Writer's Ramblings

An Interview with Aaron Greene

Written by  April 30, 2005

Aaron Green took time at this year’s Easyriders V-Twin Bike Show to answer a few questions. The thing that struck me right away about Aaron was his intelligence. All one needs to do is listen to him for a few minutes to understand he belongs where he is. His love of design goes hand-in-hand with his respect for motorcycles. While soft spoken, he has very important things to say. Special thanks go to Aaron’s assistant Dante for all his help with logistics, as well as being a cool guy to hang with. Remember his name—you’ll be reading about him soon. Mark my words.

CC: Is there anything new and exciting under construction in your shop for this summer?
Aaron: Well, for the summer, I gotta lot going on in the shop besides the production bikes. There are actually two new models of production bikes that we just nailed out. Besides that, I have the soft rigid chassis, which I am nailing out and releasing to everybody this summer. And then in the custom world, I’ve got a couple of projects under my belt. One is for some potential TV stuff that’s coming up. Some other stuff is just some ideas that I’ve had that I haven’t got to finish up. I’ve got this Vrod chop I’ve been doing for probably 2-1/2 years that I’ve gotta get finished up. A real radical Vrod, cut it up tremendously, changing it around, but some of those projects, I’m hoping this summer, I’ll get all finished up with and get them out on the road rollin’ around.

CC: Who, if anybody, is the biggest influence on your building style?
Aaron: Man, that’s a hard question. I can’t say I looked for a tremendous amount of influence within our industry in what I’m doing. I’d say most of my influence for a lot of the stuff that I come up with comes from my hot rod car background. I grew up in a town that is heavily into hot rod cars. We hold one of the biggest runs in the nation for hot rod cars. I’ve been restoring and building hot rod cars since I was 14 years old. I love drag racing, I run a 9.90 pro street car, and I definitely pull a lot of ideas and a lot of different things from the full drag race part of the old 50s and 60s into my bikes. I definitely like that. You’ll see that influence on the Easyriders Centerfold bike. There’s no doubt about that.

CC: With Avon making a 360 tire now, do you think they’re as wide as they’re going to get, or are we going to get wider?
Aaron: I don’t think we’re going to get any wider. I can tell you we sit on the board of the Motorcycle Industry Council, and a couple of other committees where we are kind of getting to the point where we’re going to limit how wide we end up getting on the tires due to safety reasons. We could go as wide as some people could ride the bike, and some people couldn’t, but there’s no doubt about it, the 360 is pushing the envelope for a real ridable bike and a real ridable tire. We might get some crazy guy or manufacturer trying to sell something wider than that, but I can tell you as a trained manufacturer, real close with a lot of different companies, S&S, different people like that, they are going to start limiting what they feel even comfortable that they sell people motors for to put in bikes, because the liability really lies on some of us that produce some of the products, the chassis, the motors that go in the chassis, and everything like that. Although we can produce something that works and rides, the characteristics of it compared to most average motorcycles are drastically different, so to get over a 360 tire, the bike is very slow, very slow to roll off center. You can get them to corner and everything like that, but it does take more room, and it takes a whole different skill level to really ride that bike effectively down the road. So I would say you’re going to see not only for liability and safety reasons-wise, but for the overall look. I mean the 360 is way out there. It’s a radical style. We’ve got one of the 360s that we produced, and I probably currently am one of the only people that manufacture a chassis that houses the 360, but I don’t see it really going much wider than that. We could do it, but I don’t see where it’s going to be worth it at all.

CC: Are there any biker build-offs in your future?
Aaron: Yes, I actually was supposed to film one last year. They called me and wanted me to film one in June. I had too much stuff going on in June to do it. My brother was having a little boy and I had so much we were shipping. I was shipping 20 bikes a month right in the middle of the summer, which that is our season where we’ve gotta crank everything out when we’re jamming away. The Discovery Channel had called in June and wanted me to be in last year’s season, but I had too much stuff going on, so I passed on the deal, but I was just down there in Vegas and talked to Hugh and there’s a lot of future things. I’m working with Billy on a project of his coming up that should be on the Discovery Channel, and I know we’re supposed to get the green light on next year’s season in the next 30 days.

CC: Holding three United States mechanical patents speaks volumes to your abilities. Are there any new innovations up your sleeve that we haven’t seen yet?
Aaron: Yeah, there always is. Just like my soft rigid chassis, I really try to keep everything on the hush-hush though. My soft rigid chassis, that’s a seven-year-old chassis. I didn’t let anybody know what the hell I was doing until it was patented and done and locked up. There’s a lot of things that you will see in the future coming out of us. By no means am I someone that kind of just is in the industry to hang out. I am in the industry to advance the industry and advance the mechanical mechanisms and the technology and everything that we’re rolling into bikes. One thing I really try to do is I roll some of the radical stuff that you will see on the $100,000 motorcycles. We try to roll those directly into our production bikes that are at a reasonable level, you know, 29-35 grand, and so with that, we really try to tie in both the areas—the full blown customs and then tie them into a production bike that everybody can afford, and constantly want to push that, constantly want to push the edge of what more can we put in the bikes, what new things can we do, what handling characteristics can we correct, what are all the things we can address in the bike. Because fundamentally, I understand motorcycles tremendously, so it’s not like we throw things at these bikes to get them done. We engineer them from nothing to done, and we will always keep perfecting that and pushing that forward as the years go on.

CC: It’s no secret that you helped Billy Lane on his Down and Dirty Biker Build-off bike. Would he have won the build-off without copying your HCH tank?
Aaron: Oh, I gotta say Billy would have won, no matter what, cause Billy is a very talented guy. I am fortunate enough to be good friends with Billy and know Billy for a long time. I helped him a tremendous amount on that build-off and everything like that, even for us to get it done so we could beat Mr. Perewitz here in the final deal, which we did do. It was very, very fun deal and by any way Billy can look for a little inspiration, that’s great. There’s no doubt about it—I look for inspiration from him. He’s one of the most hustlin’, go-getting guys in the industry and he makes a lot of shit happen, so I’m glad to at least be one of his friends and work with him on a lot of different projects. We’ve got the Blood, Sweat and Gears we’re doing right now and it’s great to work just hand in hand with him.

CC: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Aaron: I’d love to see myself on some island chillin’ on a beach. That’s what I’d love. No matter what, I’ll always be involved in the motorcycle industry. I’ve had a passion for motorcycles since before I can even remember. I don’t remember why or anything like that, but as a kid, that’s all I ever wanted and wanted to be around and do. So there’s no doubt about it. I will always be in this industry. That’s why we don’t just sit around in this industry. That’s why we come up with patentable items and constantly are advancing the technology and innovating and creating new things for the industry, because in 20 years I don’t want to be one of those guys that just chilled in the industry and hung out. I want to be one of those who was known for trying to change the industry.

Interview and photos by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson