Rides, Rallies and Events Recap


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

Have you ever been riding along when all of a sudden your bike stalls, starts missing or seems sluggish? Or maybe you twist the throttle and she spits a little before hauling ass on down the road?

Is so, you're faced with the choice of what to do next. Do you try troubleshooting it yourself, or maybe ask a friend for help? Unless you or one of your riding buddies is mechanically inclined and up-to-speed on all the latest troubleshooting techniques, you may find yourself riding sideways in the saddle holding a screwdriver in one hand while trying to stay on the road and adjust the carburetor at the same time. After all, that's what it has to be; right? You're just sure it's the carb…or maybe it's a fouled plug…how a loose wire?

It those options aren't appealing to you, you now have a much better choice. Take your bike to Reno's Yamaha Aprilia at 13611 Holmes Road in Kansas City, Missouri and have them put it on their Factory Pro High Precision EC997 Dyne System. While on the dyno your bike is run through the gears at the same speeds you would be riding at while on the road. The dyno analysis pinpoints any trouble spots without the all the guesswork. Knowing what the problem is while your bike is still at the shop enables you to have a technician repair, replace or make whatever adjustment are necessary to get your bike running at top performance again.

I talked with Reno's owner Steve Okenfuss about their dynamistic machine, which has been in operation January of this year. Steve told me he has several, qualified technicians certified to dyno your bike, so all you need to do is contact Roger in the service department to make an appointment to have your bike tested. Steve also pointed out that even though you may not being experiencing problems, it's always good to know your bike is performing at its highest level, ensuring a longer life, better gas mileage, and the best over all performance for your machine.

After talking with Steve it made sense for me to see Roger at the service desk and make an appointment to have them dyno my bike. After installing new Vance & Hines® Longshots on my bike, I thought it would be a good idea to see how it performed with the new pipes. Service Manager Roger Lear assigned Steve Church, a.k.a. Stymee, the task of putting my 2005 Yamaha Road Star Silverado on the dyno. On a side note, make sure to check back in a future issue of Cycle Connections to see Stymee's 1950 Panhead he recently rebuilt.

After performing the dynamistic test it was shown I needed an adjustment and smaller screw in the carburetor. My bike was performing well enough, and I wouldn't have ever known an adjustment was needed. Nothing major, Stymee said, so while my bike was already in the shop I asked him to go ahead and make the necessary adjustments so it would be performing at top level and help increase my gas mileage a bit.

I was very impressed with my dyno results, and I'm sure you will be too. So, make sure to call or stop by today and talk to Roger at the service desk to make an appointment and have your bike put on Reno's Factory Pro dynamistic machine for a quick look-see!

By Phil Peeler

Of all the phrases I hear these days related to motorcycles, I think “old school” gets on my nerves the most. Old school is used to describe something from exactly what period? If you have been riding five years, is something six years old considered old school? I doubt it. For the true definition of the phrase, at least as far as I am concerned, you need to think along the lines of something being “the way it was in the past.”

In my mind Bear’s Hiway Classics and owner Barry “Bear” Webber are old school. Bear is a no bullshit type of guy. He says what he means and doesn’t try to blow sunshine up your ass. If you want to do something to your scooter that makes no sense he will tell you straight up that it is a bad idea. Bear doesn’t smile a lot, but don’t worry—when he does, you can be assured it is genuine. He also doesn’t waste your time with a lot of chit chat. He uses a lot fewer words to convey a point than most and tends to get straight to the point. I like that. Bear’s manner is serious, and it lets me know he isn’t wasting my time. Bear comes from a mold of men who still hold “their word” in high regard; something sorely lacking these days. I have lived in the Kansas City metro area for over 20 years and have never heard anyone be anything but totally pleased with Bear’s work. My friends Gary and Sean both have had Bear work on their Ironhorse bikes recently and they were completely satisfied.

Several things are needed for any shop to be successful these days. While many believe filling a niche is the way to reward, Bear chose a different path. “From Flatheads to Fatheads” is the shop motto. In other words Bear will work on any air-cooled V-Twin from flatheads to Twin-Cams. Whether your V-Twin is all Harley-Davidson or one of the many other H-D clone engines, Bear has you covered. You get a good feeling when an MMI graduate with over 20 years of professional wrenching under his belt is working on your baby. Bear’s is not only a repair shop but a full-on frame and fabrication shop. Technician Travis Wright and fabricator Jon Gallagher along with Bear have got you covered in any direction. The shop motto “If we don’t have it, we’ll get it…if we can’t get it, we’ll make it” lets you know you are in good hands.

