or a long lean prostreet or everybody build a custom bagger , how can any real builder try to choose a winner from a box of mixed candy, whats most creative or who built the best bike, too many variables in the chaos of there shows .Rules baby , rules you dont watch a football game and see soccer players and tennsi players all on the same feild come on get some brains producers.. Criteria and rules.maybe everybody build a Swedish chopper then pick the best , just my opinion, too much chaos ..

  24. 24 The Vintagent Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    ‘There is no such thing as bad press’; keeping motorcycles in the public eye benefits every rider.

  25. 25 Jim Corcoran Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I can honestly say that I got alot more involved in the industry because of the shows that were and are on TV. They help from a business point of view to sell parts and bikes. I know that the comments,ect that are shown on TV are often taken out of context as a result of editing. They take 100 hrs of taping and condense all of it into 43 minutes.
    I am sorry to see OCC go off the air. We have all seen alot of bike companies go down the tube in the past few years as a result of the economy among other reasons. There were alot of guys who started building bikes because of the shows that were on. Quite a few of those thought they knew more than what they saw on TV and as a result,there were alot of bad bikes built and alot of people who were ripped off. So when you look at the whole TV thing and how many “bad” bike builders who came out of the woodwork than it was not a good thing for the industry.
    Son of Anarchy is not what I would call a bike building show but it does give the perception that the bike clubs as a whole are not what you would call good citizens. That image is not what the industry needs or wants. Harley is probably giving them free bikes,which doesn’t make any sense to me but what do I know.

  26. 26 Ron Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Wilber said it the same way I see it. That show, as all the rest, just help build the industry. Like it or not, hundreds of new people DISCOVERED the world of motorcycles. That is why they call it the Discovery Channel!! Some of these newbies will make it a career. The show has/will generate, NOT take, money away from the industry. Some in the industry will profit, some will not. Is that really bad? Not everybody wins in life.

    Only when the naysayers understand that now we live in the new media and digital world they will get it. I think it was Jesse who said that a pack of Hells Angels blew by his car as a kid, and he said that is what he wanted to be. Well in this new digital world they see it thru TV and video games. Get it now??? I can count so I don’t need to watch Sesame Street. Maybe you are not the audience the show is for? Don’t like it? Don’t watch it. I’ll bet Matt Hotch watched it. He sure cashed the checks…

    Don’t complain about the show because your hero did not win. When I watch sports and my team does not win, I may gripe about the officiating, but I am adult enough to say that my team had many opportunities to win and didn’t beat their opponent. Same goes here. Jesse is still selling plenty of new t-shirts. He will wake up tomorrow, still rich.

  27. 27 G. Van Deutsch Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I think that Cyril is bringing more to the industry by promoting builders and custom parts than these clowns scripted by the Discovery channel

  28. 28 Shifter Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    It took about 100 people from the Discovery and contractors to produce the Chopper Live show. Cyril mentioned it was the most watched show on Tuesday. Imagine how much money Discovery makes with it from sponsors and advertisers They know marketing better than all of you. Why do you think Cyril published so much about the show?

  29. 29 GuitarSlinger Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I hadn’t heard Matt Hotch’s comment on the state of biker build off TV ( Rob’s post ) Couldn’t agree with the man more .

    Over scripted – Over dramatized – Over BS’d and lacking in any content or substance what so ever is what they’ve become .

    Used to be you could pick up an idea or two from the shows as they actually ‘ Showed ‘ the building process albeit in small snippits . Now all you get is a lot of yelling , name calling and bleeped profanity .

    Celebration of the Mundane & Profane pretty much sums up the current state of Biker TV in a nutshell and I find it rather hard to imagine how that in any way is benefitting the Biker Community/Industry

  30. 30 Drake Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    TV & Web are the most powerful media. I think most of you underestimate what it means for business to get high exposure on both.

