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California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez
California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez
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Tag Archives: custom choppers

American Chopper, Senior v. Junior, a Review

The guys from American Chopper in better days
The guys from American Chopper in better days

You can read several write-up’s I have done about American Chopper here on the Biker Law Blog, by typing “American Chopper” in the search box that is located on the upper right section of this page below the header.

This review is my take on the new American Chopper, Senior v. Junior format that is now in its second season at the present time.

After watching last night’s episode which culminated in Senior and Junior both having a build off for GM’s Cadillac CTS division, I figured now was as good as time as any to do a fresh review of the show.

First off, American Chopper is basically the only motorcycle reality show about motorcycle building left on TV these days.

In the decade of 2000-2010 there were several different shows about motorcycles, but they all slowly died out.

Now all we are left with is American Chopper, and a show which may or may not come back, “Full Throttle Saloon” which is a show about a Saloon located in the small town of Sturgis, SD, which is only open during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

I do not consider Full Throttle Saloon to be a motorcycle show, although the show does show many bikers, and bikes, it is mostly about a bar at a motorcycle event. It is a totally different type of show than American Choppers.

After all of these years, I still enjoy American Chopper, although now the show purports to showcase a fully dysfunctional family with both Senior and Junior both building custom motorcycles from week to week.

The reason I say purports, is that I think both of these guys are real smart. I think they are playing up their dysfunctional family, and their business rivalry for the cameras, while they are both laughing all the way to the bank.

They have us all convinced that they have not spoken for two years, and that it is father against son, bla bla bla.

I think they could be bs’ing all of us just to make us watch their show. I bet their ratings are much higher with the new format.

Anyway getting past the conspiracy theory, let me talk about the show.

To be frank, the show is getting old. Basically now on each episode, you have Orange County Choppers led by Paul senior building one motorcycle, while Paul Junior Design’s led by Paul junior building another motorcycle.

Orange County Choppers at least to me uses a more sophisticated method of building motorcycles than Paul Junior Designs. The design of each motorcycle is put on a computerized Cad/Cam system by their designer before fabrication. It appears to me that everything on an Orange County Chopper is custom fabricated except for the engine, transmission, frame, and wheels, although I could be mistaken.

Some people might argue that the motorcycles are not really custom if the frame, wheels, engine, and transmission are not custom made by Orange County Choppers. That is not the subject of this article.

Orange County Choppers has several apparently talented sheet metal workers who are able to custom fabricate the parts of the bike that they apparently do such as the tank, fenders, handle bars, etc.

It appears at least to me that their motorcycles all are starting to look the same. Some look better than others, and some do not look very rideable.

Paul Junior Designs is a recent startup. It appears from the show that they build motorcycles on the fly rather than use computerized design like Orange County Choppers. It appears to me that Paul Junior Designs has to bring in an outside sheet metal guy on a temporary basis for each build to make their tanks and fenders, which may or may not be a good thing. I may be mistaken, but it also appears to me that Paul Junior Designs may be using more bolt on items than Orange County Choppers, but then again there is no way to know for sure. Ultimately, I think Paul Junior Designs also does not custom make their frames, engines, transmissions, wheels, etc., but I may be mistaken.

I don’t know about you, but the motorcycles coming out of Paul Junior Designs aesthetically look good, but look totally unrideable to me. The all seem to have a very long front end from the seat to the long drooping tank, to the wheels. They almost remind me of old fashioned cars with the very long front ends. Paul’s motorcycles also seem to have a very uncomfortable lean forward onto the huge tank type of set up. It may have a certain look, but it is not set up for riding.

To be frank, I am not really a custom chopper kind of guy. I prefer tried and tested designs that are comfortable to ride, and that are safe. I am not implying that the motorcycles built by OCC or PJD are not safe, but I feel more comfortable with a large factory design with some limited customization, rather than a motorcycle built the way OCC or PJD does their motorcycles. This is just my preference.

The part of each show I enjoy the most is the actual motorcycle builds. I am not into the bashing of each other by Paul senior, Paul junior, and Mikey. It is kind of disgusting to me to having family members bashing each other on national TV. As a matter of fact, it is getting real old.

My dad has done a lot of shit to me in my life, but I still honor thy father as the bible says to do. Paul senior does appear to be a real asshole, but to be frank, so do his kids as well. I think they all need to get their heads out of their asses if you ask me.
In the end, they are all getting rich, and the entire thing could and probably is all just made for TV.

