Scott Colosimo, from Cleveland CycleWerks, sent me a note a short while ago and thought we might be interested in his company. His idea is to build a "working man's motorcycle," something built with quality but priced low enough that the average working guy can buy one without breaking the bank.
Scott is from Cleveland, Ohio, and he tells me he tried to build the bike there but he couldn't get the support he was looking for and manufacturers he talked to shied away from motorcycles due to liability concerns. So, after designing the bikes and with plans in hand he arranged for contract manufacturing in China to make the bikes a reality.
The bike shown above is called the Misfit, a 250cc standard that looks pretty interesting. It doesn't seem to be available just yet but pricing is in the $2399 to $2499 range.
The Heist is a 250cc bobber, with a 125cc version available in Europe and there's even a 50cc model available worldwide. The 250cc model is $2999, definitely affordable for almost anyone. I can appreciate what he's built here and if the quality is as high as he says, then it offers a wallet friendly way of buying something new.
There are some other models offered, or coming soon, and a few drawings of what appear to be future planned models. The Hooligan is a 250cc Motard coming soon, another called the Cleveland Hustla, the Mutiny, a hardtail plus 2 upcoming models, a cafe and a muscle bike.
Many of us have seen the quality of inexpensive Chinese bikes and that concern is going to be in the back of anyone's mind when looking at a bike at this price point, but Scott assures me, quality is high on his list of requirements and these bikes meet his demand for a high quality and low price motorcycle. Of course, many manufacturers, including the Japanese big four, are building bikes in China themselves, so this should be a lesser concern in the future. Time will tell as our experience with these bikes increases.
I'm disappointed that someone from Cleveland found it so hard to build something like this at home, especially since the number of welders and machinists in the area isn't trivial, not to mention shops that could handle the work. If his attempts to make it work here were as difficult as he says, that's not a good sign, though I don't know all of the details of what those difficulties actually were. When someone in a manufacturing region in the US has to get this sort of bike built in China, I just have to shake my head.
At any rate, the bikes look pretty decent, not a high end custom, but definitely an affordable "working man's bike" and a nice effort on Scott's part to get something built rather than dreaming and doing nothing and for that, he certainly deserves credit. Good job, Scott.
Here's the Cleveland CycleWerks press release:
Cleveland CycleWerks stems from the truest definition of “entrepreneurial sprit:” the American idea that if you have a dream, passion and drive you can achieve it.
CCW was the vision of Scott Colosimo, a dream that began at age 15 and stemmed from his fascination and love for building custom bikes. As he grew, Scott honed his design skills in Automotive design in Cleveland, Detroit, Germany and Slovakia and was assured by many that he had the ambition and talent to do something bigger. Developing motorcycles continued to be his most passionate hobby. Scott’s favorite accomplishments were designing and building custom bikes.
Scott studied transportation design at the Cleveland Institute of Art and worked in various industrial design roles throughout his professional career.
It wasn’t until winter, 2009 when Scott took his dream of building bikes full-time, seriously. One night, he found himself in a bar with his friend and colleague, Jarrod Streng, depressed, frustrated and unemployed. Scott and Jarrod had been laid off for the first time in their careers and the thought was sobering. They both discussed their true passions, which didn’t have anything to do with their previous job of designing, developing and manufacturing vacuums. Scott explained his idea of building custom, modern bikes with old-school design at a reasonable cost; much like his own bobber which cost him under $5,000 not $30,000 and was admired by everyone who saw it.
Jarrod, who had entrepreneurial aspirations himself, believed in Scott’s vision and put a business plan in place as well as the funding to create 30 bikes. With this, CCW’s design house was born at a friend’s garage in Ashland, Ohio, as Scott began hand fabricating the first prototypes.
However, when it came to producing the bikes, Jarrod and Scott hit many roadblocks on their quest to manufacture in Cleveland, Ohio. They contacted investors, government agencies and every city organization they could find. Unfortunately they were turned away and told they had a lack of experience, knowledge or that they were just plain crazy. But with determination, the partners were able to encourage one investor to take a risk on CCW, and that was Curtis Ray. Curtis had strong manufacturing relationships in China and developed a strategy to manufacture the bike in a trusted facility.
Scott began limited production while living in rural China for six months. During this time he developed a manufacturing process with quality control measures that is currently ready to support mass production. With continued time in China over the last 14 months, Scott has successfully implemented a low cost, flexible production strategy.
Cleveland CycleWerks debuted their first bike, “tha Heist,” in February 2010 at the Indianapolis Dealer Expo to much industry praise and dealer interest. Jarrod and Scott are beginning worldwide distribution for CCW in April 2010 where they will provide custom bikes for all and fulfill Scott’s dream in the process.
Link: Cleveland CycleWerks