Thus far, 2006 has been a good year for Kim Suter. Once again he hosted a kick-ass party the night before this yearís Easyriders V-Twin Show. KC Creations-built Big Inch Bikes are more popular than ever, and to top it all off, Kim has landed an invitation to participate in the Discovery Channelís Biker Build-Off. Success hasnít spoiled Kim though. After talking to him for a bit you still see the same guy you have always known. Kim at times seems a bit uncomfortable with his celebrity status; I believe that to be a good sign. It shows he doesnít take himself too seriously. Kim continues to be one of the friendliest and most accessible of the Master Builders, and he does Kansas City damn proud.
CC: How was 2005 for KC Creations?
Kim 2005 was a roller coaster year for the entire industry. The first half was real strong and the last half slowed down 25% to 40% in different parts of the country. That is the first slowdown in the V-Twin market in the last 10 years. That was a real eye-opener! But for KC, 2005 was a year of change in many ways. We expanded our paint and fabrication shop to an 11,000 square feet facility located at 6400 Carter in Merriam, Kansas. That was a big help giving Scott and his crew two paint booths and some needed room to work and mainly got the fab guys out of our retail service area with all the grinding and bike building mess. That has allowed the shop to focus on strictly service and repair. 2005 also let us make the jump into building corporate bikes for companies such as Miller Brewing, Price Chopper, along with the KC Chiefs, Alliance Energy, among others. So, all in all, 2005 wasnít bad for KC.
CC: What are you working on in your shop currently?
Kim We are in the process of changing the styling of our Big Inch Bikes production line. We have a new frame design, sheet metal with a new look, and even bigger tires. We seem to be building more high-end bikes recently. I am not really sure why but not really bitching about it.
CC: Have you seen any new trends in this yearís Easyriders tour?
Kim The biggest thing I have noticed is the diversity of bike styles in different parts of the country. California is old school bobbers and choppers, bare bones. The South is more modified stock bikes and the Southeast, such as Charlotte, North Carolina had a large number of flashy, handmade full-blown customs.
CC: What are your thoughts on the new EPA regulations?
Kim I think the industry has become large enough to get the attention of Big Brother. In saying that, I think, as with other regulated businesses I have been involved in, this legislation will be altered, amended , and in some cases rewritten over the next few months and/or years. We are currently working with S&S on their new Ď08 engines to comply with these new rules.
CC: What are your thoughts on the Metric Revolution TV series?
Kim The metric market is huge! And everyone wants a TV show these days. I think soon there will be a huge custom market for metric cruisers. The companies have made some of the bikes a lot easier to customize than they were a few years ago. The issue right now, in my opinion, is the metric bikes depreciate way too fast in value, and with that, wonít bring the money it takes to make them really cool and trick.
CC: What are your thoughts on noise regulations?
Kim As much as I hate to say this and as guilty as I am, the short straight pipes and the riders downshifting at 4000 rpm has pissed off the neighbors. I hope that some careful legislation and riding a little quieter might help some people forget.
CC: Do you think the custom bike craze is slowing down?
Kim I donít think itís slowing down; I think so many new people have gotten into the business that the market is diluted. I would guess the sales of customs, as I see it, is still growing. The mystique of Harley-Davidson is becoming too common and people want something different. The biggest endorsement to custom motorcycles is the number of Harley dealers that are selling or trying to acquire franchises for custom motorcycles. This is something you would have never seen two or three years ago!
CC: Will there be a Biker Build-Off in your future?
Kim We are filming a build-off as I am typing this and I am making the film crew wait on me. Seriously though, this is something I have been waiting a long time for. We are building against the first female builder to be on the series. Not really sure how that happened. I think it will be a great show. We are building a completely new style of bike for us. I canít go into the details but it is cool. The show will air in September or October on Discovery Channel.
Interview and photos by Loney and