I will continue watching the show, but it is getting kind of boring if you ask me.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © June 7, 2010

Custom Motorcycle chopper sales crash in tough economy; now may be the time to get a deal if you can afford it.

Allen Dixon of Central Florida Choppers on the Biker Lawyer BlogThrough the open door at Central Florida Choppers near downtown Orlando, Allen Dixon can hear the rumble and roar of motorcycles traveling up and down Interstate 4.

It is, after all, Bike Week, and Dixon makes his living building motorcycles.

But right now, he isn’t building many. The recession has sent the market for choppers — long, raked-out custom cycles with Harley-Davidson-style engines and tall “ape hanger” handlebars — straight into the Dumpster.

“The $40,000 and $50,000 bikes are gone for now,” said Dixon. 46. “If anyone is buying, its bikes in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, and there’s very little of that right now.”

The downturn has also affected the used market. “Most guys are trying to sell their bikes. I can’t build you one for what they’re selling theirs for. I’ve got one in here right now — the guy probably paid $25,000 for it, and he said if I can get $10,000 for it, sell it.

“A lot of shops — a lot of shops — have fallen by the wayside. But we’re still here, still have the lights on. We’re struggling, but we’re still here.”

Many of us got an introduction to choppers 40 years ago with the release of the film Easy Rider, which had stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper biking across the country, for a while with Jack Nicholson squeezed on the back of Fonda’s bike.

Those bikes were built by California customizer Ben Hardy from retired Harley-Davidson police cycles. Hardy also built some of the bikes used several years earlier in The Wild Angels, one of a series of drive-in movies based loosely on the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang that helped cement the idea that chopper riders were nonconformists at best, and trouble at worst.

This was also when Japanese-built motorcycles began to make major strides in the business of building large motorcycles. As owners sought to customize their motorcycles, the chopper industry grew, but promptly receded to the point where only dedicated chopper owners kept the business going.

A major resurgence came in 2002 when American Chopper debuted on the Discovery Channel, featuring the bike-building Teutul family from New York. Television also made stars of other chopper builders, including Jesse James, who founded West Coast Choppers in his mother’s garage in 1992 and is now a major personality married to actress Sandra Bullock.

Now, American Chopper has been canceled, the Teutuls are involved in million-dollar interfamily lawsuits, and Dixon feels the pain.

“The motorcycle market is flooded,” he says. “That’s the honest truth. But there are still a few guys out there who want to ride something special.”

That’s where Dixon comes in. He and the customer design the bike in advance.

“It’s something we create together and make it one of a kind. Sure, you can go down to the store and buy a motorcycle, but if you ride it to Daytona this week, you’ll probably see hundreds of bikes just like yours. The only difference is the rider and paint.”

Owning something no one else has appeals to John Argall, a cabinetmaker and chopper rider: “To design something myself and see it built, and know that no one else has a bike like it — that’s what I like.”

Argall’s bike, which Dixon built, is red with black trim — skulls, mostly — and is powered by a V-Twin S&S engine.

And unlike a lot of chopper riders, Argall rides his regularly, not just on weekends. “It’s comfortable. After all, it was built especially for me, so everything fits just right.”

Central Florida Choppers is obviously good at what it does: Trophies from motorcycle shows line the walls of the office.

Likely adding to the challenge for chopper builders such as Dixon is that Honda and Harley-Davidson have entered the chopper market — sort of, at least.

Two years ago, Harley introduced the Rocker, a raked-out, chopper-looking motorcycle that started at $17,295. And in 2009, Honda introduced the 2010 Fury, which has the V-Twin engine that looks like a Harley motor, plus lengthened front forks. The Fury starts at $12,995, and Honda offers about $3,000 worth of options and accessories.

Bikes like those, Dixon says, are merely amusing to dedicated chopper riders. “[They’ve] been trying to look like us for years, copying the look, the sound, everything. Honda will sell as many Furys that all look alike to anyone who buys them.”

And they are selling, says Kirby Mullins, owner of Seminole PowerSports, a Honda dealer.

“Its heck of a buy for $12,995,” he says, “and you have Honda reliability and a warranty backing it up.”

Also, the wheelbase of the Fury — the distance from the center of the rear wheel to the center of the front wheel — is just short enough so that many insurance companies don’t consider it a true chopper. Insuring a chopper, Mullins says, can get expensive, largely because many of them can’t be repaired easily with off-the-shelf parts.

