Exclusive. Interview Of Zach Ness About His New TV Series “Let It Ride” On National Geographic. Tonight at 9 P.M.

Zach-Ness-1Tonight, Wednesday August 14 at 9 p.m. on National Geographic, the 1st episode featuring Zach Ness in the new TV series “Let It Ride.” In the show, wild inspiration drives Zach and his crew to build the very best custom motorcycles, whether by resurrecting dead bikes or through premium commissions from clients seeking a one-of-a-kind dream machine. Zach Ness, son of Cory Ness and grandson of customizing legend Arlen Ness, strives to set out his own path, but custom bikes never come easy…

This evening episode. When a stunt rider from the YouTube sensation “”Harley Wheelies”” group commissions Zach to build a bike, the challenging, big-ticket job comes down to the wire, — pushing Zach and his crew to their limits. This monster of a motorcycle needs to be finished in two weeks for the next ““Harley Wheelies”” video shoot. The problem? The bike Zach buys is just a pile of old parts. Tensions rise as the deadline looms and the “Franken-bike” refuses to come together…

Before you watch this first episode, I asked Zach Ness to answer a few questions.

Zach-Ness-2Cyril. You wear a famous name in the custom motorcycle industry. But people know very little about you. Let’s begin by the beginning. Age? Matrimonial status? Education?

Zach. 25 years old, Not Married but have a girlfriend, Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University

Cyril. Tell me about the oldest memory you have associated with motorcycles.

Zach. The oldest memory I can think of is being in my Grandpa’s garage when he was working on one of his Tail Dragger style customs. My parents were gone, so I was at Grandpa’s for the weekend, I remember just sitting down on the garage steps in front of the door leading to the house and just watching and analyzing each process of the build. After several hours I remember asking him countless questions, I think after the 50th question he told me that I talked too much. He told me to watch, learn, and then do. Ever since, I like to keep the talking to a minimum and focus on learning my craft and getting the work done

Cyril. When you were a kid, you wanted to become a?

Zach. I never was set on being anything specific when I was a kid. I was always just interested in learning and experiencing new things/subjects.

Cyril. Do you remember your first accompanied trip with your parents or grandparents to a major rally event? Which one? What was your first impression?

Zach. The first rally I ever went to was Laconia with my dad Cory. I was 15 years old. It was right after I finished building my first motorcycle. My dad was on the Hard Rock Roadhouse tour, which was held in one of the largest bars at the rally. I was allowed into the bar so I thought it was the most insane thing I’ve ever seen. At the time I was new to riding and had my motorcycle driving license, so I loved riding around the event and seeing so many custom bikes in one place. The highlight had to be judging the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini contest. A few months later we had a family party for my birthday and the TV happened to be on the Entertainment channel (E). I popped up on the screen judging the contest with the girls persuading me to give me their vote… I had a big smile on my face and felt pretty cool…. Grandma and Mom didn’t think I was so cool.

Cyril. Many children don’t want to embrace the same career as their parents. Was it the case, at least at a certain period of your life?

Zach. My grandpa and dad have always been my heroes, and fortunately we have always gotten along very well. So I can’t say I’ve ever not wanted to embrace my current path. But at the same time I didn’t want to only follow but to make my own path by diving into all types of motorcycles, design, and possibly other subjects. My core will always be motorcycle, but I also don’t want to limit myself

Zach-Ness-3Cyril. When did you know for sure that you wanted to join the Ness enterprise. How old were you?

Zach. After finishing building my first bike at 15 was when I really knew for sure I wanted to join the Ness enterprise. I was always very interested in bikes and in our business. But it wasn’t until I finished turning that last bolt, fired the engine for the first time, and actually rode my machine down the road that I was positive in my direction. It was a feeling of personal satisfaction that I hadn’t received anywhere else yet and it was the first time I was allowed to ride on the actual street. It was over after that

Cyril. Growing up, was there a special motorcycle, a certain custom builder you admired?

Zach. The builder was Grandpa and the motorcycle was his “SmoothNess.” Till this day I think it the most beautiful motorcycle ever built

Cyril. Your first own motorcycle was?

Zach. The first motorcycle was the full custom I built when I was 15. It was a chopper with a Ness Y2K frame, custom tanks and fenders, and all polished & chrome accessories. The paint was a black base with American flag flames. Someday I would love to get it back. I sold it to purchase my first truck

Cyril. Which year did you officially join the Ness business appearing on the payroll? What is your current official title and responsibilities?

Zach. I started working at the shop at 13 sanding frames, sweeping the floors, and working in packaging putting together bolt kits for products. I worked every summer until 15 when I was officially and legally allowed to be on payroll. Since I was 15 I worked every weekend and every summer until I went off to college. Through college I worked each summer and during my winter & spring breaks. I flew home to work as well. My last two years of college I started getting very involved with our core business and with Victory. I graduated in 2010 and started working full time the day after I moved back. My current responsibilities in our business include: – Design: My dad and I share the responsibility of designing all our products including parts and apparel. As well as our company and personal motorcycle builds. – Catalog and marketing: which include our parts catalog, ads, and our product wirte-ups and information regarding products.

Zach-Ness-6Cyril. Do you feel any pressure on you because of your last name? How you handle it?

Zach. Sure, there is definitely pressure because of my last name. Whether it’s from the level of quality that is expected when a Ness builds a bike, filling the massive shoes of my family, or the “Silver Spoon” type comments. How do I handle it? Its hard to say handle or deal with it because I have a fortunate life and have some really amazing opportunities. I just make sure to work as hard as I can. No one can take away hard work and dedication. I believe it’s not what you are given or born with that you should be judged by. It’s what you choose to do with it. Other than that I just do what I love, treat people with respect, and keep learning as much as possible.

Cyril. Do you watch Motorcycle Reality TV shows? Which ones?

Zach. I’ve seen some motorcycle reality shows but I don’t watch them.

Cyril. Now you have your own TV Show (“Let It Ride” premiering August 14th on National Geographic at 9 pm ET/PT). Tell me when and how you were approached to do it.

Zach. I was approached by other production companies several times before but was never interested. Pilgrim approached my with an idea. I said I was interested so they flew a crew down to film me talking, answering questions, and working on projects. Two weeks later the heads of Pilgrim called, came out to the shop, and we started laying out the show and a deal.

Cyril. Please, explain in what aspect(s) this “Let It Ride” TV series is going to be different from others who have seen since year 2000.

Zach. Well first off there is no drama. We will be customizing all different kinds of motorcycles: cruisers, customs, sport bikes, dirt bikes, and more. Not only just their aesthetics but also improving the performance and rideability. Once the bike is done, we don’t only cruise it down the road. We will show it performs. Each episode will include the build process, riding, and also entertaining scenes around the shop and on our travels. Not everyone in the world enjoys watching every bit of the motorcycle build process, so we have something for everyone in each episode. My goal in the end is to attract the younger generation and more people to the motorcycle industry.

Zach-Ness-4Cyril. Any particular advice from Arlen and Cory you received before and during the filming?

Zach. The only thing they told me is to just be myself, enjoy the moment, and have fun with it

Cyril. For each custom motorcycle you build on the show with your team, how much time show producer Pilgrim Production gave you to complete a project?

Zach. It varies from 1 to 3 weeks maximum. The deadlines are not false, we have been working hard to get bikes that should take several months done in weeks time.

Cyril. Building bikes front of the camera is having eyes all over you even when you don’t wish. Any situation where you and you crew felt a little bit uncomfortable?

Zach. At first it was tough to think and figure out designs/issues on the fly on camera. Thinking of a solution immediately that will be judged on national television was a little unsettling at first. But you get over it real fast when it’s on a daily basis

Cyril. You signed for 8 episodes with National Geographic. Are you currently still building bikes for this series?

Zach. I actually signed 10 episodes the first season. I have 1 bike left after the debut date

Cyril. After the Chopper, the new or old Bobber, the Ultra bagger and the Cafe Racer, what do you think is the next big thing to hit the custom motorcycle industry?

