Big Bear Choppers and the State of the Production Custom Industry — Moto…

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Big Bear Choppers GTX Standard 100 Smooth EFI

BBC Ratchets it Up in a Down Market

by Steve Bohn

Bucking the of playing it safe when the gets tough, Big Bear moves full-force into the Not willing to wait around and see happens to the American V-Twin market in the coming years, BBC is matters in its own hands with a of putting more high-quality motorcycles in the hands of its current and customers.

Blasting out of the gates for BBC has upped the ante with two non-traditional motorcycles (in addition to its 13 offerings), the G.T.X, and the Paradox. bikes are offered with engine choices including SS revolutionary powerplant, the X-Wedge, and a of styling and performance items not elsewhere.

Not long ago we had an opportunity to some time with and Mona, as we attended BBC’s dealer summit last at the company’s headquarters in Big Bear CA. BBC has been a player in the production market since 1998.

off as one of the first companies to supply custom motorcycle kit bikes to the BBC has in recent years severely its focus, trending more the production custom class of motorcycles, and less in the direction of kit — what BBC refers to as unassembled These days 85% of what BBC are completely assembled custom sold through their dealer network.

BBC’s Summit was an opportunity for BBC’s partners, and the press alike to get an look at how the motorcycle manufacturer as well as a glimpse of their plans. Nothing was off limits; opened their doors for all to

While having a physically footprint than some of the big in the industry, BBC makes efficient use its located just yards the shore of the resort town’s The facility is comprised of a showroom, department, assembly area and The small space can be deceiving, you consider BBC is currently on track to 750-850 motorcycles for calendar 2007, with the goal of that number to somewhere 1000-2000 for 2008.

Those numbers left us our heads wondering just kind of magic the Alsops have to conjure to turn goals into reality.

The day we sat down with Kevin and a list of questions, and listened as he shed some light on road map to the future. We began the by asking Alsop for his description of BBC and the they produce. He responded by us “BBC is a micro OE (as in Original manufacturer), which produces a volume of production vehicles have the most aggressive available in the market place

Considering Alsop immediately BBC’s products to the rest of the we were eager to get his views on the V-Twin industry as a whole. many in the industry have a than optimistic view of its we wondered where Kevin in on the current state of the domestic industry. “It’s as strong as ever been, he fired without missing a beat.

reminded Alsop of the lowered numbers coming out of companies Harley-Davidson and asked if he still as strongly. “Yes, it’s as as it’s ever been it’s still kicking … to the max. Let’s it, who else is building 300,000 units a year? Nobody! not doing it, Kawasaki’s not doing not in the V-Twin American cruiser hell no.

The Japanese companies are not competing the American V-Twins.

Upon at the company’s facility we immediately the quality BBC builds into its that awaited us.

Upon at the company’s facility we immediately the quality BBC builds into its that awaited us. BBC has strived to customer satisfaction since its in 1998. One of Kevin and Mona’s goals was to give the customer a product, which would in the run lead to higher customer and increased sales.

Since is affected by a wide variety of we asked Alsop what he as some of the biggest challenges in the way of BBC attaining those higher goals.

“Number one is the economy – disposal money. And the second will be the health of the dealer overall. How many of them be left in 2009? I think we are going to do just fine.

say Harley really took a and halved, they’re still 150,000 units amongst 600 and those dealers will be hungry for business. This is something that Alsop as a good opportunity for the company.

the Summit were a collection of representing 30 out of BBC’s current of 57 domestic dealers. We wanted to based on Alsop’s concern the health of the dealer world if BBC has to expand its network or educate on BBC’s products. We got a resounding on the first part of the question, that “We should be up to 70 dealers by 2007, and we absolutely plan on at 90 by May of next year.

We are courting Harley-Davidson dealerships now. We feel the time is for us to go and hit them when their is at the weakest it’s been in 15 and they’re not so concerned that the is going to hammer them on allotments.”

When it came to training, he went on to say “we don’t our dealers for tech training. We them for free, they here for a week, and we actually put on the line while they assemble a complete vehicle. is in addition to verbal, dyno, and training.

