Is the Custom Motorcycle Industry Dead?

When Jesse James and his West Coast Choppers first appeared on the Discovery channel the world got a small taste of what custom motorcycles were all about. The economy was good and many men started to dream about having their own custom bike. Of course many of them being upper middle class soccer dads thought the biker lifestyle as portrayed by the great Jesse was a little too scary for them.

Then the Teutels came along. American Chopper struck a chord with men that Jesse failed to do. It made them spend money. Suddenly every man in American over thirty wanted a custom motorcycle. And those that had the money bought them up in droves. Custom bike shops sprang up in almost every small town in the country and many a custom motorcycle builder thought they had hit pay dirt.

Even people who really didn’t plan on buying one ended up buying a bike because we got caught up in the phenomenon that was American Chopper. Five motorcycles later and two custom builds under my belt, I can honestly say that if custom bikes had not been all over the TV, I probably wouldn’t have a garage full of them now. The country just went nuts over custom motorcycles.

Doctors and lawyers gladly shelled out for $30,000 bikes so they could join the custom motorcycle fad. Along the way a few production custom motorcycle companies went into business and made their fortunes in a very quick time. If you had the money and wanted a cool bike without the worries about getting parts and such, the production chopper fit the bill. Many of these fad riders actually turned into true motorcyclists, myself included, but that’s where the trouble began.

If you’ve ever ridden a chopper or a bobber, you’re well aware that these things are great for bar hopping and to parade around at your local bike night but as a full time rides they just don’t work. Trust me I know; after a 400 mile ride to Niagara falls I quickly realized that have a low long custom bike wasn’t what I wanted to ride on long trips. And many other new riders learned the same lesson. As sales of touring models soared the custom motorcycle industry started to hear the death knell that was around the corner. Then tragedy struck the motorcycle industry in general.

As the US economy fell demand for custom bikes fell with it. Many newcomers to the bike building business whom had lucked into a full time career out of a hobby soon discovered that when only real bike riders wanted custom bikes built, only hardcore established custom motorcycle shops got the business. Even the well know OCC felt the pinch as their once coveted theme bikes became a low priority for corporations who were now on a budget.

Watchers of the show watched as Paul Teutel Sr had to lay off a bunch of workers and fans could only wonder if their new building was ill timed. The custom motorcycle fad was over.

So what does all this mean for the custom motorcycle business in general. Is it dead? Hardly. It’s way bigger than before the fad started. A lot of upstart companies have managed to survive because they created a good product. Some production chopper companies have fallen by the wayside. But the most important thing, to me is that motorcycling in general has finally become main stream. In spite of a tumbling economy and HD in financial trouble more people are riding motorcycles now then ever before. And that means more people will be customizing them also.

It’s a rare sight to see a motorcycle that hasn’t been customized in one form or another and I confidently predict that after this economy bounces back the custom bike industry and custom parts industries will flourish. How do I know all this? Because in spite of lagging sales and the passing of the fad, websites about motorcycles are busier than ever. People may not be spending money right now but they’re doing something almost as important. They’re making their bike parts wish lists and in some case determining who they are going to get to build their custom dream bike when things turn around. Which they will.

Take heart my friends, the custom industry is not dead, just taking a much needed siesta.

Uses Of Automotive Equipment And Tools

Automotive equipment and tools are a very important part of the automobile industry. They can range from simple hand held devices to large structures that can even lift a heavy truck. The uses of these equipments in the world of automobiles cannot be undermined. For carrying out repairs, for changing a tire, for lubricating, for servicing, for charging up the battery, and for cleaning the vehicles, these equipments are very important.

Here Is A Brief Note On Some Of The Uses Of These Equipments.

Automobile Equipment Usage

* Automotive Lifts: Hydraulic lifts are very common in the industry and are used in showrooms, repair shops, and automobile factories. They generally come in the form of a platform fixed on a zigzag leg that can be raised or lowered as required. Heavy vehicles can be raised by the use of this equipment. These are how cars reach the first or second floor of a showroom or how the repairs to the lower part of vehicles are carried out in a mechanic’s shop. These lifts can be of different types like motorcycle lifts, runway lifts, drive on lifts, in-ground lifts, etc.

* Lubrication Equipments: As the name suggests, these are used to lubricate parts of the vehicle. There is a long list of lubrication equipments available and each is used for different lubrication purposes. Oil and grease reels, grease guns, oil drains, and oil and grease pumps are all examples of such commonly used equipment. Blacrank is a good brand when it comes to these equipments. Blacrank oil pumps are indisputable masters of the group.

* Compressors: Air compressors are used to do various works on automobiles. Generally, air compressors give additional pressure to drive in screws and give more power to tools like wrenches and nail guns. These are also used to remove dirt from the vehicle.

* Service Equipments: A vehicle needs to be serviced from time to time to ensure its proper running. This is where service equipments come in. These are battery chargers, fuel transfer device, brake fluid exchangers, coolant service equipment, tire changers, etc.

* Reels: These come in different shapes and sizes and are an important member of any automotive equipment list. Reels could be air reels, exhaust hose reels, grease reels, etc. Reels help to keep the pipes and hoses in place and also to extend its life. They can be easily reeled out to the required size and stored by reeling back.