Zach. I think the next big thing is intelligent design and improving the motorcycle itself, no matter what is the style. You see many people putting performance-oriented parts on cruisers more then ever before, whether it is inverted front ends or better braking. Whether it’s performance or technology, we’re going to improve the motorcycle

Zach-Ness-7Cyril. Any project to customize the all-new Indian?

Zach. Yes, I’m going ALL IN on one soon… Can’t say too much now, but what I will say is that it will be detailed down to every bolt and will take some time to build.

Cyril. Thanks Zach.

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43 Responses to “Exclusive. Interview Of Zach Ness About His New TV Series “Let It Ride” On National Geographic. Tonight at 9 P.M.”


  1. 1 Robert Fisher Aug 14th, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I am very excited to see this show. I think it will be great for the industry showing bikes being customized. The Ness family are a class act and will represent the motorcycle community well. Very pleased!

  2. 2 Daniel Ross Aug 14th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Will watch.

  3. 3 Shifter Aug 14th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Another great interview. Good questions, good answers.

  4. 4 L.J. Aug 14th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Its going to be hard to have a successful reality show without the fake drama. Unfortunately that is all most of the drones out there can relate to. I hope it focuses on the true drama all bike builds encounter.

  5. 5 Johny Letgo. Aug 14th, 2013 at 10:19 am

    By his answers I guess that Zach has a less introvert personality than his father & grandfather. Let’s see how he behaves front of a camera. Humble or arrogant?

  6. 6 Greeko Aug 14th, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Good builder discovery (no pun intended)

  7. 7 P. Hamilton. Aug 14th, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I hope he doesn’t put his girlfriend in the show designing tee shirts, like Junior’s. LOL.

  8. 8 1550tc Aug 14th, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Great kid and i hope TV dont make out to be some dysfunctional kid !!!

  9. 9 1550tc Aug 14th, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Great kid and i hope TV dont make HIM out to be some dysfunctional kid !!! -

  10. 10 Trail Boss Aug 14th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Informative interview and enticing prelude to the show tonight!

  11. 11 toby Aug 14th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    “the challenging, big-ticket job comes down to the wire..”

    Another “reality” show with a “deadline”. Give me a break. Ness is a multi-million dollar company with huge resources. Do viewers still buy this deadline BS?

  12. 12 Roadking Aug 14th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    To do a show like this is a huge commitment by the Ness’s, Bringing a film crew into a business and disrupting everything you do is a very difficult thing to balance and still keep a business running, I know this from experience. Zach is a very personable young man and not much ego from my experiences. The Ness’s are a class act and I wish them all the best in this new TV Show. I saw Zach’s Victory he built to compete against Arlen and Cory and the bike he built for Michael Lichter’s exhibit and they were first class builds. Go Zach!

  13. 13 Tommy Aug 14th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Any TV appearances or show in our industry is a good thing. :)
    Best of luck to you Zach!

  14. 14 Jusmecuz Aug 14th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    The way I see it, deadlines/finish times are crucial part of production process in any shop, big or small. Without deadlines, nothing would get done and things would get put off til tomorrow.

    Now the over-emphasized drama and tension caused by those deadlines is what can be so annoying in the reality shows. This one seems tho it might be different and looks like a good program. I’ll tune in for sure.

  15. 15 Buckshot Aug 14th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Zach, I’m really glad you signed the deal for this show! It will be SO great to watch a show where half the dialog isn’t bleeped out, and nobody’s throwing things. I’ve known your dad and grandpa for a long time, and it’s good to see that you have inherited their unique and awesome talent, and have joined them in Ness Enterprises. Have fun with the show, and I hope to see you with Arlen and Cory at “The Frog Jumps”!

  16. 16 izadore007 Aug 14th, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Seems like a Nice Kid and I see he has a keen eye for the Birds! Look it isn’t always how much you know! Sometimes knowing the your Genes are from a Huge Family, doesn’t hurt a bit. To say that he was born with a Snap On in his mouth would be a Truth. His Show will be what Discovery wants to make it. Good Luck Kid, and stick with the Other V-Twin Brand. that would be my advice to you Zach, my Boy!

