Big Bear Choppers Talks — From Boom to Bust — Motorcycle USA

16 Апр 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Big Bear Choppers Talks — From Boom to Bust — Motorcycle USA отключены
Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI

Big Bear Choppers Talks From Boom to Bust

was the best of times, it was the worst of

Dickens’ words ring for Big Bear Choppers. which has drunk from the cup of plenty and from the well of despair. The was sweet when sales in the $18 million-dollar-a-year range but turned to when they

Big Bear has seen hard times but is the lifeline thrown to it by Simon will help return the to respectability.

had to sell everything got, down to the family The company went from shots on Hot Bike and Easyrider and on TV to the pariah of internet message after declaring bankruptcy and to deliver on promises.

And while it be easy to shovel dirt on Big Choppers while they’re the company isn’t quite for the grave yet. A lifeline in the form of one Simon Scott, an from Jakarta, who was seeking to Big Bear Choppers into Scott, along with a list of others, lost big when BBC went under, for him to the of over $250,000.

At that nobody would have him for cutting his losses and moving on. But background in the mining industry and wouldn’t allow himself to over the situation. Instead, he on how to turn a negative into a forming his own company, Rage Choppers, in 2011.

It is under new moniker, Big Bear Choppers Hard Built, that he on reestablishing the brand.

In this interview with both Big Chopper’s new owner, Simon and its former owner, Kevin we ask those involved what wrong in the past and what the holds for the company.

“Mona and I felt extremely guilty the whole situation because the last thing we would want, but it couldn’t be helped. The just smashed us to pieces,” said.

It wasn’t one specific that brought Big Bear but a series of events that the perfect storm when the hit.

It wasn’t that ago that Mona and Kevin were on top of the world, building for celebrities like Criss and doing Biker Build-Offs on TV. came the recession. New BBC owner Scott, below, is looking to the misfortunes of the company around.

“Truth of the matter is, in August of I built a 100 bikes-a-month. The very month, sales went 100 to 50. Then they stayed 30 -50 all the way through till about of ’08.

Then they down to 20, then 15, then the winter at the beginning of ’09, it around 10-15. In 2010, it down to about 10 a month. went down to about or six a month, worldwide!”

The sagging came as a result of people scared to spend large on “luxury items” while institutions stopped lending the abandon they did prior to the A 2009 lawsuit for bad frame didn’t help the matter. did waning popularity here in the for super-stretched choppers with rakes and monster V-Twins.

vendors, who began feeling the of the recession themselves, demanded Big pay their bills straight up or to at double up on payments. This cut the BBC’s budget to the tune of two dollars at a time when dropped 90%. Not exactly the for success.

Without financing, weren’t selling bikes, stopped profits from in and bumped up costs for them and ultimately couldn’t floor the BBC had repurchase agreements with GE and where if a dealer went Big Bear would take the back and redistribute them another dealer.

Only is, Textron and GE stopped doing but still wanted BBC to pay for the bikes, allowing for them to be redistributed to dealers. So Textron and GE would the bikes for 50 cents on the dollar, turn around and hand Big a bill.

Kevin and Mona they did everything they to keep the doors open, all the equity out of their home and it into the business in 2010. sold all his hot rods and toys and put the back into the business.

lived with nothing, I nothing, my furniture. I lost I lost $8 million dollars. And I owned personally, I poured into the business to try and stop from losing anything,” said.

The Alsops had done they could think of, making a public plea for on “Bloomberg The Mentor,” a show pairs entrepreneurs and business with struggling companies. this last ditch failed and the company had to shut its and file for bankruptcy.

Big Bear Choppers opened up in 1998 and in its hey-day pumped out a 100 motorcycles a month.

“We in there as long as humanly not because we wanted to screw but because we didn’t want to anybody. The whole time the people had deposits with us, if I the business five years people would have their …, if I closed the down a year ago, would have lost …, it doesn’t matter I closed it down because was going to get hurt.

It was never the to close it down, it was we keep until we can’t go. That was the Kevin said.

Unfortunately, Big Choppers joined the list of companies that went during the recession, including Big Dog and American Ironhorse. But Big Bear has the other two didn’t, Simon an investor who doubles as a professional who believes the brand still has But we couldn’t help but open our with Simon with the obvious question. “Why?

Why buy a whose reputation has been so This is what Scott had to

“A little bit of history to why I did it. I deal with somebody who had put deposits on foreign motorcycles to into Indonesia where I was up as a dealer for Big Bear Choppers in I actually visited Big Bear a of times to make sure I felt Mona and Kevin people that I could do with and came away a great impression. They straight people.”

“Things and obviously problems in Big Bear Choppers arose. What happened is Kevin rang me and ‘Look, Simon, I’m a lot of trouble and it looks like not going to get your bikes

Plus it would have some additional cash to get my out.’ So he said, ‘Yeh, try to work that through.’ I put additional cash in and then that, he (Kevin) rings me and said, ‘Look, that’s it. We’ve gone as far as we can go. Unfortunately, cash has been swallowed up.

What do you want to do about it? got nothing I can give you.’”

said all right, I’d to think about it. It was really a of, I realized there was going to be left after bankruptcy and my money would have gone. I’m not a person to sit and cry about things.

