Custom motorcycle builders have been around for the last five decades, since the time the chopper burst onto the scene in the fifties. Originally, these builders were building bikes for themselves I their own garages and backyards, but then began building custom motorcycles for others who did not have the tools or know how, yet had the desire to ride on a unique looking bike. As the custom bike culture evolved, so did these builders, top line designers soon replaced backyard mechanics. Now, thanks to reality television, some of these designers have even become recognizable to people on the outskirts of the motorcycle business looking in. Here is a list of some of the more famous bike builders.
Cryil Huze is a custom motorcycle builder located in Boca Raton who specializes in Harley Davidson. He has an interesting blog in which he talks about the custom motorcycles and its place in popular culture. Some of his rules for custom bike building include: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” His bikes look like Haikus on wheels and are the ultimate in sleek.
Paul Teutul Sr and Paul Teutul Jr. are co founders of Orange County Choppers (OCC) located in the state of New York. Paul senior originally owned an ironworks but then started up the custom motorcycle shop with his son, Junior. He had originally built custom motorcycles for the joy of it, but then decided to turn it into a business. The Teutuls have become an household name since the debut of their show, “American Choppers” on the Discovery channel. The show was more about the shenanigans of Paul, Junior and his younger brother Mikey, than it was about building bikes. They were shown building quite a number of different bikes, most of them being for sponsors of the show. The bikes are nonetheless fantastic, and you got the sense the company did more than just build glamour bikes. The show can still be found on The Learning Channel, and their t-shirts can be found everywhere.
West Coast Choppers, located in Long Beach is the pet project of Jesse James, super star custom motorcycle builder. The shop is housed in a series of Art Deco Warehouses on 250,00 square feet in Industrial Long Beach and employs 200 top-notch designers, mechanics and fabricators. The complex puts out an average of about twenty bikes a year and put the “custom” in custom motorcycle, designing each of the bikes from the ground up
Indian Larry Legacy is located Brooklyn New York. It was once called Gasoline Alley, but then changed its name to honor of the legendary custom bike builder, Indian Larry, who passed away in 2004. Indian Larry was a regular feature on the Discovery Channel’s Biker Build Off show and was known for his eccentric nature and inventive nature.