  17. 17 Blackmax Aug 14th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve interviewed Zach (along with hid Grandfather & Dad), many times over the years
    He’s always been a “great” Interview, honest & forthcoming
    a real “Straight Up” guy. He went out of his way to introduce me to Robert Pandya
    when he didn’t have to do squat …..
    So I have No doubt that this show will be light years ahead of anything else cycle-related on TV
    I’ll be watching, “Go get em” !!!!

  18. 18 Sharrack Aug 14th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Someday, a network will make a reality show about moonshiners…….and will use water in every scene to keep the law away,
    Does it get much easier than that?

    Or…..take 4 rich hillbillys who make duck calls and script an entire series around them doing stupid things…….then sell t shirts, cellphone cases and backpacks at walmart!

    Dang…..all the good ideas are taken……. :(

  19. 19 Johnny O Aug 14th, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    At last, a reality show that I may tune in to, for how long is another story. Good luck with the show Zach. Don’t let that ole noggin get too big now.

  20. 20 BobS Aug 14th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Good show. It was more bikes and less BS. And even better it was about bikes I’d like to ride. Damn, that probably means it’ll get cancelled after one season.

  21. 21 Sharrack Aug 14th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Give me reruns of biker build off, cafe racer or build or bust any day of the week.
    This first episode is like watching paint dry….then comes the commercials!

  22. 22 Sharrack Aug 14th, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Coolest new bike show is “Whats in the barn”.
    Dale Walksler gives a history lesson in every episode.

  23. 23 P. Hamilton. Aug 15th, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Watched. No bad but somewhat boring. Needs to improve or zzzzzzz.

  24. 24 baggerdude Aug 15th, 2013 at 6:08 am

    A deadline bike show that will be a new twist LOL only this time I’ll bet with Victory M/Cs.

  25. 25 MDSPHOTO Aug 15th, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I thought this was going to be a show about Zach Ness building bikes? Like OCC, someone else is building “Zach Ness’ bikes”. There was also some fake drama when the guy mysteriously dropped the honda wheeling it into the shop. I’ll watch cause it’s about bikes, but I still think the biker build off was the best bike show on TV.

  26. 26 fuji Aug 15th, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Enjoyed. The show should be Zac and back room crews talent. I believe that was the message !

  27. 27 Terence Tory Aug 15th, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I’ll be watching,……

  28. 28 Little rider Aug 15th, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Sorry to say but horrible show… same concept as everyone else, scripted to a point it’s not even funny to watch…. I don’t think I saw Zach Ness touch a wrench, not seen him even “design” anything. It was a bolt on project and hundreds of shops can do this without TV cameras. Boring. Won’t watch the rest of them if it’s as lame as this first one. Sorry…
    All those production companies are running out of ideas…. Maybe they should have strippers build bikes to boost ratings.

  29. 29 WRBG Aug 15th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I only have 2 questions. Number one, why didn’t I see him planning or working on the bike at all? Number two, if it was his show why was Arlen name on the bike on every shirt he wore and on every vehicle I saw? I like Arlen. I’m glad he’s getting more marketing mileage but I’d rather watch him build a bike and say nothing and see what I saw last night.

  30. 30 Johnny O Aug 15th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Looks like I didn’t miss much, although I wasn’t able to find the show on my TV which is Direct TV in the Seattle area and it was the perfect night for the “BOOB TUBE” . We had our 1st rain in over 30 some days most days were in the 80s. Who says we don’t Tan in Seattle we Rust ? Not this year folks.

  31. 31 Sharrack Aug 15th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Geez…..where is Jesse James when you need him…….!
    I’m surprised grampa Ness even showed his face on that show.
    The Ness name sold that show to the network……for sure !!!