  31. 31 William Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I have been saying for years that these guys are building bikes that 95% of the world could never own, nor would want too. I’m also a builder/ shop owner and would love to be in on a build show. I would make sure that we showed the world what building real bikes takes along with make it fun. Riding and building is a passion not a job, if you only do it for a paycheck than you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I do it cause I love it and every bike is like a child to me, and when I sell them I shed a little tear. I also know that whom ever just bought that bike just got part of my heart and soul. Thank you discovery channel for starting the show and for ending the disaster it has became. Bring back real people with real passion.

  32. 32 GuitarSlinger Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Reality Check ( for Shifter’s edification )

    1) The show did not even make it into the top 20 for the night according to Nielsen , never mind #1
    2) Fact is the show hasn’t gotten so much as a mention in any of the television industry news which says it was barely an afterthought in the minds of the marketers and numbers folks
    3) Discovery is dropping all its M/C shows so what does that tell you about the marketability of the series

    Therefore the show was a success/legend in its producers minds and nowhere else

    From a purely business perspective in light of the statistics the show rated a big fat ‘ F ‘

  33. 33 Mazz Dec 14th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Did the Bike Building Shows on Discovery influence my decision to start building bikes? Yes, it did. Am I a bike builder? Naw, not really. I run an after-school program, the only one in Canada, that builds custom motorcycles with grade school kids after-school. The Motorcycle Mania series and the Great Biker Build-off Series certainly gave me the incentive to try to do this. All those years ago, you could watch the shows and get a “truer” sense of what it took to build a motorcycle, of course, later on, even in the biker build-off series, it became more about the entertainment than it did the actual art of building custom bikes. Did I watch the shows, even American Chopper, yes I did, for a while, then it became less and less important to watch them as the tide turned and the focus went away from bike building. The shows gave me people to contact, companies to contact for possible sponsorships and donations of much needed parts. I have been doing this for almost 10 years now, I have met some incredible people, both TV personalities (from the bike shows) and some regular biker folk, just as interesting and even more so in many cases. To be honest, I am hoping the end of American Chopper does not mark the end of the bike building shows. I know there is still Outlaw Garage and Fast n Loud and those shows are entertaining to watch but like the formula for AC, they seem to be moving towards the “drama” rather than the trades and skills. I will stop watching again when it gets too much. I miss the “glory days” of Discovery and TLC, when AC was decent, Biker Build-off, Overhaulin’ and Rides was a staple in my TV viewing. I understand the costs of these shows must have been high but, damn they were fun to watch.

  34. 34 Paul Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Guitar Slinguer. You just embaraased yourself. American Chopper Won The Night. Shifter and Cyril are right and you are wrong. Check here: http://goo.gl/3QAZP

  35. 35 Jester Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Guitar Slinger you should shut up. All your statements are false. Discovery is not abandoning all MC’s shows. Read above comment by Cyril about a new show. He knows better than you. Stop broadcasting false information. You talk like an expert but you know nothing.

  36. 36 Flatiron Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’ll focus on the show itself. Clearly, Discovery went for the purely entertaining approach to the 2-show special. Unfortunately, “entertainment” is a relative term. The sarcasm, derogatory comments, and low-brow approach of the competitors turned this viewer off. Paul, Jr. probably had the least amount of negative commentaries. Personally, I think Jesse, Paul, Sr, and the “two monkeys” are borderline sociopaths. The network’s focus on their verbal dribble was a huge distraction…..it wasn’t “entertaining” to me. The 2nd night (“live”) was a pathetic display of misguided programming. First off, the host was a relative newcomer who had little public history of any association with bike building. He was boring at best. The show didn’t flow well. The hokey attempt at creating disharmony among the builders was a joke. Yeh, they’re all really tough guys. I’ve got two MMA friends (both ex-Seals) that would be glad to show all of them what “tough” really is! I think the biker build-off phenomenon is at its lowest ebb, and deservedly so. If Discovery’s “empire” wants to elevate viewership on these programs, then they should donate each bike to one of their viewers, via a lottery approach. As a point, for
    10 years we’ve watched the Teutel’s make custom bikes for larger corporations or arrogant and wealthy private clients. On occasion, a project or two went towards deserving non-profit charities. Just for grins, what might happen to the viewing numbers if each of these “builds” went to a regular viewer? I think they’d be surprised at the positive results. Enough said. Happy Holidays to all of you blokes.

