Most of the motorcycle aftermarket companies focusing on manufacturing products in the USA cite benefits ranging from increased quality control to being able to implement design changes faster. Making product in the USA also helps some companies produce in smaller quantities, thereby being able to offer a broader range of products rather than investing great amounts of capital into narrow product lines.
“Keeping products domestic allows us to be quicker to market,” says Laura Klock, VP of Klock Werks Kustom Cycles. “We design in-house, completing all of the R&D and fitment close, and are then able to provide drawings and prototypes right to the manufacturer, often with a face-to-face visit to their facility.”
Face-to-face is an important part of keeping it local. Companies can directly view the type of facility they work with, and can choose to work with manufacturers whose facilities align with values they think are important, such as environmentally-friendly practices, shop cleanliness and efficiency, among other values. As Craig Johnson of CJ Designs says, “We design and manufacture our products either in-house or at a local manufacturer. Therefore, I can be directly involved in the manufacturing of each product. It’s much more time consuming to offer lower-quality products and have to do damage control afterwards than doing good quality control on the front end.”
Made in the USA is not just good for the motorcycle aftermarket companies. The national manufacturing infrastructure benefits everyone by supplying jobs, creating demand for products, and even enhancing business for local transportation companies. “It is surprising how many consumers do not realize how much ‘Made in the USA’ affects our nation’s economy, not just the specific company that is selling the good,” says Black Dog Cycle Works’ Kurt Forgét. “It has far reaching benefits including raw materials, manufacturing machines, transportation, supplies, and all the ancillary services and personnel. We feel that keeping a manufacturing base in the U.S. is vital for a healthy economy in the long term.”
Here in our own industry many motorcycle aftermarket companies are not just using “Made in the U.S.A.” as a motto, but making it a successful business philosophy. Here, we’ll introduce you to some of those dedicated manufacturers.
Joan Krenning, aka Lady Road Dog
Joan Krenning, aka Lady Road Dog, has embarked on a three-year, multi-state ride throughout the United States on her 2013 Harley-Davidson Street Glide to promote the “Made in America” theme. An inspiring lady with a colorful past, Krenning has been in the motorcycle industry for more than 20 years. She owns Design Wraps, a custom head wrap company that makes biker hats, skull caps, rhinestone bandanas, do-rags, construction head wraps, chemotherapy wraps and hats for cancer and hair loss patients. Follow her travels on her website at www.ladyroaddog.com.
Black Dog Cycle Works (BDCW)
Kurt and Martha Forgét created Black Dog Cycle Works to feed their love of adventure riding. BDCW is based in Sandpoint, Idaho, the ideal proving ground for their products, and the company hires craftsmen and craftswomen from the local community who care about their work and work to continually wow their customers with superior workmanship. That’s why all of BDCW’s own products, and the ones that they distribute, are proudly made in the USA.
Giant Loop began in 2008 with the hope of opening up new possibilities for riders to explore the “magnificent planet.” The company started by selling a single saddlebag available only online. Now, Giant Loop strives to reach the world’s community of riders with their award-winning, innovative, Made in the USA luggage.
IMS Products was founded in 1976 by dirt track racer CH Wheat. In 1995, Wheat was joined by fellow off-road racer Scott Wright. IMS distributes worldwide but stays true to its Southern California roots by giving back to the off-road community and donating to organizations like Ride Down. “We are a small family owned company trying to make a good solid part,” says Scott Wright.
CJ Designs LLC
CJ Designs, founded in 2008 by Craig Johnson, designs, manufactures, endorses and sells parts that have been thoroughly tested by Craig himself who travels the Midwest extensively, mainly on trails in Wisconsin and Michigan. The company not only stamps a “Made In the U.S.” stamp on everything they do, but they also test and adventure across the U.S.
Jesse Luggage Systems
Jesse Luggage, in their 20th year manufacturing and growing, takes pride in their handmade products. To them, manufacturing in-house allows complete control over quality and keeps costs down. When you call Jesse Luggage, you talk to someone who has had their hands on the aluminum luggage and touring accessories that they make.
Rick Mayer Cycle
Rick Mayer Cycle handcrafts saddles for a custom-fit. “If it’s molded, it’s not handmade,” says Rick who lists his own email address on the site and encourages anyone to reach out to him if they have questions. Each of Rick’s saddles are hand crafted for an individual fit and the covers are sewn by Rick himself. Because of that, no two saddles are exactly alike.
Klock Werks Kustom Cycles
You may have heard a little about the Klock family and the record-breaking Klock Werks racing team. They are currently located just four hours east of Sturgis, at the home of the World’s Only Corn Palace, Mitchell, S.D. Not only does the company break records, they develop parts from sheet metal stamped from real steel, all made and tested in the USA. “We make it quality, you make it Kustom,” is Klock Werks’ motto and they aim to provide riders with better parts, not to just flood the market.
Trailmaster Adventure Gear
Trailmaster Adventures was born out of Rob Watt’s love for adventure riding. At first, the company was just a name that Watt put on shirts and hats to share with friends, but Watt soon recognized a need to have more space to carry things like cameras, iPhones, snacks and personal items. Now, Trailmaster Adventures designs and manufactures bags that fit in the hole of the crash bars to store those items.
Roaring Toyz was founded by AMA racer Robert Fisher. All Roaring Toyz parts are precision engineered in-house and extensively tested for exceptional durability and excellent fit. For more than a decade, Roaring Toyz has been a leader in the world of custom motorcycles, building parts that define quality and the cutting edge of style.
Ride Wright Wheels
Ridewright Wheels is the premiere outfitter for American-made custom spoke or wire motorcycle wheels and billet mag wheels. Ridewright Wheels is also a proud supporter of military heroes and partners with “Warrior Chopper,” a project that helps recovering combat veterans build their own custom bikes as vocational therapy.
Works Performance Products, Inc.
In 1973, Works Performance Products began producing unique off-road shocks with a revolutionary damping system. Each Works shock is built to order based on riders weight, specific length requirements, chassis geometry and intended use. The company has no “one-size-fits-all” shock and for over three decades, that’s been the Works philosophy: shocks custom-built to order.