  32. 32 Woody's Aug 15th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I’ll have to take you guys’ word for it, I could only make it through the first 15 minutes. Love Arlen’s work, the family legacy seems very safe in Zach’s hands, but these “I don’t think we can get it done before the reveal” shows just leaveme cold. I’d much rather watch something along the lines of PBS’ “This old House” where I can learn something from calm, assured professionals doing what they do best and passing along their tips. For the industry, I hope the show does well, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to help.

  33. 33 Sam Mladineo Aug 15th, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    More cheesy Ness stuff……… please please bring back Biker Build Off

  34. 34 Eric Maurer Aug 16th, 2013 at 12:10 am

    so I watched with anticipation…… here is my 2 cents
    1. boring
    b. Zach really needs to go through media training
    X. very cheesy producing…. nothing felt real and everything seemed ‘beyond’ staged

    Lastly….. and coming from someone who DOES NOT have their own TV show, so who am I to talk….
    but….

    if you are going to call yourself a “bike builder” you need to pick up a wrench. Just telling a bunch of workers what to do, doesn’t make you a bike builder, anymore than my wife building a desk from IKEA (with me telling her what to do) makes her a ‘custom furniture maker’
    In both cases…. its just makes us managers!.

    Take a lesson from Roland Sands, Todd Silicato, Chica, Cole Foster, Scott Long and many others…. if you are going to be the front man, you have to be able to play all the instruments.

    I doubt I will watch this show again…. unless its more of G-Pa HAHAHA!!!!

  35. 35 chopmonster66 Aug 16th, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Just another kid living off grand dads name, you must build a bike to be called a builder like the guys in the shop doing all the work. Hell give them a show. All you see Zach doing is playing with his I-phone just like the rest of the youth today.

  36. 36 bigitch Aug 16th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    zac was as arrogant as jr. and as bossy as sr.

    the concept is the same bikes for customers with deadlines.

    have some one else build it

    wear dresses for bullshit drama

    what a looz

    come up with a new concept…please

  37. 37 Badams Aug 16th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Watched it, regardless of what people say the formula will evolve beyond previous Biker build offs, Motorcycle manias, OCC-oramas, chop offs, bobber wars, dirtbags to deities…..whatever, its TV. I do like the fact they took a basket case and did something with it. Kinda see a hint of the Gas Monkey meets Overhaulin’ reality formula in it, but again, TV.

    Bring the legacy in the mix on a couple episodes to help whip up a couple blown diggers and wa-la, trend reemerges.

    I’ll keep an eye on it out based on curiosity, but the producers don’t have their hooks in me yet. I do like the kid, so what if he isnt a public speaker….yet.

  38. 38 sollis Aug 20th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Zach does work hard, pro active and treat people with respect.

  39. 39 ShortStop Sep 25th, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Sled license at 15, I think not Zach. Come back when you’re not just boltin shit on and sendin it out for paint. SMH

  40. 40 JenOcyde Sep 27th, 2013 at 4:52 am

    For the amount of time these gentlemen are given to make an episode, I’d say they’re doing great!
    Bikes aren’t the only aspect of the show being judged & chopped!
    It takes balls to have your life displayed for criticism! &let’s face it… OCC had too much bloody drama! A freaking soap opera!!! I felt bad for builders who had to sit thru that shit, just to see the outcome of a beautiful bike! So far the only dramatic situation I’ve seen on Zach’s show, is can Jim cut the fender without pissing the paint job! PERFECT!
    THEN YOU’VE GOT Zach,… YEAHHHH… I KNOW WHAT I’D RIDE CUSTOM OF HIS!!!

  41. 41 BUY RITE TEXAS Sep 28th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    well spoken young man I do like the lack of drama like other shows I wish him well 25 years ago I use to buy parts from his grandfather in san leandro GOOD PEOPLE

  42. 42 JenOcyde Sep 28th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Buy Rite Texas,
    Thank you Sir! I am a woman tho =) Jeni
    lol

  43. 43 Al C Oct 2nd, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Met Zach today at his shop. Saw him in parking lot and talked for 20 mins. Very nice kid and really down to earth considering

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