I’ve years in the mining industry and in and optimization, diverse problem in areas within mining, so it was a case of “How do I turn a into a positive?” I still that there was some around fat tire choppers and the but I was looking at Indonesia. I brought a Chopper into Indonesia and the from the people here was I had a market here, I knew was still a strong market in I knew that Europe was selling, I knew that hadn’t been tapped

(L) Big Bear Choppers owners to come from miles to attend the annual BBC ‘Ride the event. (M) A slew of freshly fenders come back the paint shop during the of Big Bear production. (R) Like about everything else, of motorcycle styles are cyclical. discretionary income dried up the recession, demand for bikes these waned drastically.

thought, let me do some fact and find out who is going to be the primary and see if I can’t work some of a deal to get some of the equipment out and it to make up some of my money, I could work on. I found out the primary creditor and I found out the lawyers for Big Bear American-made and I to get on the plane and come over to see I could do. Effectively, I struck a with the primary creditor, the

Basically they were all the assets, I knew through to Kevin and Mona that had not one cent to their name, had refinanced everything to keep the going. Obviously they the call a bit late but the situation have been a lot different if they would have it quits say six months or a year It was day-to-day and hand-to-mouth here.

Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI

I looked at what I could buy and how much the bank was looking for it and into the legal aspects of the intellectual property. I felt the name, Big Bear Choppers was a very strong brand. I knew that the bikes some of the coolest and rideable bikes out there of its kind.”

that, I again talked to and Mona, I assessed that they had nothing to their and was wondering what they going to be doing for a job. And I ‘Well come and work for me. see if I can get this brand back on the

I did feel that me trying to put the on the market without them, and Mona, was a lost cause.’ was a lot of bad publicity going on, but ultimately, the designer of Big Bear Choppers, he them. Mona was the marketing, behind them before, and I that they deserved a even

Though the ‘Believe’ was made by BBC to pay tribute to Criss accomplishments as an illusionist, it is now Kevin and Alsop who believe they can the company, along with a help from their like Simon Scott.

it had all gone wrong for them. I that they didn’t what happened, they hung on too long and I felt yet Big Bear and Kevin and Mona cut from the same cloth. I saw the lawyer just to work out how I employ them with and those sort of things.

basically contracted as my employees. got drive, they’ve got passion, and to see the brand back to where it said Scott.

Attempting to Big Bear Choppers to credibility, started at an Article 9 auction by the bank whereby the bank the sale with all the creditors them first crack at some of their losses. The had the rights to liquidate everything, so bought the intellectual properties, frame fixtures, and specific like the CNCs.

He bought a sq. ft. manufacturing facility in San Bernardino, for the bikes to be built in and is looking at the space opposite it which is available soon with of making it a showroom and rider’s for bikers on their way to Palm or riding up the mountain. In addition to the services of Kevin and Mona, hired some of the former Big crew to build the bikes.

Initially, Big Bear Choppers plan will focus on into international markets interest in the style of bikes the produces is still high. BBC is bikes in Europe out of its dealership in called Midland Choppers, said they’ve got an order for six out of a new dealer in Kiev, Ukraine, ship next month and the has already put in an order for six more.

Taiwan, and Canada were all as sales targets, and they approved emissions for the Bear model in Japan. They’ve gotten a handful of calls for builds out of places like Scott said they pushed hard yet in the US because want to touch base dealers from the past to talk about what can do to get the business back up and reestablish a

“We’re basically starting scratch but are currently producing 8-10 bikes per month. had to switch suppliers due to rising for specific products like side drives and exhausts but aim to costs contained, keep contained and try a gradual step-up over the next three We’ll cap our production within our so that we’re not trying to a grab for sales when we support it internally.

There’s of a defined business plan now there was before,” Scott

Currently Big Bear Choppers is all the existing lines while some of the models. The Sled and Pro Street models will get up to a 23-inch front wheel new fender styling and will be with a new tank design. also be converted from primary drives instead of

They’ve retained the rights to use the SS 100 Engine but will be offering displacement V-Twins with or EFI options. The team

New BBC president Scott (middle) believes is no Big Bear Choppers without and Mona so he has retained their to help write the next of the company’s history moving

has been brainstorming new designs a modular frame based on the FXR can be set up as a chopper, bobber or café and have appointed Buck Design Studio as a new painter to up with fresh design They’re looking to get new items on the and Kevin’s already developed a which he and Scott are planning on from LA to Sturgis to demonstrate the rideability and have fun on. At Sturgis plan on making the rounds and to get feedback on the bikes before head into production and on having an even bigger at Daytona Beach Bike next spring.

To err is human, but a person’s character is revealed the toughest of times. Kevin and Alsop could easily slipped into obscurity. He have gotten a nine-to-five in the shop of the local Harley and Mona could have back to working for a vet, but isn’t their style.

busted their … for 14 to build a company that at one was a leader in its market. The struggle is not yet as there’s one more bankruptcy this week and BBC still has a to wage in the court of public There are few winners in bankruptcy, the people who put their hard-earned down and never received to the Alsops who lost it all.

But one they didn’t lose is optimism and Kevin and Mona are for an opportunity to redeem themselves. realize the road to redemption is a and arduous route, but they’ve hit rock bottom and have humbled by the experience, so there’s no way to go but up. Big has survived “the age of foolishness” and now to rebound in “the epoch of

Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI
Big Bear Choppers Athena 100 Smooth EFI

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