Rides, Rallies and Events Recap
Staff

Staff

Papa Clutch Customs is a small-town motorcycle shop with big-time plans. Located in tiny Ainsworth, Papa Clutch is Iowa’s only dealership for Sucker Punch Sally’s factory custom old-school motorcycles with bobber and chopper styling. In fact the only other SPS dealerships in the center section of the United States are in Denver, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. According to Tim Anding who co-owns the business with his wife, Dana, the plan is to sell 30 bikes this year.

Sucker Punch Sally’s began building motorcycles in their Scottsdale, Arizona, manufacturing facility in 2002. Their aim is to produce the best stripped-down bobbers and choppers at the most reasonable prices. Two of their models, the Traditional and the 66 Bobber, received industry awards for 2007. In addition, the line now includes the Slim, the Swinger (the only model with a swing-arm frame), the Sled, and the Hot Rod. Engines from Harley-Davidson, RevTech, and S&S ranging in size from 81.6 to 100 cubic inches are available. Buyers can mix and match such options as front suspension (springer available), wheels and tires, exhaust systems, seats, handlebars, transmissions, paint, and other accessories to personalize every bike.

According to Tim, Sucker Punch Sally’s motorcycles are in the same price range as the major production bikes such as Harley-Davidson, but each one is custom-built from the ground up to suit the personal taste of the owner. “You’re never going to be at a stop light and see your twin pull up next to you.” Papa Clutch Customs will keep about ten SPS bikes on the showroom floor.

Also, Tim plans for the shop to produce its own line of custom-built choppers at a rate of about two or three each year. But selling motorcycles is not the only focus of this business. Customer service and motorcycle maintenance are also priorities. Papa Clutch has parts available from several after-market distributors and can quickly obtain most required parts to repair or maintain any brand of motorcycle. Kevin Rose who heads the Maintenance Department is well known and respected by area motorcyclists. The Andings love American V-twins, but they don’t belittle anyone who rides an import. The mechanics at Papa Clutch are ready and willing to service anything that rolls in on two wheels.

The store has a comfortable atmosphere, built into the freshly remodeled Ainsworth Bank. The custom bikes share showroom space with racks of motorcycle clothing and magazines. It’s the kind of place where you would expect to find good people working hard to satisfy their customers and living their dreams. And that’s exactly what you will find at Papa Clutch Customs.

So wadda ya do when the zipper breaks on your leather jacket or that snap at the bottom of your chaps finally gives out? Do you try fixing it yourself before giving up and trudging down to the local leather store to shell out a few hundred dollars for some new duds? If you're made out of money, that may be an option; however, for those of us who aren't so lucky, or are sentimentally attached to those old leathers that have protected us for thousands of miles in the saddle and are just starting to get broken in, it's nice to know you have a better and far less expensive option. Just pick up the phone and call Betty 'Boop' Ford at Starz Custom Leathers & More in Independence, Missouri.

Over the years I've sought out Betty's expertise on numerous occasions, such as when the stitching came apart on my leather saddlebags. Naturally, this happened just a few days before getting ready to head to Sturgis, so I thought I was probably out of luck, but the stars (or rather the Starz) must have been aligned, because while talking to Betty on the phone, she reassured me it shouldn't be a problem and to run them by and she'd be happy to take a look. Not only did she get me in right away, but being a fellow biker and knowing I was in somewhat of a predicament, she fixed them right there while I waited. Now that's what I call service! That's also when I told Betty that someday I'd like to interview her for our magazine and share my experience with our readers. A few weeks ago I finally had that opportunity while dropping off my girlfriend's leather purse for Betty to repair.

CC: Betty, how did you get into the leather repair business?
Betty: My husband Bob 'Soulman' Ford and I had started riding in 2000 and we needed a snap replaced on a jacket. We couldn't find anyone to fix it, and since I've sewn since high school and I knew I could do repairs myself, I started doing small repairs for our family who ride with us and realized I needed to start getting paid for this service. I customized my leathers with stars and lots of white fringe, and more and more people wanted alterations and custom work. We made up business cards and started going to every motorcycle event we could to pass them out. It took a while, but I now have many customers who have become friends, and I love what I do.

CC: How long have you been in business, and have you always worked out of your home?
Betty: I started my official business in 2002, and I now have four sewing machines and a commercial embroidery machine. I love working from home. As business picked up, we thought of getting a small shop somewhere, but I needed to have some flexibility to take care of my dad, and we like to ride whenever possible. This way I have the best of both worlds.

CC: Since you work out of your home, do you keep normal business hours?
Betty: I try to be available at my customer's convenience. I'm available days and evenings or weekends by appointment. Just give me a call and we'll arrange a time to meet.

CC: How did you come up with the name Starz Custom Leather & More?
Betty: It was easy to pick the name Starz, because my maiden name was Starr, and it just worked out great.

