Writer's Ramblings

An Interview with Paul Yaffee

Written by  May 31, 2007

Paul Yaffe has been, and continues to be, an industry leader in not only custom bike building, but also in custom bike parts. Many of the one-off parts Paul has used for his high-end custom bikes have found their way into his ever-growing parts catalog. Diversification has kept Paul Yaffe Originals at the forefront of the motorcycle industry and will continue to do so for many years to come.

CC: How was 2006 for Paul Yaffe Originals?
Paul: 2006 was slow. I think a lot of things in our industry are changing and it was kind of a reorganizing year for us. We woke up to some things we needed to change and changed them, and things are doing awesome now, so we’re back on track.

CC: Your product line continues to be an industry leader. What new products have you got up your sleeve?
Paul: Most of the products that we’re coming out with for late 2007-2008 are for factory OEM bikes. We’re doing a whole lot of stuff with baggers and then a lot of new products for Softails and stuff. We’re really focusing on the after-market stuff for the Harley rider.

CC: With the bikes built for Earnhardt and Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon, do you have any more NASCAR customers coming down the pike?
Paul: I’ve had a couple of phone calls, so we’re not sure, but I haven’t had anybody write me a check yet, but most likely.

CC: You’ve got plenty of corporate customers. Who’s in line right now?
Paul: I do a fish bike every year for this big fish company and just this week we’re finishing the “Shrimp.” We did this giant shrimp bike and it’s going to Chicago and we’ve got a few more of them to do. We’re doing a bike for a recycling company right now, a green bike. It’s going to be made out of all recycled metal. We’ll see how that goes. That might turn out to be really cool.

CC: Have you seen any trends in the Easyriders show this year that interest you at all?
Paul: The bobber thing, I think, hit really hard this year, but I think it went away just as fast. I think people realize those things are really fun to look at, but they’re not any fun to ride. I come to the shows and I just kind of bury myself in work. It’s often I don’t even get the chance to walk around and see all the bikes. So, the trends with the builders are interesting, but I don’t know, for some reason I’m just more focused on building our catalog and building our dealer sales and dealer network. We’re really more interested in volume stuff that pushes the envelope right now.

CC: How much fun was the build-off against Perowitz?
Paul: It was fun. It was a long ride, it was very hot. We had our share of fun. It was a stressful build-off though. I’m glad it’s over. The ride to Sturgis was awesome, as it is every year.

CC: The Easyriders tour bike promises to be a unique scooter like every one you’ve ever done. Have you got a corporate sponsor lined up yet?
Paul: Actually no, we’re hoping to find one. The bike is about half built and some people have called and showed some interest, but we haven’t locked anything up yet, so we’ll see how it goes.

CC: Do you see the custom bike craze slowing down any at all in the next year?
Paul: In my opinion, yes, I do. In my opinion, there are too many people trying to do a lot of the same stuff. There are a just few guys that are really kind of changing the shape of things. I think people are remembering that it’s all about riding too, and I think they’re getting back out on the road, which is fine with me.

Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson