Since I spend a good portion of my time reviewing and researching the world of custom motorcycles, I thought it might be fun to list my own top ten for the custom motorcycle world. My choices were made strictly on the quality and originality of their work and not how famous they are. Here they are in reverse order.
10. OCC Choppers – Six months ago these guys wouldn’t have even made my short list, let alone my top ten, but since Paul Jr. left, the bikes they’re building have been better than ever. The OCC band bike alone earns them a spot on the list.
9. Bobber Shop – The one in Thousand Oaks, CA. If you want to see how to properly take a stock Harley Davidson and turn it into a true custom you need to see the work these guys do. One of the best customizing shops in the country.
8. Greg’s Custom Cycles - I’m not sure where Greg gets his ideas but I hope they keep coming. One of the most creative bike builders in the country yet smart enough to never over do it. A bike done by Greg’s will truly be one of a kind.
7. Sam Nehme - Roadstar customizer extraordinaire, Sam’s BMS Choppers continually keeps pumping out high quality custom Yamahas. I credit Sam for making customized Metric bikes an acceptable form of transportation.
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6. Arlen Ness – The guy’s an artist. He’s a legend. Arlen has pushed the boundaries of custom bike design further than any single individual I can think of. Many of Arlen’s unique ideas have made their way onto stock bikes. A real pioneer.
5. Mondo – After taking over Denver’s Choppers from the late Denver Mullins, Mondo has carved himself a place in motorcycle history, I feel, by being one of the most versatile custom motorcycle builders around. Mondo is one of the few builders that understand every style of bike and what makes it what it is.
4. Cole Foster – I once wrote that Cole’s picture should be put into the dictionary next to the world “cool”. That’s not a joke. This guy epitomizes cool and all that it means. While some may argue that Foster and his Salinas Boys haven’t built enough motorcycles to qualify for a spot this high on the list, my response is that it’s quality, not quantity that matters.
3. Roland Sands – Hello, next generation of custom bike builder. Roland can’t seem to decide if he wants to build a racing bike, a sport bike, a cruiser or and off road bike, so he just builds them all in every bike. Probably the most talented artist in the entire custom motorcycle world, Sands has truly created his own signature style.
2. Wicked Custom Cycles – Who? You may ask are they? Well, do yourself a favor and Google them and you’ll find out. My number two choice was selected for their unique take on the V-star 1100 as a base for a custom motorcycle. They are without a doubt building the finest metric bikes I have seen yet. Look these guys up.
1. Redneck Engineering -. The heart of a custom motorcycle is not in the engine but rather the frame. Redneck has taken frame design to its ultimate perfection. They have developed new frame styles that other bike builders are falling over themselves to use. The Redneck style is instantly recognizable, no matter who has done the finishing work, and I can not wait to see what they develop next.
Like it or not, that’s my top ten list for custom motorcycle builders. Hopefully I’ve given you something to think about and you’ll check out any of the builders that you haven’t heard about before. Thanks for reading.