  37. 37 Jason Brach Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Now to comment GuitarSlinger will be obliged to change his username. LOL.

  38. 38 Sal Thompson Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Conclusion. Discovery and Cyril know how to draw traffic!

  39. 39 DAVID UHL Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Very interesting post CH, quite informative on all counts, even the comments. In our specialized corner of this industry, we find that most of our clients do NOT regularly watch any of these shows. The most you hear is a reference to them in jest. I agree with Van Deutch above this post is a much better source for information without all the Jerry Springeresque sideshows.

  40. 40 Trail Boss Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Reality TV, drama, superficial coverage, 250 channels….still, there is not much interesting on TV these days. I got more out of bike building watching the World’s Fastest Indian movie.

  41. 41 Tina Marie Dec 14th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    It would be nice to see the average shop owner in a build off.
    Trike Lady in Florida the first lady of trikes would provide a ‘Woman’s Touch’ to be build off with some awesome trikes. Restore a ‘Classic’ bike like the 1967 Electra-glide named ‘Fred’, she’d have made the bike look like it did back in ’67 right down to the wide white walls.
    Not all women are followers.

  42. 42 Jody Perewitz Dec 14th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Matt Hotch and myself have witnessed first hand what the tv shows used to be. Ya there was some jokin and ball bustin but it was about the builds and riding! In DP’s first Build-off they went into the detail of how many coats of paint go on a Perewitz flame job, or making the custom Rinehart exhaust or the ride from FL to TX. And it was GOOD tv! Discovery does not care what they portray the industry to be, they just want good rating which in turn means more $$

    i have been around motorcycle my whole life I can say I have watched my dad’s business change and it did get better after tv ( I agree that tv shows bring attention to this industry, which is a good thing). Growing up my dad would work 24/7 customizing motorcycles and working hard to get where he is today. You have to remember there wasn’t aftermarket stuff back then like there is now, you had to make it with your own hands. To be able to say you have been in the same industry your whole life in my book is being passionate about what you do! Not building stuff because it’s popular on TV. Passion should be the root of your business not TV time… Tv or no tv I am proud to have been born into this industry and was destined to be a part of it!


  43. 43 John Green Dec 14th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Cyril everybody missed the only comment here that would turn the industry back on. Bike flippers, perfect, make it happen, push it. I am willing to commit effort and time into that project.

  44. 44 Joe Phillipson Dec 14th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    OCC, Jessie, Biker Build-off etc. all had some kind of effect on our market and in most cases a good effect. But it has lost it’s effectiveness some time ago because it was so overdone. I think most of it was a scam and the price was too high to pay for most every builder. Russell and Gard are 2 examples. Both great guys and spent a lot of time on the Biker Build-Off series, for what? The producer never paid them a dime nor did they pay the companies that donated the products to build the bikes. The only people that made money were the producers and directors. OCC and Jessie worked their asses off and did make money. OCC made theirs on clothes and Jessie on parts, both helped our market a lot. Too bad show biz had to SUCK the life out of both.

  45. 45 Tobby Dec 14th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    There’s an old standard that bad or good, being in the news sells. Just ask any celeb in the tabloids. That said, anything that generates interest (sales) in the MC industry is good for all of us. Same argument is made about the Sons of Anarchy TV show. It’s fictional drama. Nonsensical drivel by most accounts, but it gets a lot of attention from non-bikers, and even gets scarce TV ad dollars from HD.