The difference we see is night and day issues) when comparing a before and after their have received training. We already trained 20 dealers, 20 more to go, then we will bring back and do full-on classes with them in the room and show them how to fuel-injection problems.”

Alsop “When the technician really how the product works, the concept it, and is not fearful of the product, then buy into the product. When are working on someone’s bike, the vehicle, or it has a warranty issue and fix it, they talk to the customer and our biggest salesmen. That’s why trains their techs – need their techs to buy their products. We are growing our network under the most conditions, which is really

In the current climate with snapping up touring machines, BBC it was time to push the envelope of the market. They did not enter segment of the marketplace based on a that might be over they got a new bike to market. also realized he could not throw bags and a windshield on an model and call it a touring as his customers would expect

For the bike to command respect, it need to be first and foremost in all-day one-up and two-up have the ability to easily gear, exhibit top-notch and have the styling one would from BBC.

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Alsop the G.T.X is not a bike for all touring but more a machine designed for who appreciate the engineering, performance and that have gone it, and have the money to afford it. The style G.T.X. is not cheap: on your choice of powerplant, you can down $35,900.

Starting square one, the G.T.X.’s is like no other. Designed and in-house, the frame is long and low 12-inches of stretch between the and swingarm. The extra-thick-walled tubing in the backbone (0.250-inch) and rest of the (0.160-inch) is designed to drastically vibrations commonly attributed to V-Twins.

BBC is so confident with the that it carries a lifetime as do the frames on BBC’s other

Understanding the limitations of many machines, one of Alsop’s main was keeping the mass low and centralized, not the weight of the bike, but the rider, and gear. The frame dimensions this a very do-able Once seated on the bike, the uniquely sits in front of the rear tire.

This with the rider position shifted somewhat forward and a auxiliary fuel tank a three-gallon standard tank) below the seat all add to the handling of the bike. Is this a canyon in the true sense of the word? not, but when you consider the rubber, 36-degree neck to 7-degree triple trees up the G.T.X. is very respectable.

BBC outfits the bike with the new from SS Cycle weighing in at The proprietary fuel-injected motor is a monster, and a quick twist of the yields gobs of low-end The strong, steady acceleration by the deep throaty notes from the 2-into-1 exhaust are a joy to the

If you dig the G.T.X. but are a bit more of a traditionalist, BBC can the bike with an Evo-style if you prefer. Due to all the dealers and other of the press wanting to check out the new we only had a chance to take a spin on each one. Our was nowhere near what we need to give you specifics on how the performed.

What we can tell though, is we can’t wait to get a of both of these bikes for real seat time.

other new offering is a stunning of what a production custom can be. the dazzling 3-D-cut 23-inch wheel to the 20-inch by 10.5-inch rear wheel, this screams custom. Straight off the floor, the Paradox has what it to be a show stopper, ranging the $32,400 100 SMOOTH Carbureted to the $36,400 fuel-injected 114-inch

Front to back, the bike’s are stunning. Using a combination of tight-fitting fenders, a sculpted cover and molded oil tank, the balances the look of hot-rod with a smooth, clean look. The Paradox gets its from the fact that a beautiful bike can be so comfortable at the same time exhibiting performance.

Componetry on the Paradox includes 100 (inch) SMOOTH proprietary outfitted with either EFI or induction; upgrades are available to an EFI engine as well. A proprietary BBC primary drive, Baker six-speed transmission, BBC rotors, Performance Machine calipers and shocks add to the overall look and of the bike.

Ergonomically the bike is set up well, accommodating riders of stature while affording a very low seat height in with pullback bars extend rearward nicely. The controls are situated to keep the in an upright riding position still allowing him/her to push the limits of the motorcycle.

what we have seen it like Kevin and Mona done their homework studied the history and trends of the V-Twin market, and taken of where others have in the past. If things work out the way the believes they will, be seeing a lot more of BBC’s around for a long time to

Big Bear Choppers GTX Standard 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers GTX Standard 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers GTX Standard 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers GTX Standard 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers GTX Standard 100 Smooth EFI

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