Cleveland CycleWerks Updates

Cleveland CycleWerks Misfit

Cleveland CycleWerks Misfit

The Cleveland stop on the IMS tour was this past weekend and I had the chance to talk at some length to Scott Colisimo about his company, Cleveland CycleWerks. It was also the first time I had the opportunity to see the bikes up close, and my impression is they look pretty good. The Heist and Misfit are the models available in the USA right now, while the Ace, already available in many other countries around the world, will be coming to our shores later this year.

The Heist and Misfit are on opposite ends of the spectrum, though both run the same 250cc engine, the low riding cruiser style of the Heist is in complete contrast to the upright, semi cafe style of the Misfit. With prices in the low three thousand dollar range, you're looking at a fun, entry level bike.

Cleveland CycleWerks Heist

Cleveland CycleWerks Heist

We told you the story before about Scott's attempt to build the bikes in the US and all of the troubles he encountered along the way and his eventual move to manufacturing and final assembly in China, a move we've seen far too often made by too many companies, but Scott told me something I was very happy to hear. Just days before the show, they closed on the purchase of a building in Ohio and final assembly of the motorcycles will be set up right here the USA. That's great news for a lot of reasons, but seeing them moving more of the process back here to the US, employing more of the same people they hope will be able to buy the bikes, is a step we would like to see made more often by more companies that have taken their manufacturing elsewhere. A big thumbs up on the move!

While the Cleveland Cyclewerks offerings might not fit everyone's needs, if you're looking for for a fun, inexpensive, entry level machine, you should check them out.

Link: Cleveland Cyclewerks


  1. says

    The product certainly looks good, and I’m very glad to see that they will be able to produce the bikes here in the US and help boost a recovering economy. That’s a really great thing to hear.

    My only concern is with the power train, as it looks very similar to the one used on a Chinese brand bike that I’ve seen retailed in Central PA and have not heard very good reports on.

    No doubt that moving final assembly to the US is a huge step forward though.

    • AlwaysOnTwo says

      A simple reading of the CCW website tells anyone that the motor is a Lifan. The CCW spin is that it is built to their specs (which is possible, the Chinese will tool anything to your least or best expectations) but offers no absolute proof that it isn’t the same cloned engine seen in other low buck bikes.

      There’s the final rub. No matter how you polish and paint it, it’s a low buck bike, and judging from the CCW website (again) it seems squarely aimed at the not-quite-ready-for-a-real-bike owner that just wants a semi-cool looking after school machine.

      • Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

        The engine is built by Lifan, it’s been modified to include air injection which cleans up the exhaust and, though I don’t recall the exact numbers Scott told me, the failure rate has been extremely low.

        As I said in the article, it isn’t for everyone, but it might be ideal for some entry level riders and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

        • says

          Lifan was the company that was having the problems here in the mid state. No matter how they tool it or build it, when the entire exhaust falls off a motorcycle (the studs pulled straight out of the head) as it’s being ridden, it’s a stigma that’s a bit tough to remove from one’s mind.

          I wish these guys the best, I hope they can bring power train development to the US in the near future.

          • todd says

            I’ve had head studs pull out of BMW and Honda heads. I’m sure those aren’t the only ones either. My Ducati rattled its exhaust nuts off too but luckily the studs are still there.

            This just tells me they need to give the guy in exhaust assembly a torque wrench.


  2. Tin Man 2 says

    Just going on looks, I,d like the Misfit, looks like a nice little standard bike. It would be nice to see it manufactured here, but our people need more than a dollar a day to live on. Assembling the bike here is better than nothing.

  3. HoughMade says

    That Misfit is right up my alley. It looks like a nice little bike and I hope the Chinese engineers took good notes when they copied that old Honda engine design (that’s not a criticism, just the facts). For me, at 500ccs, I’d be looking, but not at 250ccs. But something tells me they aren’t going for 6’3″, 230#, 40+ year old riders. For the younger, less well healed, smaller rider, it looks like a decent option.

    • Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

      Shhh, don’t tell anyone I told you, but there is a 500 single in development. Of course, getting it approved by the EPA is a long process.

      • David Duarte says

        I love the Misfit, but I’d like it much better with a 500. I have a 74 CB200 that I commute to work on. I love it, but it is not very powerful to say the least. A 500 would fit the bill nicely.

    • JP says

      They didn’t take notes, they literally took the designs with them when they “changed their mind” on the “partnership” with Honda. (Honda didn’t quite read all of the fine fine print it seems) but they have had to tweak those designs some since.