  46. 46 He was there Dec 14th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    For those who think that Biker Build-Off was better and was reality. I was a witness of the filming of one build-off in a shop that I will not mention. First, builders didn’t build the bike in 2 weeks. More 6 weeks. Very often, the fab you saw on images implied a second part already made in advance and shown as “fabricated front of your eyes,” Words of builders were scripted to create entertainment. Most bikes in the build-off broke very fast on the road. But easy to edit and to show short clips of the bike on the road. True for most bikes you have seen. It was as much a joke as American Chopper. The only difference, the builders were building better looking bikes, but as unreliable in most cases. Stop the hypocrisy! What about Hughes plugging his mug with sunglasses in all final shots. Did he get rich and famous? Of course not.

  47. 47 JohnJ. TEXAS Dec 14th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Well, I have been watching shows about Ghosts… kinda want to buy an EVP Meter and hunt for ghosts… or maybe get a gun and hunt hogs… looks easy enough. I saw it on TV.

  48. 48 Steve Carr Dec 14th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Mamma always said…….

    “if ya caint say sumthin’ nice about sumbody, dont say nuthin’ atall”

    I got nothing to say on this one guy’s.

    Steve Carr

  49. 49 John E Adams Dec 14th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Great post Cyril. Some awesome traffic for you and I am sure you did pick up some more followers that will stick around!


  50. 50 bigitch Dec 14th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    as much as everyone that posted had a comment either how good or bad the show was, the common thread was:

    they watched the show

  51. 51 Joshua Dec 14th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Objectively, the best news website to read and learn about the good and the bad of the MC industry. You deserve your traffic, Cyril.

  52. 52 Mile Serano Dec 14th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Ask Cyril to design a bike front of the cameras. No CAD. They will be ashamed. A good bike starts with good design, not with waterjet or CNC machines. Fab comes after. Or you get what you saw on tv.

  53. 53 chopperJohn Dec 14th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I’ll miss American Chopper. I’ve watched all the old episodes at least a few times. I don’t know if the Teutuls will survive on their own without the show’s help ($$$$)


  54. 54 Oldschool Dec 14th, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    How about dropping off a motor,tranny tires&rims some sheetmetal and
    tubing for frame. Build a bike that’ll ride 1000 miles. Now I’d watch that !!!!

  55. 55 Dennis Crabtree Dec 14th, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    The show was silly, like a WWF event. Kinda sad.

  56. 56 Woody Dec 14th, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Dunno if I’m qualified to give an opinion since I could only stomach the first half hour of Monday’s show and the remaining taste of bile in my mouth kept me from even tuning in to it on Tuesday, but I guess that IS my opinon so maybe it’s valid. Plainly the TV world of bike building has long since jumped the shark and is currently akin to Honey Boo Boo, the Jersey shore and loggers dropping trees on each other. I love bikes, but this just wasn’t watchable to me. Kudos to those making money from it, and no hard feelings towards those it entertained….

  57. 57 DJ Dec 14th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Let’s face it… The promotion that motorcycles have gotten and the huge spike in popularity since motorcycle mania 1 has spawned a new culture that now includes motorcycle only check points, mandatory fuel injection, restrictions on pipes etc. None of this was worth the blood money

  58. 58 Dave Blevins Dec 14th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    It seems that when Motorcycle Mania came out, that the custom motorcycle scene was put in the public eye and positive things happened, more interest, more awareness, more people contacting me about motorcycles, bikes were already booming and this continued for a couple of years. As more shows came on TV it seemed almost a backlash, no one wanted the stuff seen on TV (except maybe an attractive set of billet wheels), but just good solid design and a workable motorcycle that looked really nice. “Don’t want any of that Hollywood shit”, as a customer once told me.
    Overall for me personally, it might have helped having TV shows featuring motorcycles for a little while, but the shows they air mostly are not for actual riders, but for people that watch a lot of TV.
    My 2 cents anyway.