* Jacks: Jacks are important not only in the shop but also for every vehicle owner. They enable the person to lift up the vehicle for the purpose of changing tires or doing some emergency repairs on the vehicle.

The list of automotive equipment is quite long and their uses quite large. Companies who sell such equipments also deal in car parts, thus making the store a one stop place for all things related to automobiles. Nowadays, there are thousands of online stores selling these equipments making them more accessible to all in need.

Ferrari Cars and Some of Their Famous Owners, A Brief Guide

Ferrari luxury sports cars have always had a special affinity with the association of not only the racing world and upper echelons of the Formula One Grand Prix, but also a popular choice for the rich and famous.

A Ferrari parked outside an expensive boutique or a café in Monaco wouldn’t ever “look out of place”, would it? This is probably due to the fact that Ferrari sports cars have always had a reassuringly rather large price tag to go with their image of wealth for its owner.

With this in mind, the cars that belong to celebrities, Hollywood actors and famous people have always attracted even more attention than their less famously owned counter parts. So when some of these famously owned cars end up at a classic car auction or are announced that they will be sold, a media frenzy starts and so does a bidding war for the top price.

In a recent classic car auction at the Silverstone, a rare 2003 “Ferrari 575 Maranello” with only 10,000 miles on the odometer was eventually sold for £66,000 and was purchased by an unknown private buyer. What was unique about this car was its special provenance from its famous previous owners.

The fact this Ferrari was not just rare, but its previous owners included; the legendary guitar hero “Eric Clapton” and the BBC Radio and TV presenter Chris Evans, who are both huge Ferrari fans in their own right.

Chris Evans has been in and out of the motoring world press for the last few years, with his growing collection of Ferrari’s, which now includes seven in the line-up. But his latest acquisition is the one that’s got everyone talking. It’s a very rare 1960 Ferrari 250 California Spyder, that cost over £5 million at auction. What makes this classic car even more special is that its only number 13 of only 56 cars ever produced of this model, but it was formally owned by the late (great) film actor James Coburn, who was a massive Ferrari fan.

James Coburn got his love of cars from his father and was reputed to have turned the automotive-fanatic actor Steve McQueen onto Ferrari sports cars back in the early sixties.

Other celebrities and star’s who share a love for Ferrari sports cars are most notably Jay Kay from the band Jamiroquai who has had a number of Ferrari’s including; a Ferrari F40, a 360 Spider, Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari 456GT. Veteran rock singer Rod Stewart also owns a Ferrari F40, a 360 Spider and now new Murcielago.

Star of film and TV, Joanna Lumley has a classic Ferrari 328 GTS Targa, where as lead guitarist of the Who rock band also has a passion for Ferrari’s, as Pete Townshend currently owns a Ferrari 550 Maranello.

Welcome To The World Of “Upside Down” Motorcycle Loans!

With the depreciation on motorcycles being so enormous after they are driven off the showroom floor, the potential for a buyer owing more on their motorcycle loan than the bike is worth it quite high. Owing more on your bike than it is worth is often referred to as the world of “up side down”.

Many people finding themselves in this situation discover that financial lessons are sometimes the hardest and most expensive to learn. Motorcycle loans of more than 48 months (especially without a down payment) put you in the position of owing more than the value of the bike.

Let’s take a look at this phenomenon.

First, the interest calculation your lender uses can make a big difference in your situation, especially in the first 18 months. There are two primary interest calculations, pre-computed (combined with rule of 78) and simple interest.

Pre-computed interest combined with Rule of 78, is typically the worst situation for a buyer because most of the interest is paid in the first 24 months. Therefore, in the first 24 months little of the monthly payment has gone towards paying down principal. If a buyer wishes to sell or trade in the motorcycle within this timeframe they will likely find themselves owing more than the bike is worth. Statistics show that the average owner trades in every 18-24 months.

Simple interest on the other hand, is much more favorable for buyers since interest accrues on the balance of the loan. However, buyers that extend their loans for greater than 48 months can still find themselves up side down with simple interest. This is especially true if a down payment is not made. The reason this occurs is that the motorcycle depreciates faster than the principal is paid; leaving the balance owed to the lender to be more than the bike can be sold for.

A common view that many people have is that they will just surrender their motorcycle to the lender if they are caught in an “up side down” position. If you are considering this option don’t! Your worries do not just end after your bike is surrendered or repossessed; in fact they are just beginning. The lender will sell your bike at an auction for much less than it is worth. You will still owe the difference between the amount you owed on your loan and the amount the motorcycle sold for at auction. So if you owe $5000 and the bike sells for $1500, you still are responsible for owing the lender $3500. To make it worse lenders may tack on hefty auction fees which you will owe as well. So the net result is that you are now responsible for making monthly payments on a bike you can no longer ride.

So what steps can you take to prevent from being caught “up side down”?

1. Find a lender that uses simple interest. Avoid lenders that use pre-computed / Rule of 78 interest calculations.

2. Always try to put money down on your purchase.

3. Try to avoid motorcycle loans that extend past 36 months.