CC: What all services do you offer?
Betty: I do leather alterations on jackets, chaps, vests, or whatever you need done. I can do snap repairs, replace zippers, replace linings, and replace eyelets. I can make you that one-of-a-kind embroidered patch, such as a special nickname patch, and can also make patches for your club's special ride. I also make leather tank and fender bibs, all with embroidery. I've done everything from home decor in a log home in Kansas to making a leather tuxedo. If you have something that needs done, I will do my best to make it for you.

CC: What makes your business stand out in your industry?
Betty: One thing I offer my customers is to make them one individual patch, small or large, and I can make many patches. I have no quantity requirements. I strive to do my repairs as quickly as possible and I always want you to be satisfied or I'll make it right for you.

CC: Where do most of your customers come from?
Betty: Most of my customers come from word of mouth and recommendations from local leather shops.

CC: How do you keep your customers coming back?
Betty: I think doing quality work and getting things done quickly has helped. Also, most of my customers have become close friends.

CC: Do you offer any specials or promotions?
Betty: I do offer quantity discounts.

CC: What was the biggest obstacle in starting your business?
Betty: My biggest obstacle was learning to work with and stitch leather. There just weren't many resources around. Most of what I do, I taught myself.

CC: What is the biggest change in business you've seen the past few years?
Betty: I'm doing more patches and leather repair these days and less leather customization.

CC: What do you and your husband ride?
Betty: My husband Bob has a 2006 Polar White Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and I have a 2004 Suzuki Volusia. I started riding my own in 2004 and love it. If you see a white bike with lots of white fringe and leather added to it, then it's me.

CC: Being a biker yourself, what is the biggest change you've seen in the past few years in regards to motorcycling?
Betty: I love seeing more women riding their own bikes. And I see much more acceptance for us women riders.

CC: Do you participate in bike shows or other motorcycle events?
Betty: I don't do many events anymore, because it's hard to transport my sewing machine all around, and we like to spend our weekends riding and having fun.

CC: Do you sponsor or participate in local charity rides and events?
Betty: I set up and sew at the Bikers with a Mission Ride at the City Union Mission every year. I also support Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.).

CC: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your business?
Betty: My goal is 100% customer satisfaction by offering quality service and affordable prices.

So there you have it! For all your leather repair, customization, and embroidery needs, call Betty 'Boop' Ford at (816) 796-9817 or (816) 550-4807. You can also contact her via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and make sure to check out her website at www.starzleather.com.

By Mike Schweder

Ozark Leather Shop is a family owned and operated business owned by Dave and Donna on 1503 S. 3rd St. in Ozark, Missouri. The family has owned the business since its inception in 1995. Starting out as a trade show vendor, they have morphed into a motorcyclist’s specialty shop with just about anything a motorcyclist could want apparel-wise, all under one roof.

Specializing in leather apparel, you could not ask for more bang for the buck. Excellent products with excellent service are the standard for Dave and Donna. They take great pride in being able to offer services such as custom fitting and sewing of leather apparel while you wait. Need a set of chaps adjusted to fit the little lady that is proud of her new diet results? It can be done. Dave’s motto is, “If you weigh between 50 and 450, we can put a set of chaps on you.” Jackets are stocked in men’s sizes up to 64, some up to size 68. Supersize me please! They cater to the big boys. Women’s jackets are stocked from XS-5XL, for the full-figured ladies. Vests are in stock in numerous styles and sizes for men, women and children. Chaps and jackets are also available for children. All of Ozark Leather’s jackets have removable liners, and pricing is very reasonable, usually starting under $100. Ozark Leather also carries footwear by Milwaukee Leather in large quantities, with sizes in a lot of their styles on hand. Chaps start at $59. Ozark Leather does not sell the patchwork chaps or jackets; they only sell premium grade leather. They also do not sell the split-leather products.

Ozark Leather stocks approximately 270 different patches on hand, with over 30,000 in inventory. They are factory direct, so that keeps the prices low and the quality high. Vets, if you are looking for something that no one else may seem to have, this is the shop you may want to check out. Over 95% of their patches and apparel can be viewed online, so if you are one of those people like me who like to buy stuff on the Net, this is your one-stop biker shop. Dave and Donna like to cater to lots of different types of people, from the Christian-based groups to the vets. Your average Joe or club member will feel at ease dealing with anyone at this facility. Sewing on patches is not a problem, and can be done while you wait.

Ozark Leather also carries helmets, saddle bags, vest extenders, sunglasses and goggles, carry-on baggage, gloves, wallets, etc., and the list goes on and on. One of the best things about a business like this is that they are constantly shipping out items to all over the country, so you don’t have to wait for an order to go out like you will at some outfits. Ninety-eight percent of all orders received before 3 p.m. CST, are shipped the same day. If Ozark Leather does not stock what you want, they can get it. They pride themselves on it.