  59. 59 Jim Gianatsis / FastDates.com Dec 14th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    “Discovery Live Biker Build-Off” is Reality TV, pure and simple. It is there to entertain people with the contestants’ rants and raves and fabricated controversy. No different than other reality TV show like Survivor, the Bachelor, The Jersey Shore, West Coast Customs, except this is base around custom bikes.

    I was disappointed that the two top bikes on “Live Biker Build-Off” seemed to be selected by the viewers on the popularity of their builders, rather than on the design and originality of the bikes themselves. The bikes built by Senior and Jessie would have proven to be winners at my LA Calendar Motorcycle Show where overall design, originality and fabrication tend to get higher marks. But it all comes down to personal taste.

    As Dave Blevins points out, when all the motorcycle TV shows beginning with American Thunder and Motorcycle Mania first came out in the mid 1990’s the custom bike market took off with the Baby Boomers who had the disposable income to spend on expensive toys. But now those Baby Boomers are 20 years older and not buying, we have a lot less disposable income, and they’ve found out hard core custom bikes are difficult to own and not enjoyable to ride.

    While many of us motorcycle enthusiasts who are still left around, and who have money to buy a new bike, we are buying stock, practical Harleys, BMWs and Ducatis. Custom bike TV shows have nothing to sell us any more. And that’s why they’re gone from TV, unless they can be turned into entertaining Reality TV that everyone wants to watch.

  60. 60 badams Dec 14th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Demographics drive $$ regardless of the quality of the content. As long as the audience and demo hit the mark for Blue Chip advertisers content will be underwritten by ad spending. Gas Monkey Garage is the next “American Chopper” in that form of “Non Enthusiast” content.

  61. 61 Flying Piston Dec 14th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Cyril’s graph demonstrates how dramatically this show spiked interest and it applies across the board though maybe not as dramatic. I have seen a doubling in our web traffic and I would bet if Matt Hotch cares to check his Google Analytics he will see that he has more hits last week than in the previous week.

    Someone mentioned Russell Mitchel not being paid totally missed the point. Russell I thought was particularly brilliant by using the Biker Build Off shows as advertisements for new models. First he built the Trike against the Detroit Brothers and used the show as a half hour prime time ad for a new model he had for sale and then did it again with the carbon fiber street fighter. I’d be willing to bet those shows each sold his motorcycles to people that wouldn’t even have considered Exile if he wasn’t on the show.

  62. 62 Joshua Dec 14th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Flying Piston. I would like you to explain how a website not talking about the Chopper Live TV show can have a spike in traffic. It doesn’t make any marketing sense. If Cyril’s traffic is so high it’s because Cyril had a scoop on Saturday with Jesse James, was the first to report everything going on with the show and was doing intensive search engine optimization before, during and after the results. Exactly as he explained.

  63. 63 Flying Piston Dec 14th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    That is why his spike was 500% of normal traffic. I got 200% and broke an all time record for traffic because my site is not so well indexed or associated so directly with the subject matter..

    If you want me to explain primary, secondary, and tertiary effects of marketing hype in detail it would probably make for quite a long comment but suffice it so say that YES it makes good marketing sense that as the general level of interest peaks And all things associated will receive the positive effects to some degree or another. (a rising tide lifts all boats)
    Some of those that saw the ads went to this website to get the scoop. A few of those people followed links on this website or while interested went to see a Gas Monkey or JJ’s facebook pages and some of them even decided since they were already on the web and bikes were in their mind to see what Matt Hotch or Russell Mitchel were up to.

  64. 64 Littlerider22 Dec 15th, 2012 at 1:50 am

    The Discovery MC shows have acted as any other shows that has something a tat different to offer for entertainment. Did you know that the number of people who have applied for license to mine for gold has increased by 72% since the show Gold Rush started? Did you know that every time someone half famous wears a certain t-shirt during an interview, the sales jump through the roof for a few weeks right after? There is a well known brand of t-shirt that buys banners on this site that started that way.

