After appearing on the Discovery Channel’s ‘World Biker Build-Off,’ the bikes of Scotty’s Choppers have been thrown into the world wide spotlight. Their latest creation “The Acid Monster” has now embarked on an extensive tour of the USA in conjunction with S&S Cycles latest bike display. The Shows include Daytona Bike Week, Laughlin River Run, Myrtle Beach Rally, Laconia Rally, Sturgis and Big Twin West Las Vegas.
> It’s a long way from Uralla NSW to the Discovery Channel’s ‘World Biker Build Off,’ How did you become involved with the program?
Scotty’s Choppers have been to the States nine times in the past six years participating in major bike shows such as Daytona Beach bike week and Sturgis. These two bike rallies are the biggest in the world and we have built six custom bikes and sent them to America all winning at these major shows. As far as becoming involved with Discovery Channels ‘World Biker Build Off’ they approached Scotty’s Choppers late 2003 in regards to being the Australian participant in such a show. They sent a scout to a show in Sydney called ‘Big Boys Toys’ to meet us and see our machines. After that they filmed a short teaser, which was submitted to Discovery Channel in the States. Discovery gave us the heads up then flew Scott and myself to the US to meet with the other two contestants who were Martin Bros from USA and Exile Cycles from England. They laid down a set of rules, a time frame and did some filming while we were over there. We then returned to Australia to prepare for a one month shoot of us building a bike in January 2004. We completed the bikes in 35 days then returned to America to the ‘Rats Hole Bike Show ‘to finish the filming.
> How has the business and life changed since being on the show?
Since being on Discovery Channels ‘World Biker Build Off’ we have become an internationally recognised custom bike builder. The show still plays around the world and has only just recently finished in the States. We receive a lot of accolades and emails from all around the world. It is a lot easier to do business in the custom bike industry now that we have this reputation and we receive a lot of magazine exposure in both Australian and American custom bike style magazines. The business is slowly gathering momentum and gaining interest of the people that have the money to build such machines.
> How did you become involved in the world of customising bikes?
Scott has an engineering background and after leaving school completed an apprenticeship in engineering, welding and fabrication. He was involved in a lot of agricultural style engineering, stainless steel kitchen fitments and steam pipe engineering. This gave him a great background for his passion in custom motor cycles, which he has turned into a business. Starting with repairs to Harley Davidsons then moving on to building complete motorcycles.
> How many bikes do you create a year?
Scotty’s Choppers at the moment would build six complete custom motorcycles a year, mainly for the Australian market. It also has a range of custom parts for standard style Harley Davidsons including wide ass kits, fenders, fuel tanks etc.
> The bikes are immensely detailed. How much work and time goes into creating each one?
It can take anywhere from three to six months to build a complete motorcycle depending on the design and detail involved. This includes firstly designing the bike, building the frame and all associated panels, mocking up the whole thing to a stage of rideability, then stripping down for paint, polish, chrome and finally reassembly.
> How do you come up with the ideas for the bike designs?
As far as designs go with custom motorcycles, if you can draw it, we at Scotty’s Choppers can build it. A lot of customers have their own ideas, themes and what they want the final machine to look like. Scotty’s Choppers own promotional style bikes such as Ballistic and the Acid Monster which are designed by Scott himself and through past experience each bike seems to be better than the last.
> Are the bikes street legal or are they built for show’s only?
Most of the bikes built at Scotty’s Choppers are registrable. The RTA have a set of guidelines which must be adhered too. After completing the bike they then go through a rigorous engineers inspection and report before registration. Our promotional style bikes we tend to build for the “wow” factor not so much legality. Scotty’s Choppers are currently undertaking gaining compliance for their custom bikes which involves submitting a test machine to the RTA and dealing with Engineers which will eventually give Scotty’s Choppers the ability to register their own style custom machine. This will open a new market in Australia for custom motorcycle enthusiasts who wish to buy these machines off the showroom floor.
> Tell us a little about your latest show bike ‘The Acid Monster’.
The Acid Monster was built over an 8 month period in between our normal workflow. We built this bike to show the general public Scotty’s Choppers outstanding talent on working with steel and aluminium. As the bike progressed, new ideas came up throughout the build and eventually we had a machine that was more or less “an animal on wheels”. This bike then debuted at Gold Coast Bike Week 2005 winning a box full of trophies including best engineered, and peoples choice. It then traveled to the US to an invitation only show called “Artistry in Iron”. Out of 25 builders at this show Scotty’s Choppers received 2nd place. The bike then attended the world championships of custom bike building in late 2005 in Las Vegas. Out of 166 entrants the ‘Acid Monster’ placed 7th overall. It is now on a promotional tour in the USA attending every major motorcycle rally and show under the guidance of S&S Engines, who are the latest manufacturer of aftermarket high performance engines in the US. This bike will stay in the US and is for sale with a price tag of around US$150,000.
> How much do your custom bikes normally sell for?
Our custom bikes start at around the $80,000 mark in Australia. This all depends on aftermarket input i.e. engines, gearboxes, wheels, front ends, controls etc. One off style machines such as Ballistic, our Discovery bike, and the Acid Monster can fetch twice this amount.
> Thank you for your time Guys.