Now, for all of you who are wondering why I didn’t put Dave or Donna’s last name in here, it is because they feel that if you can’t do business on a first name basis, they have no business being in business. Customer service is that serious to them. They want you to have faith in their products, their prices, and above all, their customer service. So next time you are looking for that right vest or jacket, give them a call or check them out online. They promise you, you will not find a better bargain!

By Jim Austin

February 29, 2008

March 2008






An Interview with Chris Cofield of CC Custom Graphics


By Dave Miller


Watching a professional auto body technician, you soon realize this is not a trade everyone can do. When it comes to giving an award winning paint job at a very reasonable price, you can rest assured that individual is right here in the great state of Missouri. Just five short years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Cofield with CC Custom Graphics. At that time I had a special idea in mind when trying to a few things on the Cycle Connections Ninja. Ever since the first time I met him, Chris has truly amazed me by his quality and craftsmanship. We all have had minor oops when it comes to our motorcycles, and when you have decided to change the stock color of your bike or car, do you open the yellow pages? No, you probably turn to your buddy and ask them who they recommend.

On numerous occasions my friends have asked me who I think is the best painter in the KC area, and although there are several good painters here in the Midwest that truly deserve bragging rights, I still refer them to Chris. I consider these individuals artists rather than simple painters and body men. I have been to many bike shows and have been in the motorcycle industry since 1989, and I am especially judgmental when it comes to sportbike paint jobs. And on this subject, sportbikes require lots more patience then most realize because of all the parts and pieces that have to be painted and matched perfectly, which what you are trying to achieve when you have your stocker repainted. I am no different when it comes to a good quality job and something that just “pops” to look at. Chris has just upgraded his facility and spared no expense when it comes to his equipment so he can give his talent and his professionalism to his new customers and loyal repeat clients.


...(read full article)













Smokin’ Guns BBQ & Catering - North Kansas City, Missouri


By Mike Schweder


Ay, There’s the Rub — With Sauce on the Side Celebrating Five Years of Smokin’ Guns BBQ & Catering

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Shakespeare’s Hamlet talks “rub,” he means “problem.” When Smokin’ Guns BBQ & Catering talks “rub,” the only problem is deciding whether to eat those ribs with or without the sauce. The rub is that good.

It has been five years since Smokin’ Guns opened its doors at 1218 Swift Ave., but the rubs were already famous. They had helped owners Phil and Linda Hopkins take the grand champion title at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbeque Contest, in 1999. Today their rubs are for sale in their restaurant, on the Internet and at specialty stores across the country.

...(read full article)















Ay, There’s the Rub — With Sauce on the Side Celebrating Five Years of Smokin’ Guns BBQ & Catering

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Shakespeare’s Hamlet talks “rub,” he means “problem.” When Smokin’ Guns BBQ & Catering talks “rub,” the only problem is deciding whether to eat those ribs with or without the sauce. The rub is that good.

It has been five years since Smokin’ Guns opened its doors at 1218 Swift Ave., but the rubs were already famous. They had helped owners Phil and Linda Hopkins take the grand champion title at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbeque Contest, in 1999. Today their rubs are for sale in their restaurant, on the Internet and at specialty stores across the country.

Business has been good at Smokin’ Guns from the day the 50-seat restaurant opened on January 27, 2003. Phil and his father had gutted Buck’s Koffee Kup, a diner that had been around since the 1940s, and redone it from front to back. Now, in addition to the large Jack Daniel’s Invitational trophy on the wood-paneled south wall, the place is festooned with blue, red, yellow, green and purple ribbons, the winnings from the 20+ competitions Phil and Linda take part in each year.

From the beginning, Smokin’ Guns, which is also the name Linda and Phil compete under, has been a family affair. In addition to helping with construction, Phil’s father has also made deliveries and helped out around the restaurant. Phil and Linda’s son Kevin works there every day, doing whatever needs to be done. Three of Phil’s sisters have pitched in at one time or another, along with two of Linda’s nieces and her nephew. Linda’s mother, Mary, also works at the restaurant twice a week.

Clearly, the Hopkins’ enthusiasm for their craft and their business is infectious, and it shows. “I get to live a dream,” Phil says. “I get up every day and cook barbeque and see people. Every day is a good day.”

The restaurant is open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, so it draws a lot of its trade from people who work in the area. But Smokin’ Guns’ reputation has spread. Its clientele now includes area politicians, a local chief of police and a city attorney, along with visitors who follow the savory scent of slow-cooked beef, pork and poultry carried across the Missouri River from downtown Kansas City, Crown Center and points even farther south. Phil and Linda plan a week-long celebration in March to mark their five years in business. No doubt they’ll serve up a few pounds of barbeque, along with some of Linda’s award-winning desserts. It will be a celebration of family, friends and community as well as an anniversary. Proceeds from the event will go to help the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, as a way of spreading their good fortune to others.

And, also without doubt, their guests will sit at the checkered-cloth tables and struggle with the same decision: “To sauce or not to sauce.” Because that is the question.

Contact: Michael Gregg
816.214.9044
816.589.8393
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photos by Mike Schweder and Stripe

Watching a professional auto body technician, you soon realize this is not a trade everyone can do. When it comes to giving an award winning paint job at a very reasonable price, you can rest assured that individual is right here in the great state of Missouri. Just five short years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Cofield with CC Custom Graphics. At that time I had a special idea in mind when trying to a few things on the Cycle Connections Ninja. Ever since the first time I met him, Chris has truly amazed me by his quality and craftsmanship. We all have had minor oops when it comes to our motorcycles, and when you have decided to change the stock color of your bike or car, do you open the yellow pages? No, you probably turn to your buddy and ask them who they recommend.

On numerous occasions my friends have asked me who I think is the best painter in the KC area, and although there are several good painters here in the Midwest that truly deserve bragging rights, I still refer them to Chris. I consider these individuals artists rather than simple painters and body men. I have been to many bike shows and have been in the motorcycle industry since 1989, and I am especially judgmental when it comes to sportbike paint jobs. And on this subject, sportbikes require lots more patience then most realize because of all the parts and pieces that have to be painted and matched perfectly, which what you are trying to achieve when you have your stocker repainted. I am no different when it comes to a good quality job and something that just “pops” to look at. Chris has just upgraded his facility and spared no expense when it comes to his equipment so he can give his talent and his professionalism to his new customers and loyal repeat clients.

Recently, the show “Extreme Home Makeover” featured Chris’ work for one of the families that were in dire need of his craftsmanship and style. ABC contacted Chris and asked him to do some special work and they were under a deadline, which meant everything had to be done quickly and perfect, which is exactly what Chris does. He was able to complete the job and kept his promise, which were used in one of the kid’s bedrooms. The work not only reflected his style, but also showed the world how much talent we have here in the Midwest when it comes to custom painting and helping those in need.

I have been blessed by so many great friends in this industry and I am no different when word of mouth is passed out on a conversation about a quality technician or painter. Chris can do both from tearing down your motorcycle and paint the items you want to be completely one-off where your bike will be a true one-of-a-kind. Chris has painted many of the cover bikes we have shot for our covers, and to go back and see these bikes in one of the local bike shows is a true honor to his work. Chris really has a vision when it comes to his art, and I especially enjoy the skulls he paints; His paint jobs are as good, if not better than most of the paint jobs you see on the bike build television shows.

The About Us page on Chris’ web site says it best: CC Custom Graphics is a growing company in the custom paint and graphics industry. We specialize in airbrushed artwork, graphic designs, and show quality finishes primarily for any make and model of motorcycle. We also offer 'turn-key' disassembly and reassembly service. We do a lot of work for one-off custom chopper builders, auto body shops, bike service shops and dealerships, automotive custom paint shops, and countless individuals. We're located in Kansas City, Missouri, right in the heart of the country, so shipping from anywhere won't be a problem. We use only the finest automotive refinish materials available, our turnaround time is excellent, we totally dig what we do, and guarantee our work. So, if you want the highest quality custom paint job for your bucks, Custom Paint That Rocks!, you found the right place!

CC: Chris, what are your normal business hours?
Chris: Typically 9-6 Monday-Friday, but we accommodate those who work late or only have the weekend available. We have an “open door” policy, but you’ll need to call first to make sure I’m here.
CC: So what do you ride?
Chris: I have a 2000 Harley-Davidson Night Train.
CC: Do you work alone or do you employee others?
Chris: I normally work along; however, depending on the workload, Bryan Jones sometimes helps me out. He’s great at bodywork, fabrication, and is considered a sculptor extraordinaire.
CC: You have a incredible shop here, but where did CC Custom Graphics get its start?
Chris: I started in a small garage behind my old house. We bought a new place in the county and I rented space in an industrial park for a year. I recently built a new shop here on our new residence property, and moved in back in August of 2007.
CC: Why did you pick this location instead of moving into a commercial building? Chris: It made the most sense, because of the price of a commercial facility, if I could even find something suitable. I was able to custom build a state-of-the-art facility on my own property for a fraction of what I would have spent to outfit a commercial space that I wouldn’t even own.
CC: So what makes your business stand out from your competition?
Chris: We’ve really stepped up our game in this industry. We have several clients that have won best-paint awards in local and national bike shows. We use only the best finish materials available so our overall finish quality is second to none.
CC: What was your biggest obstacle in starting your business?
Chris: As usual, the expense. It takes a lot of money to get any business rolling. Obtaining clientele wasn’t easy either. A lot of people and shops already have a painter, and it’s difficult to get people to deviate from what they’re accustomed to. Once they’ve seen what we’re capable of, they’ll use us.
CC: What is the biggest change in business you have seen in the past few years?
Chris: Well, it was an explosion in the custom market, but lately things have really tightened up, I guess because of the economy. As a whole, people don’t seem to have as much expendable income as they did just a few years ago.
CC: How do you keep your customer's coming back?
Chris: We have a lot of repeat customers. I shoot straight and do the best job I can. Most of my clients become friends in one form or another.
CC: Do you advertise, and if so what sources do you use?
Chris: Cycle Connections, of course! I gave up on print because it’s too expensive for the return you get. It may work for some businesses but you can’t beat referrals. You also see our work at the bike shows, and that’s one of the best form of advertisement.
CC: Do you participate in bike shows or other motorcycle events?
Chris: Vendor space at shows tends to go beyond our budget for now, but we are increasing our participation at various events this year. We’re already scheduled to be at Gailapalooza, the Harley Plant, Bear’s Open House events, and Bikers for Babies.
CC: Do you sponsor or participate in any charity rides or events?
Chris: Yes. We always sponsor the March of Dimes and The American Bikers Relief Fund. We’ll also do something for Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) on occasion.
CC: Where do the majority of your customers come from?
Chris: Primarily referrals, but a lot find me on the internet.
CC: Do you offer any specials or promotions for bikers?
Chris: We offer discounted rates for law enforcement officers (LEO’s), firefighters and military personnel looking to customize their bike. We also donate vouchers toward custom work for our charities to raffle off.
CC: What is the biggest change you have seen in the past five years in regards to motorcycling?
Chris: The prices of new bikes! They’ve really come down and you get a lot more for your money these days.
CC: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about CC Custom Graphics?
Chris: Since we’re located at our private residence, there’s no store front for you to just stop by, but anybody is welcome anytime by appointment only. Just call for directions because we’re hidden pretty well. It may sound like a hassle, but it’s really not when you consider the one-on-one service we provide.
In closing I want to thank Chris for the interview and for offering his talent to the motorcycle and auto industry. Chris is without a doubt one of the best motorcycle fabricators and painters around, so when you’re ready for that new paint job, custom molded taillight or any other customization you can imagine, give Chris a call. You’ll be glad you did!

By Dave Miller

Riverfront Harley-Davidson has brought the same things to the city of Lawrence, Kansas that the venerable motorcycle manufacturer brings to all its riders—a huge smile and a lasting impression.
Mike Patterson is a third-generation owner of Topeka Harley-Davidson and graduate of Kansas University. As a student, he enjoyed Lawrence enough that 17 years ago he began searching for a suitable location to open a second dealership in the city. Patterson wanted to be near downtown Lawrence, but not in it.
He found the perfect location at 608 North Second in North Lawrence—barely a minute drive from downtown and just moments off I-70. The doors opened on December 15, 2006 under General Manager Eli Geiger, who guides a crew of eight full-time and three part-time employees.
The smile of Lawrence was evident when the Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in April 2007 welcoming Riverfront Harley-Davidson. Representatives of the North Lawrence Improvement Association see the dealership as a tremendous asset toward reinforcing the city’s goal of shaping the “gateway” to Lawrence. That’s because Riverfront Harley-Davidson is one of the prominent businesses greeting motorists on what is the first entry into Lawrence for westbound traffic exiting from I-70.
Riverfront Harley-Davidson welcomes the opportunity to help shape the impression of Lawrence. Creating lasting impressions and satisfying people is how they’ve built their brand.
Eli Geiger doesn’t see building and maintaining a brand as some sort of corporate marketing plan. He sees branding, and measures it by satisfied customers. “There are a lot of 'big box’ shops out there, but we wanted to build something that’s personal,” said Geiger. “We selected a location and a facility to offer a full-service dealership that helps people through every step of the motorcycle experience. We provide an educated purchasing decision process, full maintenance and service, and a complete range of accessories.”
Customers like Riverfront Harley-Davidson because they’re recognized, known, and taken care of by an exceptionally friendly and highly-skilled crew. And, that satisfaction is evident in the growth occurring with Harley-Davidson and the Riverfront dealership.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are seeing a wider age range and increase of women riders—a 10% increase according to some industry analysts. And, for the people already riding in Northeast Kansas, more and more are choosing Riverfront for service, accessories, and group rides.
One example is the Toys for Tots ride that Riverfront has now hosted for the second year. The event saw a 30% increase in the number of riders and donations from the first to second year, which makes it clear that people are hearing about Riverfront and happy to return.
The 9,000 square foot facility has enough adjacent parking that it’s also served as the meeting point for demonstration rides, barbeque cookouts, and organized rides initiated by the OZ Hog Chapter, which is headquartered in Topeka.
Geiger points out that the best way to stay informed about social opportunities is to sign up for the e-mail list, which is available at www.riverfronthd.com. In fact, he says signing up is also the best way to stay aware of the many sales promotions and discounts that the dealership routinely offers. “We enjoy helping people be part of the family, whether that means riding together, obtaining service, or just sharing what’s new in motorcycling and Harley-Davidson. Joining our e-mail list is a great way to stay connected.”
That sense of connection will grow enormously when Riverfront Harley-Davidson features the equivalent of a family reunion in May 2009 as hosts of the annual state HOG rally.
While many businesses see a need to “be different” to confirm their market presence, Riverfront Harley-Davidson sees their role in more simple terms. They don’t seek to be different, per se, but simply to be the best at what they do. And what they do is make customers happy. “That’s what built this brand, and that’s what brings people back through the door. Ultimately, that’s what makes them choose to be part of our Harley-Davidson family,” says Geiger.
Creating lasting impressions and satisfying people—that’s what’s behind the doors at Riverfront Harley-Davidson.
By Chris Hess

