Hardley-Davidson's seem to be coming from everywhere these days. Bike builders are just popping up all over trying to cash in on the phenomenon of the motorcycle craze.
I can't help but notice the ones that have prices so high that only a rich dude could afford. This drives prices up on the others as well. A bunch of these rides, are looking like cookie cutters, and you see them for sale used at inflated prices with only a few hundred miles on them at best.
Actual customs are one offs such as the likes of Indian Larry used to build. The tried and true builders made, and still do make, truly custom rides and they have worked hard to make a name for themselves. It does strike me as a bit strange at how all these new bike builders are making a go of it when the Indian Motorcycle can't seem to get it all together and keep it together. Maybe there were just to many Chief's and not enough Indians to make it work out. Indian should have gone back to their roots and taken one of the original bikes, torn it apart, beefed up the old engine innards to update, stuffed it all back into the old style cases with upgrades and moved up from there. Not using the same after market engine everyone else is using. It also seems that there were just to many people with their hands out who had a tie to the name in one way or the other that to much was put on "How much money are you going to give me" instead of worrying about what truly mattered which was getting the company revamped and solvent. Make a good product first and the revenue would come back. They tried to come back on top after being out of it for so long. You can't start back on top like that. You have to gain peoples trust and show them that you are wanting to give them a good product for the long haul. Not use it for a get rich scheme. Many small companies are making a good run of things by being smart.
These manufactures are what I refer to as Hardley-Davidsons. They may look and sound like a Harley but they are not. But this does not make them bad either, just, they aren't Harley's. Some get confused and think that they are.
Motorcycle kits by www.customchrome.com and Milwaukee Twins available at www.jpcycles.com make some really nice looking rides. Being that I have not had the pleasure to try out any of the many motorcycles being made by these smaller kit companies or the Motorcycle production companies as well, it would not be fair to compare one to the other.
But I have often wondered, and queried a few in the past, at just who do you go to if you need one of these factory rides and the kit bikes worked on. How well made are the RevTech engines and Transmissions in the real world of dailey transportation? Has anyone done a comparison between any of the engine manufacturers out there today? How about frames and components? Joe and Moe make their bikes using off the shelf frames and parts so just what makes one motorcycle worth more or less than the others? And then there are all the kit bikes. How in the world do you really know which one is the better kit? Are they really so complete and manufactured so the parts all fit right, with all the parts being included?
How many of these builders will last and then how good will the warranty be and the parts availability become? If a company folds, the warranty will only be worth the price of the paper it's printed on. What will remain from all these companies when the smoke and dust clears will be the best companies to depend on. But one thing all of these guys, well I should say most, is that they are targeting the high rollers who we'll only be around until the next fad comes in. If these new Chopper builders wish to stay in business then they should look to the future and make affordable motorcycles for the masses. I do think that it is great to have all these men and women builders running these motorcycle companies. It's the spirit of the whole thing like days past when many American motorcycle companies were having a go at it. Companies like www.wickedwomenchoppers.com and www.flyritechoppers.com
My new magazine will try to address many of these questions We'll try to obtain Engines and Transmissions to compare to see how they compare to one another. Hopefully we can get a few kit bikes to put together to be able to tell you just how well they are truly put together. What is included and what is left out. We are also hoping to find the best and most affordable bikes being produced in the Chopper Motorcycle business today.
Then we will find out just who is willing to let us test their rides out in the real world by actually riding them. Not some closed course test with limited time in the seat to make an informed decision. I'd just bet that there won't be many willing to do that out there. We just don't have any of them beating down the doors yet to look their products over and report about them in the magazine. But the ones that do ....... We will make sure you know about them. And the ones who wish to make no comment....well, we'll let you know that they wish to make no comment and leave that at that.