Another key ingredient to a successful shop is your parts person. Try walking into your local dealer’s parts department and ask for parts or advice on a Shovelhead, Panhead or Knucklehead. Good luck. Bear knew the best way to get the parts his customers and he himself needed, was to have his shop radar equipped. That’s right Radar is behind the counter. Everybody knows Radar, and many of us have been dealing with him since his days back at F.O.G. Cycle. Radar’s 15 years of experience makes sure you get solid advice on your parts and receive what you order. If you need a high-dollar part and want Radar to beat somebody else’s best price, all you have to do is ask; he will deal, I know—he has helped me several times. Radar’s parts inventory may surprise you a little. While there is a lot of chrome available, hard parts are the bread and butter. Radar’s motto is “people will wait for chrome,” and he is, of course, right on the money. Nothing is more frustrating than taking your broken-down putt to a shop that has a million dollar chrome inventory but not the coil you needed.

Somebody once said, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” At Bear’s Hiway Classics this has never been more true. Bear’s wife Leah, is the glue that holds the business together, and according to Radar, she keeps the boys in line.

Not only is Bear’s Hiway Classics a parts and service center, but it is a dealer as well. Bear’s is the authorized dealer for Big Bear Choppers. You won’t find any Big Bear dealers in Nebraska, Kansas, or Iowa. The Big Bear Choppers they have in stock made me drool the last time I visited. (Mental note, ask Mike for a raise.) Bear always has some other V-Twins for sale as well, so you need to check back often because he also has some very nice “old school” bikes available on occasion.

If you need your V-Twin serviced or repaired, be it Harley-Davidson, Titan, Indian, Ironhorse or any of the dozens of makes, Bear’s Hiway Classics is the place to go. Looking for a ground-up build, or a frame straightened or modified? Bear is your man. In Bear’s case, “old school” is a good thing. Bear’s Hiway Classics accepts all aftermarket warranties as well as major credit cards except American Express. Check them out from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and don’t forget to join Bear and the crew on Wednesday evenings for their bike night at The Landing in Liberty

By Loney Wilcoxson

January 31, 2007

Liberty Cycle Center

One stop shopping has become very popular these days. As more and more demands are placed on our free time, the ability to purchase several items at one location is not only a time saver, but with today’s gas prices a money saver as well. Unfortunately this convenience sometime comes with an unwelcome tradeoff. Specialty shops often offer not only much more knowledgeable salespeople than their “one stop” competition, but also a level of personal service that seems to be on the decline these days.

Liberty Cycle Center has managed to contradict the norm by offering truly one stop shopping for all your power sports needs while retaining the warmth and knowledgeable staff normally associated with a mom and pop type business.

Bill Heishmam started Liberty Cycle Center back in 1968 with nothing more than 4 bikes, a one hundred dollar bill, and a handshake. Making customer service the TOP priority served him well. Bill’s son Jeff Heishman purchased the business from his father and took over as Owner and President in 1991. With a background of over 30 plus years riding as well as a stint as a professional ATV racer, who could have expected Jeff to do anything else? Jeff also believes in giving back to the community as Liberty Cycle Center not only sponsors the March of Dimes Bikers for Babies as well as Janey’s Over the Next Hill Ride, but Jeff has also served on the committees that put together both events for many years. On top of all this Liberty Cycle Center also Sponsors the Star Motorcycle Club.

Jeff added Duncan Barnett as General Manager bringing adding another 25 years riding experience to the staff. Duncan’s first motorcycle purchase years ago taught him an important lesson, unhappy customers don’t come back. Any successful business requires quality staff, and Jeff has assembled a team that believes as he does, customer service must be the top priority. A sales staff with over 30 years sales experience, a knowledgeable and helpful parts department headed by Larry Ludeke, Parts Supervisor with over 10 years experience. Couple these two areas with factory trained technicians, one of which has over 35 years experience, and you have a proven winning combination.

Of course all the quality staff in the world won’t keep the doors open without quality products to offer. Liberty Cycle Center has the bases covered with big name brands we all know and trust. Whether you are looking for a street bike, dirt bike or and ATV, Liberty Cycle Center offers the full lines from Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. If you need a street cruiser the line of Star Motorcycles will be right up your alley. If by some chance you prefer water over dirt or asphalt a Kawasaki watercraft is just the ticket. Factory financing as well as many local lenders provide even the credit challenged a way to make their purchase painless.

After choosing the machine that fits your lifestyle you can be assured you have a great selection of all the things you need to get into action. Liberty Cycle Center has street and dirt riding apparel including, jackets, boots, helmets along with custom and performance parts to personalize your machine. Now you can get out and enjoy your new ride secure in the knowledge Jeff and his staff will be there after the sale to provide the customer service you deserve. One stop shopping can be great. Check out Liberty Cycle Center and you will soon find out why.

By By Loney Wilcoxson

While driving down to Gardner, Kansas I was thinking about all the questions I wanted to ask Brian Plihal about his custom motorcycle fabrication and painting business; better known as Wiz-Bang Customs. When I arrived, Brian and I did our meet-and-greet, and since he is such an easy person to talk to I decided to set my interview questionnaire aside and just chat.