Ridley Motorcycles…the name conjured up the images of the 2/3 scale motorcycles I saw a few years back. Wasn’t my gig, so I didn’t pay much attention to them or feel I was in for any big surprises when I made the trip out to Route 66 Ridley in Carthage, Missouri to take a look at them! Boy, was I ever in for a shock at how much this motorcycle company has come along in the last few years. Their bikes mean a lot to a segment of the population who would have never considered them if they didn’t know any better. Derek and Marsha really laid out a new meaning for customer service and support. Route 66 Ridley supplies something a lot of other manufactures and dealers should take a long hard look at.

Ridley began in 1995 when Clay Ridley and his son Jay started out to build a better motorcycle. They envisioned one that was easy to ride, and different in a sizable way compared to other motorcycles by having an automatic transmission. Success was just a step away; and with the newer models and the obvious details that are involved with them, this rider thinks they have hit the mark in a big way. Now, Ridley carries five different models in the current year, one of them being a fat-tired Chopper that stands toe-to-toe with some of the finest customs out there in detail and design. More new designs are on the way for the 2008 model year, with some exciting design features coming out, including a Limited Edition Clay Ridley Signature Series and an Autoglide Trike that will have reverse. As of this story, there are artistic pictures available on the Ridley website, at www.ridleymotorcycles.com.

Derek and Marsha Smyth have hit the mark with Ridley. A few years ago, while involved in drag racing, they came upon Ridley while looking for a pit-bike, and were hooked! With a deep commitment to customer service and after-the-sale service to the people who ride Ridley, Derek and Marsha have made themselves well known in the area. Derek and Marsha are the country’s largest Ridley-only dealership, which gives them the very strong foundation of commitment to the brand itself. Derek is reverent about taking care of his customers, and it shows. Derek and Marsha pride themselves on their shop, and it is kept neat, clean, and uncluttered. I was very impressed by the layout of the motorcycles inside; you were able to walk around each and every one to get a good view of its layout and styling in order to find the perfect one that fits your specific needs. A full line of accessories are available, with Ridley clothing and equipment at your fingertips. Derek also takes pride in letting his customers know that in the rare case they have a mechanical problem, he will see to it right away. He also promises that if they are on the road, he will do his best to make sure they have what they need to get themselves up and running again as quickly as possible. He goes out of his way to let his customers know they are top priority. That, in itself, is one of the many things what makes this dealership shine in my view.

Talking bikes with Derek that afternoon was a joy. Here is a person that lives a passion like no other. He really enjoys his motorcycle, and with the way he communicates really makes you feel at ease. It seems this shop is dedicated to a less stress, more fun-type of atmosphere, which makes shopping for a bike so much more enjoyable. The product knowledge Derek has about his lineup is unmatched. Every technical question I had was answered dead on, and he was able to point out anything I had questions about. His expertise and love for Ridley has made me give some serious thought to buying a Ridley for my wife, to compliment our touring bike when she wants to ride her own. This bike is built for a lot of different motorcyclists, and appeals to a lot of people who would normally not think of an Autoglide motorcycle as the bike for them. This bike gives you a more enjoyable riding time with a lot less hassle. You just give it the gas and go; with no worrying about what gear you need to be in. To me, this would be the perfect commuter bike. There are also many options for custom ordering to make the perfect motorcycle fit your individual desires and needs.