      There was a nice 60 something Honda Cub with Honda’s Sport kit for sale here in DFW some time back and the engine in the frame was one of Lifan’s 125cc clones and the bike would top 70mph. The original 65cc was restored and came with the bike if one wanted to bring it back to it’s old glory.

  4. todd says

    I’ve been waiting to hear updates on the Vento (or PTS Motors) 400 triple cafe. The last I heard they told me in 2009 that it was going in production mid-2010 and would be available in the US. That would be a bit more up my alley. I just sent another message to them asking for an update.


  5. Tom says

    Suzuki has their GZ250 MSRP’ed two hundred bucks lower than these bikes. CCW dealers will have to sticker these bikes at no more than about $2300 OTD to get them to move. Is there that kind of margin built in the price structure?

    • HoughMade says

      The GZ250 is a fine bike, but it’s a mini cruiser. The Misfit buyer is more likely to want a standard like the TU250X (a nice bike), but there is a price advantage for the CCW with that bike. Is $800 enough? I don’t know, but at this price point, perhaps. The cruiser style Heist is more directly comparable to the GZ250, but the Heist looks more custom and more “bad boy” (if, indeed, a 250 can be “bad boy”). However, you make an excellent point as as much as I want CCW to succeed, they would have to really have a price advantage for me to leave behind the reputation of reliability of the big 4.

  6. Rider says

    Assembly in the U.S. – even if only partial at first – is at least good step forward. Don’t forget that many other companies get most if not all their components from asia, assemble them in the U.S. and slap a “made in the USA” sticker on. (Including one rapidly growing and innovative motorcycle company.) CCW is at least very honest and straightforward about the product and let’s the buyer decide for themselves if they want to own one.

    I finally got to see both models up close last week and I think they look pretty good. Last year at a NE Ohio flat track event there was an “open” class and the CCW guy ran his ‘ACE’ prototype in it. It was him vs. about 6 or 7 Harley big twins and he came in 3rd. That was fairly impressive.

  7. B50 Jim says

    There was a time when 250 ccs was a respectable size engine; 500 was getting into “big” territory and a 650 was almost more than a mere mortal could handle. We’re talking English and European bikes. At $3K it would be a nice entry-level bike or commuter, but if the quality is anything like some Chinese clone bikes I’ve seen in non-bike-dealer retailers that also sell car parts, I’d give it a pass. From 10 feet away they appear OK, but get up close and the cheapness is apparent; looking like an enlarged child’s bicycle with a fake engine bolted in. While I applaud Cleveland for assembling them here, the parts still are made in China and will be as cheap or good as Cleveland wants to pay for.

    However, if they succeed and sell the bikes, they can offer some input into the engine’s design for better durability. The problem of exhaust studs pulling out was addressed by the English and 2-stroke builders in direct fashion years ago — simply do away with studs and bolts, bore the exhaust port to provide a slip fit for the pipe and allow the pipe’s mounting bolts to hold the pipe in place. Add small tabs for hardware-store springs to hold the pipe to the head for extra security, and the pipe will never fall off.

    Good luck, Cleveland!

  8. Rob says

    If the quality is good, the price becomes less of an issue. If the quality is bad $3000 will sink it like a stone.

  9. says

    I have been a proud CCW tha Heist owner since April 2011 and have well over 7000 miles clocked on my ride. The motor and exhaust setup have been fine and the bike pulls great.

    the reason for buying the Heist was that its been years since I road and i wanted something to get my feet back under me. its a lot better looking than most machines in its same class, this is a full size bike that is a lot f fun to ride.

    Don’t let the 250cc tag fool you I have taken the bike on the interstate and on 300+ mile runs and she holds her own. I will be riding my heist “tha Widow” down to Daytona this year. its 1150 mile rune from my town in NJ to Daytona FL. I have full trust in my ride because I maintain it.

  10. misfit rider says

    Like Gardo, I’m the proud owner of a 2012 Tha misfit, just under 1000 on the clock. I have not had any problems at all, in fact she is easy to maintain and a blast to ride. Whenever I fill up or park just about anywhere I have guys that used to ride CBs, Indians and Nortons back in the 60s and 70s come up and talk shop. She really is an eye catcher. My only complaint is that the chinese duro tires that come standard gotta go asap. Slap some real rubber on there Clevland!

  11. Richard says

    See I love the look of the heist and misfit but at 6′ I think I might look to big on them. Scott is a great guy and I have all but respect for the man but he is short and it seems he built them to fit him.