    What does this tell you… people are stupid followers. They will buy dog shit in a can if you tell them this is the best product on the market right now. They watch an OCC show and think they can build a bike. Most can’t, but it’s the same way Home Depot tells you to come to their stores, spend 20 minutes on a seminar, sell you $1500 worth of tools wood and paint and you think you can remodel your living room on your own during the weekend. So what do people do? they search for aftermarket parts so Wilbur will see the traffic on his site go up without doing anything special. Huze will see his ranking go up because people will search for terms such as “OCC” or “Biker Build Off” or even “Paul Jr”. They will find his blog and others (because…. there are other successful motorcycle blogs and forums other than this one you know….) simply because this blog has a lot of comments and fresh content so it’s attached to those keywords. The Allstate website was up 69.2% over a period of 3 days because of the show. Went back down to normal yesterday. Man you guys should remember that picture posted on this blog of some moron getting a full back SOA tattoo at a rally… Talking about influencing the common folks.

    Did the show help this industry ?…. Yes and No. It shined the light on the industry the same way people are discovering that there are still people dealing Moonshine down south or crazy dudes diving in cold water to find gold. This is entertainment and as I mentioned before designed to sell advertising and product placement. TV is about making money, a lot of it. MC shows are just one little tool they are using to sell commercials and PPSTs. Now that they have squeezed pretty much everybody that was half way interesting for them (including custom bike builders who clearly were not the best choice), they are just moving on to the next “industry” that can continue selling advertising and other third party products. If the OCC show was still producing results, they would not have cancelled it. How many freaking ugly customs can you build for major US companies? it’s getting boring to watch because it’s all the same.

    They will continue to have 1 or 2 shows about motorcycle because it’s a part of our culture (thank you HD), fun to look at and easy to cast. But you won’t see 4 or 5 shows because there is not much more they can talk about. The bike flippers show is an excellent concept because it is similar to the car guys, house guys and antique items guys, flipping products for a small profit. Why? simple, research shows that people are interested in learning about what they can do to make some extra money during those difficult times. Flipping cars and bikes or your grand-ma old coffee machine is what the mass public wants to see on TV. This is also why some of the shows showing rich people buying Ferraris for their 16-year old kid because they had an A at school have been toned down because advertisers have be reluctant to invest in those series and portray themselves as supporting this lifestyle when most of the country is struggling. Not good for brand image or business.

    There is very little correlation between the shows and the impact on the industry. Again, even with those shows and increased public display, a lot of brands have disappeared, a lot of custom bike builders still have issues finding customers and a lot of dealerships/shops have closed down.

    The people who surfed this wave for 10 years and were following the “script” made money. They were told early that they would have to do certain things on TV and would have to do a lot t-shirt signing. The ones who did and were coached correctly made millions. They other ones who thought they were above this, too cool or simply to scared to jump into the shark tank bitched on this blog since day 1 (most of the time out of jealousy). While most continued to bash Sr, and Jr for their bike building skills, their attitude and their choices, they were both laughing all the way to the bank selling $45 t-shirts and $200,000 bikes to corporations, making connections overseas and building other businesses as they knew this would not last forever. The difference is that they have now enough money to retire and continue buying cars when most of the people working in this industry still have to work 80 hours a week to make 2% of what those 2 made. End of story.

  65. 65 Dennis P Farley Dec 15th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I’m sorry, but these “Choppers” are about as relevant to what most motorcyclists ride, as are “Tattoos on a pig’s ass”. The typical motorcycle rider is actually far more interested in the reliability and performance of a potential purchase than the “uniqueness” of the “Builder’s Bikes” that are showcased in these entertainment programs, which seem to cater to the wants of the “Biker Wannabe” than the needs of real motorcyclists that actually ride their motorcycles.