So make sure to take a trip over to Route 66 Ridley real soon, and while enjoying a cup of coffee with Derek, check out the new models for yourself. I came away very impressed, and intrigued by what I saw. I also walked away with a couple of purchases I made while I was there, and they have really great prices on a lot of things you might need. The pictures we took at the dealership will never do justice to the quality of the motorcycles Ridley produces, and until you meet Derek or Marsha in person, you will never grasp the passion and fervor they have to help make your visit one of the most pleasurable memories you could ever have. I personally think a lot of dealerships out there could learn a big lesson from the level of customer service this shop gives, because Route 66 Ridley, by far, takes it to a whole new level, and keep in mind what Derek said to me with a smile as I left, “Ride safe, and ride Shiftless!”

Route 66 Ridley is located at 2488 Old 66 Boulevard in Carthage, Missouri, and you can reach them at (417) 358-8441 or (417) 793-0909, or on the web at www.route66ridleymotorcycles.com.

By Jim Austin

Oz Powersports is the Midwest’s largest motorcycle/ATV/jet ski salvage and parts and accessories superstore, with over 20,000 parts units torn down and over 15,000 sq. feet of space in their new parts and accessories showroom. Oz is located 30 minutes south of Kansas City in Ottawa, Kansas. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday thru Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday (they offer late hours on Saturday for your shopping convenience), and they are closed on Sundays. Oz sells new and used parts for all makes, specializing in 70s to current metric cycles/ATVs/jet skis at 20-80 percent off other dealers’ prices. If Oz doesn’t have your used part in stock, they offer the Midwest’s only FREE National used parts locating service which checks all 250 motorcycle and ATV salvages nationally for your part.

Oz also carries a large selection of reconditioned cycles/ATVs/jet skis, specializing in late model metric units with dealer warranties along with a huge inventory of new Tank ATVs and scooters. For the do-it-yourselfer, Oz offers the largest selection of late model cycle/ATV/jet ski rebuildable units in the Midwest, adding up to major savings. Both their reconditioned and rebuildable units can be viewed on their web site at www.ozpowersports.com.

At Oz they offer a full service department working on all makes and years, specializing in performance work. Their huge used-parts inventory allows them to save customers lots of $$$ with quick service turnaround. Oz’s specialty service department offers many services, including rebuilt starters and stators, wheel and frame straightening, plastic welding, boiling and relining gas tanks, seat reupholstering, custom seat work, custom and OEM sport bike body kits, custom cycle painting, chrome wheels, chrome parts, powder coating, lock re-keying, 240/360 rear tire swingarm/wheel sport bike wheel kits, sport bike OEM decal kits, motorcycle stunt cages, custom cables for any cycle/ATV any length, frame raking, case welding, and ATV rebuilt rear ends. Oz is one of the Midwest’s most unique new and used parts superstores, carrying huge inventories of accessories including low price guarantee for tires and helmets. Oz’s Service department mounts your tires with a low price guarantee with no appointment necessary! Oz carries over 500 jackets in stock, along with a full line of accessories for all makes/models. OZ is a must see for any cycle or ATV enthusiast!

CC: How long have you been in business?
OZ: We’ve been in business since 1981, and at our present location since 1999.

CC: How did you get into business?
OZ: In the early 80s a lot of motorcycle dealerships closed. After acquiring 40-50 dealerships, our used inventory grew so much that we saw the market emerge for used parts based on our customers wanting to buy cheaper than the OEM dealers’ pricing.

CC: What are the strengths of your business?
OZ: Our huge inventory is second to none in the U.S. We have over 6,000 units in our yard, over 20,000 torn down. Our pricing is from 20-80 percent off other dealers pricing. Our service is tremendous. We go above and beyond to get our customers riding again. Between our Service Manager Mike Kolody, our Parts Manager Craig Hawkins, and our Owner Brad Peterson, we have over 55 years of experience in the Powersports industry. Our new parts and accessories showroom enables us to offer much lower costs than other local dealers. We stock many closeout and bulk purchase items from 20 to 65 percent off retail. We also offer many accessories that are not found at other stores.

CC: What major sales do you offer?
OZ: Every month we feature different sale items both in store and on our website for street, dirt, ATV, touring, sport bike, Harley, helmet, tire, new ATV’s, new scooters, and service. Our in store sale items are clearly marked with bright orange and yellow signs. We also do a Spring Saturday sale with a live radio remote and free food, and you can check our web site for upcoming dates.

CC: Do you participate in any charity events?
OZ: Yes in early summer we do RIDE TO OZ, a four-year running charity ride for the Ottawa Toys for Tots program, which helps feed hungry children. RIDE TO OZ starts in the Kansas City area ends at OZ Powersports in Ottawa, Kansas. We generally attract 500-700 riders who receive grilled food, drinks, live music, and lots of free product giveaways including helmets and tires. We also have lots of games and contests for great prizes. Our finale Motorcycle Stunt Show featuring Andy and Josh Klem of Controlled Insanity and Greg and Grant Sunday of KC’s Most Wanted is truly unbelievable! Our upcoming rides and events are also listed on our web site, and some of the photos from one of our recent rides are posted at the bottom of this article.