Mullins agreed that the motorcycle market in general — the chopper market in particular — is going through some tough times.

“I’ve never really understood the chopper market,” Mullins says. “It seems like a lot of people have spent $30,000 or $40,000 on a custom chopper, then a year later, they’re trying to sell them for $15,000.”

“It’s like the boat market,” Dixon says. “No one really has to have a boat, unless you make your living fishing. And no one really has to have a chopper.”

But some people want one anyway, and for those customers, the door is still open, the lights are still on at Central Florida Choppers.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and California Biker Lawyer Website

The End Of The Road For American Chopper – Is the Biker Yuppie Craze Over?

 ** 2-11-10 Update – I watched the last American Chopper show and it sucked. There was no mention of the series being cancelled which leads me to believe that the series was cancelled by TLC without any advanced warning or planning. Otherwise they would have done some kind of end of series show.

One of my commenters, “Pirate” is right, this show bit the big one. He mentioned that the economy probably has a lot to do with the downturn in custom motorcycles, and even the Easy Rider show in his area. One of my other commentators “Guru” does not understand why motorcycles are not promoted more as a cheap way to save gas and commute.

Anyway I think that TLC did a disservice to watchers like me. They did not even respect us enough to do a final series show. I think that the Teutul’s disrespected us as well by thinking we would continue to watch a series where Paul Jr. and Mikey moped around town designing dog parks, and doing lame comedy routines while their audience wanted to see custom motorcycles being made.

Anyway that is it; I wonder if we will see any other motorcycle type of shows on cable?

Well the TV series American Chopper is suddenly coming to an end; the last show is this Thursday at 9:00pm EST on the Learning Channel.

Many of you may have read the article I wrote about the Teutul family lawsuit here.

I became aware of the fact that the show was ending when I saw a commercial on TLC announcing that the very last show would be this Thursday. I thought it was kind of odd that Paul Jr. was the one announcing the end of the show on the commercial since he was fired by his dad, (see below) and his is being sued by his dad.

I am sure that most of you know that American Chopper is or should I say, was, a very popular show on TLC about the Teutul family and their building custom motorcycles at Orange County Choppers in New York. The show also showcased some heavy duty family fighting.

I firmly believe it was TV shows like American Chopper, Biker Build-off, Motorcycle Mania, etc., that fueled the Yuppie motorcycle craze of the early 2000’s. Love the shows or hate them, they drove motorcycles into the mainstream, and made them more popular than ever.

Now it is almost impossible to find any of the reality based motorcycle shows that were running throughout the early 2000’s.

I myself was a regular watcher of America Chopper, and had it set to record on my digital video recorder automatically. I did not watch it for drama; I watched it because I thought the custom motorcycle build part of the show was pretty cool. I also watched other motorcycle reality TV shows when they were on. I believe that American Chopper is the last of the genre.

Some people may have thought that the show was BS, but in my humble opinion, it was a good watch, something better than let’s say watching some BS game show.

I have been riding motor powered mini-bikes and motorcycles since my dad put me on one at the age of 4 in 1967. I remember having to kick start (or push start) my motorcycles in the 1970’s, and early 80’s. I have been riding well before the yuppie craze started with motorcycles in the 2000’s.

Nonetheless I have nothing against yuppies. I believe the more people on motorcycles, the better. Anyway, getting back to American Choppers, I wonder if this will spell the end for Orange County Choppers. Who knows? Anyway, I will be watching on Thursday as I am sure will all of you, to see what happens, and bid a farewell to a show that gave me enjoyment.

Now I leave you with a clip of the reality that apparently tore the Teutul family apart, Paul Jr.’s firing. Maybe now these guys can pull their heads out of their asses and be a family again.

YouTube Preview Image

By Biker Attorney and California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2010

Orange County Chopper Father and Son in Bitter Lawsuit

American Chopper - Orange County Chopper Lawsuit
Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul M. Teutul jr.

I am sure that many of you in the motorcycle world have watched the TV show American Chopper. American Chopper is a reality TV show about the company Orange County Choppers. Its stars are the infamous Teutul family; Paul Teutul Sr., his son Paul Jr., and of course Mikey.

Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul M. Teutul had a very public falling out, which was chronicled on American Chopper. In the Season 6 premiere, Paul Sr. and son had a contentious contract dispute, which led to Paul Jr.’s departure from the company. After a brief reconciliation, Paul Jr. left the OCC for good to explore other opportunities. In later episodes, Paul Jr. was seen working as a consultant at Orange County Choppers.

It has been reported that Paul Sr. sent a letter to Paul Jr. exercising an alleged right to purchase Paul Jr.’s share of the stock he owns in Orange County Choppers since Paul Jr. no longer works there.

Paul Teutul, Sr. claims he had a deal with his son, Paul M. Teutul, in which he could buy his son’s stock from the Orange County Choppers Holdings, Inc. motorcycle company.

The father, who appears on the television show alongside his son, sent Teutul, Jr. a letter saying he would be exercising his right to buy the stock.

Paul Sr. apparently has filed the lawsuit to the Supreme Court of New York; however I have not seen a copy of the lawsuit heretofore. He also filed a suit against Orange County Choppers, Inc.

In the lawsuit, he claimed damages in excess of $1 million and is asking for an order from the judge to force his son to give him the stock.

My take on the situation is this; yes I have watched the show for years. It is better than watching some of the other crap on TV I will tell you that.

I have been a businessman since I was in my 20’s, when I first got venture capital to start Daylight Data Corporation in Los Angeles, and am now running a successful California law firm.

Being successful at business requires management expertise, capital, and luck. It appears to me that Paul Teutul Sr. has been a very successful businessman. He started out installing railings; he worked hard and built his business into a metal manufacturing company, and then started Orange County Choppers. He then used the TV show American Choppers as a marketing vehicle to build his successful business.

There is no doubt that his son really did help with Orange County Choppers, however, in the end, it is the businessman who keeps a company going.

I learned in law school that you never want to represent friends or family because you will never do well enough in their eyes no matter the outcome in a case.

You would think family run businesses would be the easiest to run because of the trust factor. Let me tell you, it takes a special kind of family to stick together to run a business. Unlike other businesses where you can hire and fire at will, it is kind of hard to fire your son, or your brother, etc.

It is a shame that the Teutul’s family business relationship has apparently broken down. My personal take on the situation is that Paul Jr.’s head grew too big for his britches. He designed motorcycles, he started making money, he got the big house, he got the nice looking girlfriend, he obtained fame, etc. He started screwing off at work. Not coming in on time. He became unreliable to his father. Above all, he disrespected his father on national television.

Look, I know full well Paul Sr. is an asshole sometimes. Hell, he and my father would get along well if they were too meet. Paul Sr. did not ask anything more of his son, than a son should give to his father and a family owned business.

Without Paul Sr.’s capital, management expertise, and experience, Orange County Choppers would be a non entity. Motorcycle designers and fabricators are a dime a dozen. Paul Jr. could be, and has been replaced. I think Orange County Choppers are putting out their best motorcycles now.

I think Paul Sr. wants nothing more than to have his sons with him; as sons, not as monsters.

In my honest opinion, Paul Jr. should go to his father, apologize for being an asshole to his father, make amends, and jump back into the family business. Maybe when his money starts to run out he will.

Life is too short and you only get one father in this world. Paul Jr. and Mickey should jump back on the team for the big win, especially for their family.

Good luck to Orange County Choppers in all of their endeavors.

By California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and California Biker Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2010

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Our Motorcycle Accident Law Firm, The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates, are real bikers helping other bikers. Unlike some other so called "fake" motorcycle accident attorney's who do not ride motorcycles, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. actually rides a motorcycle.

We are experts in dealing with motorcycle accident cases.

We handle motorcycle accident cases, motorcycle passenger injury accidents, and other personal injury cases all over the State of California. We are real bikers and motorcycle riders who represent bikers and motorcycle riders who have suffered injuries due to motorcycle accidents and crashes. We handle Motorcycle Accidents, Motorcycle Passenger Accidents, Dangerous Conditions on public roads which cause motorcycle accidents, defective motorcycle cases, Cruiser Motorcycle Accidents, biker rights, criminal law, Car Accidents, Uninsured Motorist Claims, Wrongful Death, Torts, Cager and/or Car negligence, personal injury and Other Injury Cases. We have locations in Southern California and Northern California. We handle personal injury, and motorcycle accident cases in all over California including: Southern California, Central California, and Northern California.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or any other motor vehicle accident, you may call us 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 x. 1, or submit your case online here.