Parts design is a collaborative effort between the three guys and they have strived to keep their parts line simple and consistent with what they feel the market is missing or what they would want for their bikes. Sure the brainstorming sessions end up with tons of what they call "becoolifs," you know "it'd be cool if we made this," or "it'd be cool if we did that."
Pop a top!
"We've restrained ourselves on our products. We just want to focus on doing a better job on what we have and make sure we have things in stock we say we have. It's all about practicing discipline when it comes to product development," Bill said. "Products are market needs. We want to focus on products that have limited competition, market appeal, and hopefully multi-decade shelf life," Harold told us. Oh and if you're wondering about that alcohol-powered ignition cover, it's an ignition cover with an oval cut out of the center so in a pinch you can pop open your beer bottle.
On the event side of things, a Biltwell shindig can't even be put on the same scale of comparison of what has become the "typical" Harley event. No vendors, no entry fees, no jerky guy, no leather chaps, and most importantly, no rules! From the El Diablo Runs to the Biltwell Bash and Slab City Riot, at the heart of every Biltwell event are the three Bs; bikes, beer, and brotherhood. It's all about riding to a destination with your buds, throwing out a bed roll when you get there, popping a cold one, and then telling lies and fixing bikes as you reminisce about your journey. No fancy hotels with $300/three night minimums, $75 concert tickets, and $8 Coors. The events are bare bones and nothing but the essentials, much like the majority of the bikes you'll find at the events.
"We want to do free events people are happy to be a part of," Harold said. "We want to put on events where we can under-promise and over-deliver. If we say there is going to be a bonfire at a crack house in the Salton Sea and there might be five kegs, and we deliver a bonfire, a band, and six kegs, we've hit it out of the park! At the end of the day, what makes us happy is seeing 300 people with smiles on their faces having a blast."
The inaugural El Diablo Run was a no-frills-all-thrills trip crossing the SoCal border, weaving down pothole-riddled Mexican roads to San Felipe and Ensenada. A rag tag crew of about 47 people, running everything from hardtailed Sportys to oil-slinging Knuckleheads, blazed the path to a beachside camp resort complete with the requisite warmed-over golden yellow Jose Cuervo that tries to pass as tequila and chilled Mexican beer. The first run was the stuff of legends. So much so that by the second and even more so the third annual ride, word had spread via the Biltwell website and blog that riders from all over the country and even across the pond made arrangements to put their latest builds to the test and tackle the untamed and sometimes unpaved roads of Mexico. By the time the EDR3 had wrapped, the group had gotten so large (about 450 people) and the ride and all the debauchery that went along with was so incredible, the Biltwell team knew it would be tough to surpass it, so it was put on hiatus. "We left on a high note, we left 'em wanting more; lactating strippers, pimps named Jesus, great food, cold beers, cool bikes, dirt track racing, and no arrests. Everything apexed right there," Harold said.
"The EDR3 had reached max capacity for us to guarantee the same good time for say 450 people as it did for the first 47. We always want to exceed expectations," Bill commented.
Through their commitment to provide thought-out and practical parts and offering up no-nonsense, down-and-dirty rides and events that provide just the bare minimum-a starting and ending location with some free music and beer sprinkled in-Biltwell has helped open the eyes of many young people to custom motorcycles. And it's this younger generation of builders and riders who will shape the next progression of the custom motorcycle scene.
Rather than making 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-, and 16-inch apes, Biltwell keeps its handlebar line diverse with its own twist on traditional chopper designs.
Rather than making 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-, and 16-inch apes, Biltwell keeps its handlebar line