CC: At OZ, you’re known as a racing enthusiast’s store. Tell us about that.
OZ: Well, as owner of OZ, my background is in racing. I grew up racing motocross nationals, and then became a national road racer. At OZ we love racing, and love supporting our local motocross, road racing, flat track, and drag race and ATV racers. We stock more performance parts than other dealers in the area, and offer sponsorships to racers (see us in person for sponsorships). Anyone wanting any free help to attend motorcycle track days or get involved with any racing can contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WRITER'S NOTE: Since the first time I met Brad Peterson and the rest of his staff at OZ Powersports, I truly see the vision of this business. I also agree that saving the consumer precious dollars is an angle that is definitely the right approach! I have purchased parts from Oz and they really did take care of me when it came to the customer service and service after the sale. When it comes to finding the right part for used motorcycles, Oz has always helped me out when I'm in a pinch! It takes a certain kind of knowledge, especially when you are dealing with 15-20 year old parts, and not everyone knows the ins and outs like OZ Powersports does.

So, when you're looking for one of those hard to find parts for that next project, give OZ a call, and if for some reason they don't have it on hand, they will find it quick!

Keep up the awesome job!

By Dave Miller

When I was first introduced to Jimmy Shriver he was working at a reputable bike shop in Lee’s Summit, Missouri that sold new and pre-owned bikes and provided top quality custom painting and customization. Unfortunately, the shop has since closed, but at that time, they were putting out some awesome bikes. While working at the shop, Jimmy started recovering and customizing seats for the bikes they sold and also took care of customers who came in looking for seat and other miscellaneous leather repairs. After leaving the shop, Jimmy decided to go out on a limb and use his talents to start his own business, and Slim's Cycle Seats was born.

I bump into Jimmy at several bike nights and other motorcycle events in the Kansas City area and he always takes the time to show me some of the latest work he's done on many of his customers’ one-off seats. Jimmy told me he has fabricated more than 100 custom seats, and because of his reputation, the majority of his business is from repeat customers and word of mouth. Jimmy invited me over to his shop and walked me through the process of adding seat material and installing pleated material with extra padding that looks just like a factory-style seat, including manufacturer logos and all. I was really impressed by this added touch!

Many people today prefer to restore their motorcycle instead of completely changing the look of the factory seat, and Jimmy can do whatever you desire. While visiting his shop you could tell Jimmy treats each and every seat like his own, he and puts 100 percent into each one. His attention to detail is inspiring and he prides himself on quality service and quick turnaround time to get you back on your bike as quickly as possible.

When asked what makes Slim's Cycle Seats stand out from the competition and keeps his customers coming back, Jimmy said 'I like to custom fit the seat to the rider. Lowering and narrowing the seat, adding back support, increasing or decreasing reach, and relieving pressure points adds up a more comfortable ride. In most cases I can retain the stock seat cover for that factory look, which works out well with a restoration project or just going back to stock. I want my customers to say WOW when they feel the difference and see their custom seat for the first time.'

Upholstery work is a necessary component when it comes to preserving your motorcycle. Many bikes today can be purchased relatively cheap due to minor blemishes like seat rips or tears, and proper upholstery work will determine if you show off your bike or just show off your new purchase. Bikes older than 1982 are considered antique and most seats the factories produced at that time were not designed to handle the years of weather and abuse. Jimmy can make these seats look like they came straight out of the box.

Jimmy has set aside some time this winter to take my new Boulevard seat to the next level and customize it to my own personal taste. Since my interview with Jimmy, I am convinced the level of expertise he brings to the table is truly valued by today's top bike builders, although little is said when it comes to this area. When it come to your seat, it's equally important for it to be both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to the eye!

It seems that for many motorcycle manufacturers today, the seat is the last thing they take into consideration when that model is up on the drawing board. I feel this is also why there are so many aftermarket companies selling all different kinds and flavors of seats with prices to match. After visiting Jimmy, it's obvious you can get top quality craftsmanship and a custom fit seat for a fraction of what you'd pay at many retail locations. Upholstery work is a true art form and Jimmy has definitely mastered his craft.

Jimmy also provides other services that many people may not expect from a seat specialist. In addition to custom fitting and recovering seats, Jimmy also sews on patches, custom fits and repairs chaps and can add color to your favorite leather apparel. So does this sound too good to be true? Not a chance! Jimmy also does repair work on watercraft and boat seats, and can even make you a custom fit one-of-a-kind boat cover.

Winter is almost here, which is a great time to have your motorcycle or boat seat redone, so pick up the phone now and call Slim's Cycle Seats at (816) 525-1939 to make an appointment. You can also contact Jimmy by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Dave Miller