Who Are the Best Custom Motorcycle Builders?

By Tom Kiley on March 9, 2010 - 3 comments

Custom motorcycle builders are here to stay. They are as much a part of the motorcycle industry as some of the largest motorcycle companies in the world. While their bikes do not have the global impact of companies like Harley Davidson and Kawasaki motorcycles, their bikes certainly make a large impact at motorcycle events, biker shows, competitions, and local bike nights.

In many cases, custom builders have become celebrities. Jesse James, The Teutel Family, the Detroit Brothers, Arlen Ness, and others have now become household names. Some custom builders gained fame and fortune through TV shows that moved them, their companies, and the entire custom motorcycle industry into the mainstream.

But the big question is, which builders are the best? That question is nearly impossible to answer since judging custom builders is largely subjective. However, here are some that are recognized as innovators and front runners in the industry.

  • Redneck Engineering: Despite the name, the guys at Redneck have taken frame building and turned it into an art form. Their style is highly recognizable giving their brand a level of distinction and a leg up on the competition.
  • Wicked Custom Cycles: Most custom cycles are made from American motorcycle components but these guys use the Yamaha V-Star 1100 as their base motorcycle model.  Wicked Customs is doing some amazing things with metric cruisers.
  • Detroit Bros.: The Detroit Bros are relative newcomers to the custom fabrication world but they have made such a big mark that they have a show called Motor City Motors on the Discovery Channel.
  • Arlen Ness: He’s probably the most influential custom builder in the industry. His work is considered artistry and his brand is one of the most well known in the industry. From bikes to components, Arlen Ness is the man.
  • Orange County Choppers (OCC): Unfortunately the show that made Orange County Choppers a global phenomenon, American Chopper, was cancelled from The Learning Channel and Paul Jr. left the show and company. Fortunately for bikers, OCCs bikes are better than ever.

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