    In my own opinion, ( based upon having owned and ridden motorcycles of various brands and purposes for over 50 years now, I’m approaching 67 years of age), I wouldn’t be caught riding any of these things that were in this “competition”. If I was suddenly in a financial situation that permitted me to purchase an extremely expensive motorcycle, I’d look to the well engineered products from the “Confederate Motorcycle Company” which are flawlessly built and precision engineered to perform as well as they look, with a minimum of “Bling”, and a greater amount of “panache”.

  66. 66 Papa ray Dec 15th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    bring back the old biker build off where you actually have to ride the bike that you build 600 + miles to the event and that’s real bikers vote not a bunch of Discovery Channel groupies Junior winning again is a joke to the biker community if I want a Cadillac I’ll go buy a Cadillac the only real bike in my opinion was gas monkey call me old school but that’s my opinion juniors piece of shit would fall apart if you wanna ride that thing 600 miles.

  67. 67 Dennis P Farley Dec 15th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
  68. 68 Chad Wike Dec 15th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Me personally I am trying to start my own shop. I’ve been customizing for a few years and now I want to try and make a living at it.

  69. 69 sollis Dec 15th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Discovery is not looking for talented builders they Are looking for famous builders who is not ashamed to act on national TV like a douchbag and get paid . lots people like that in this industrie some how they accepted that is OK to be a douchbags around bikes .

  70. 70 Blackmax Dec 15th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Sure have the show
    But there are TOO many new guys/ Youngbloods
    and even shop that have been around for ages that don’t get the publicity
    Where the coverage for Ron Simms, Donnie Smith, etc…
    How about featuring Donnie Loos and/or Jeff Cocheran
    (remember them, originators of “Sucker Punch Sally’s), Matt Hotch
    Eddie Trotta the list goes on & on ……
    There are the people real biker are interested in seeing….
    And don;t give me the crap about the public has never heard of them
    Who ever heard of OCC or WCC until they were on TV.
    And none of these guys would try to rip off Buell, either !!!!

  71. 71 Cracker Jack Dec 15th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    This was not a Biker Build Off it was simply a circus act for the general non riding public who waste hours of their time in front of the idiot box and the network rakes the advertising cash in. No different from watching wrestling. Now get back to the shop or somewhere productive and fulfilling.

  72. 72 Robert Filla - Thunder Press Dec 15th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I nominate Jody Perewitz to be in the next round along side Lena Fairless and maybe that tall drink of Texas, Leslie Porterfield. Let’s bring a few ladies to the field that are true riders, racers and two-wheeled fanatics.

  73. 73 Ron Dec 15th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Littlerider22, you are about the goofiest person here. On another post you told me that I was wrong. That people did not watch these Discovery shows and become inspired to do the same. Now in your goofy rant above you say they do !! You even used some of my quotes as if they were your own.

    If you are looking for attention and someone to listen to you, buy a dog. Pick a side and stick to it! Better yet walk away. You have no clue what you are saying.

  74. 74 Tina Marie Dec 15th, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    @ Robert Filla,
    I nominate Trike Lady of Florida for the competition between women builders for the next show.
    Bring it on!

  75. 75 Branson Dec 15th, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    They belong somewhat to the industry, but I don’t think that any of these ladies know how to build a motorcycle!

  76. 76 Tina Marie Dec 15th, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    @ Branson,
    Trike Lady of Florida builds trikes of all types and restores vintage motorcycles.
    The trikes are awesome. I had also seen her restore a 1975 Goldwing to original condition and a 1988 Electra-glide. Both looked and ran like the day they were made when finished.

  77. 77 courtney Dec 16th, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Not to diss Matt Hotch at all, but wasn’t it him who sort of copied Paul Jr. of OCC on one of those build-off shows a few years ago? I can’t remember specifically the bike that OCC built, but it was the one where Jr. designed it to rest on its frame instead of a kickstand. It was air activated and it was cool.

