Custom Bike Builders Reach Celebrity Status
Motorcycles have spawned a very unique culture, particularly in the United States. All across the country, large groups of bikers gather to celebrate the vehicles they love so dearly. Harley-Davidson has always been one of the premier manufacturers showcased at a majority of these events. H-D has essentially set the standard for cruising bikes over the last 20 years. More recently, there’s been a growing trend at motorcycle rallies all around America. A lot of the attention has been shifting from big names like Harley-Davidson to smaller custom bike builders that are now reaching celebrity status.
Orange County Choppers was founded by father and son duo Paul Tuetel, Sr. and Paul Tuetel, Jr. in 1999. This upstate New York builder started gaining attention by providing unique custom bikes that utilized cutting edge and emerging design techniques. The popularity of Orange County Chopper spawned a hit television series on Discovery and now TLC called American Chopper. On the show, the crew at OCC meets with clients and then cameras follow them through the entire design and construction process. Cameras also capture a lot of the drama and infighting that sometimes occurs at the shop. This adds an element of story for viewers to focus on that goes beyond the actual motorcycle production and design. The Tuetels typically unveil some of their new bikes at major rallies all throughout the country. Recently, they launched a production series of motorcycles that reflect many of the popular custom features included on some of their previous designs. These bikes cater to riders seeking that custom-built look without the high price tag. Some of the OCC fully custom designs have been extremely pricey, ranging from 0,000 to 0,000.
West Coast Choppers was founded by Jesse James in the mid-1990s. Just like OCC, the crew at WCC initially focused on building custom motorcycles. Jesse quickly rose in popularity and participated in a series of documentaries for Discovery. These shows spawned a large variety of opportunities for Jesse. Filming began for Monster Garage, a series in which his crew has to design cars, trucks, and motorcycles under tight schedules and other restraints. James has capitalized on the success of the show, launching a magazine, clothing lines, and even opening a 50′s style hamburger joint. His most recent venture, a show called Jesse James Is a Dead Man, features Jesse performing a number of dangerous extreme activities. He’s a true bad-boy of the biker world.
With the popularity of these custom builders branching out into many different industries, expect to see some other startups rise to celebrity status.
Arturo Chuong is currently writing articles related to traveling, sporting, hiking, and business bags including, backpacks, laptop cases, and functional luggage.