    If my memory serves me correctly, I think Jr. pulled that one out of his hat on American Chopper before Matt did the same (and wooed the crowd) on the Build-off show, although I can’t say Jr. was the first.

    Anyway, that’s been awhile back. If I’m wrong, hey, I’m getting old, lol. Maybe I’ll look it up when I get a chance.

    To the original question, it’s all good.

  78. 78 Joe Mielke Dec 16th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Anyone who works in the motorcycle industry and has every worked an event like Daytona or Sturgis has had a customer compare them to or heard an OCC analogy. So of course it has an affect and brings attention to motorcycling as a whole. It just isn’t always positive or at all accurate.

    When our shop did a build off in 2006 I remember the first day before shooting. We all had to sign a release for Discovery to use our likeness on film. While everyone was signing their sheets our camera man Randy said to everyone. “If you don’t want to look like a fool on TV don’t act a fool in front of my camera”. It was that simple. We had a friendly rivalry with Jay and we all did what we do. No real drama, we just built bikes on a tight deadline and had a great time doing it.

    I for one would love to watch a show about motorcycles being built, being ridden, products being developed and a business being run. Maybe two, three episodes in a shop and then on to the next shop. I jus think 10 years of TV visiting 100 different shops would way be cooler than 10 years in one shop and one big family squabble.

  79. 79 Jack Dec 16th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    vintagin or vitamin or whatever,
    you obvioulsy weren’t a part of the “biker” scene in the bad old days. nobody liked bikes except bikers. yes, vitamin, there is such a thing as bad press. those who ignore history are likely to get bit in the ass.

  80. 80 Martin Twofeather Dec 16th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I think Matt Hotch was 100% correct,what a disgrace to the Biker Build Off…

  81. 81 domino Dec 16th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I found this site after googling the “buildoff??”… Now I have it saved on my favorites bar…

    Dave Perewitz has a daughter? When was she born?!?

    Remember when we got our aftermarket parts from Gary Bang (had about a dozen to choose from)?

    I am getting old… It is not what it once was… There is so much cool stuff that I respect (today), just like many of you, but are we a big enough audience to be able to see it? We do have sites like this.

    I think I will keep my FXR…

  82. 82 john reed Dec 16th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I have always said that the worst judging in a bike show was when the general public pick the winner the next when the competitors judged each other and third when they use celebrity judges.

    You have seen what the public picked for the discovery “build off” winner,

    I have know idea what bike the celebrities would choose

    but I bet if the builders judged each other there would have been 4 equal first place winners

  83. 83 bill dodge Dec 17th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Soul killers!!!!!!

  84. 84 FISH Dec 17th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I have spoken to a few producers about doing a show myself that is motorcycle orientated and different, but I keep getting the same answer. “BUT YOU NEED DRAMA” Real people that ride love my concept and would love to see it happen, but that’s not what people want the producers tell me. That’s why Honey Boo Boo is on the air. So sad it sickens me. As far as the Build Off goes, it is just a popularity contest. Most of the people that vote don’t even own a bike and have no interest in even riding one. They just watch it cause it’s a PRE DETERMINED TRAIN WRECK. Not saying they have pre determined who will win but the fact that it’s not about the actual build but who they like as a builder rather than the bike itself. Sorry what I mean is they know the pre determined controversy will be big no matter who wins for whatever reason.

    Any way If these 4 builders Really care about who won and who lost on that show then they are really dumb. I hope they just did it for exposure, not that any of them need it for recognition. They need to go back to the old Biker Build Off shows with the real builds that we can watch. I really don’t care to watch people fighting and fishing and wrecking their vehicles and being stupid. I want to watch their craftsmanship for the entire show. Even in more detail like the body work, welding, painting and manipulating metal. CNC machines are cool but once you see it work its the same every time.

  85. 85 BC Dec 21st, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Can’t wait to see the new Fish/Honey Boo Boo Show!

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Cyril Huze