Brian has been doing paint and body work for over 30 years and got his start in the hot rod fabrication business. Like many entrepreneurs, Brian started off juggling a regular full-time job on top of the body and sheet metal work he loves to do. About 10 years ago he decided to take a chance on the custom motorcycle fabrication industry. Persistence paid off, because three years ago he was able to ditch his regular full-time job, focus on the business at hand, and is considered one of the top custom fabricators and painters in the industry.

Unless you’re new to the local motorcycle scene, I’m sure you’ve been exposed to some of Brian’s handiwork because you can’t go to a local bike show or motorcycle event without running into several custom bikes he has helped create. Brian’s work has also appeared on many of the bikes that have been featured on the cover of our magazine.

When asked what makes his business stand out from the others in this field, Brian said, “Most shops are not able to fabricate new tanks or fenders, so they will have to do this kind of work outside. The painting and artwork may or may not be able to be done in-house, so it also has to be sent out, whereas I do everything right here in my shop.” By being able to do the tear-down, metal fabrication, prep, paint, and put all the newly customized parts back on your motorcycle, Brian is able to keep the cost down and provide excellent customer service.

Over the past several years, Brian has built up a large customer base that trusts him and provides numerous referrals to potential new customers. Brian stands behind his work and is always readily available to take care of light scratches that are easy to buff out. Brian also has approximately $30,000 worth of matched stock sheet metal parts on-hand to eliminate the down-time while revitalizing your parts so you are not without a motorcycle. He also strips each part down to the metal so he can do a better job the first time and give his customers a better quality product than simply painting over the top of someone else’s work. Now how’s that for customer service!

Brian went on to explain how you can create a really great looking bike by simply changing the gas tank, “Frenching-in” a tail light and adding a custom front and rear fender without spending great sums of money. At the time of this interview he had seven motorcycles in his shop getting some type of fabrication work done. He showed me a Dyna on his lift that was receiving a Frenched-in rear tail light and license plate, a stretched gas tank along with several other new components.

So, when it comes to one-stop shopping for all your custom fabrication and painting needs, give Brian a call and come see for yourself why he is a cut above the rest. It’s nice to see someone who focuses on craftsmanship and quality instead of quantity; especially when the end result saves you time and money.

Keep up the awesome work Brian, and we will be watching for more of your latest creations!

By Dave Miller

The grand opening party for Heart of Dixie Harley-Davidson in Pelham, Alabama, was so “grand” it lasted for three days, Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21. We went up on Friday mid morning to put up the Cycle Connections banner, and there were bikes all over the road. At Heart of Dixie, the vendors were all pretty much set up, and they had already had a steady flow of people inside and out. It was no wonder as they had great deals on parts and accessories and up to 50% off on clothes and leather.

That night, “Somebody’s Daddy” was the first band to rock the house in the brand new H.O.G. chapter building. Afterward, they put on the guest of honor for Saturday’s “feast,” a 120-pound hog, so that it could cook through the night. By Saturday they had added 20 butts, 600 chicken quarters, and 800 chicken breasts to the grill.

When we got there Saturday around noon, there was only a little of the chicken left, and the parking lot was abuzz with people and motorcycles. The sun was out bright and shinning and very hot, but it was beautiful for riding all weekend.

I had spotted a lift in the front corner of the parking lot as Leigh and I pulled in that I thought would be perfect for taking pictures from. Great minds think alike. As we started across the parking lot, “Chick” who works at Heart of Dixie and also has taken a lot of great pictures for them over the years, approached me about going up on the lift to take pictures, 40 feet up! We got some really cool shots—thanks Chick!

We also ran into Jim Lorenzo, the Alabama state captain for the Patriot Guard. A group of them were taking a ride out to the airport for a show they had going on.

Leigh and I decided to make our way through the vendors, the silver jewelry at Silver & Such, “Good Girlz-Bad Girlz” biker clothing, and all of the beautiful bikes, to the H.O.G chapter building where the food was. The idea was to get something to eat, but I ran into Bill Peek, the owner of Heart of Dixie, and Riders H-D, and his little girl, Leah, so I stopped to talk with them. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. If I hadn’t stopped to talk with Bill, I would have missed out on the ride of a lifetime! The last time we were that “high” to get pictures was in '95 when we were fortunate enough to be able to go to Hawaii for 10 days. This time I got to take a helicopter ride with Bill, his son Will, daughter Leah, and Jim Evans wife Sandy, who got to sit up front with the pilot. We got to not only fly over Heart of Dixie, but we also flew over to Trussville and over Riders Harley-Davidson! The trip was awesome!

After we came back down to earth, we peeked in on the bike show that was already in progress next door at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant. The band “Breaking Point” was the first band to take the stage at the brand new pavilion. Afterward, there was a fashion show. The bike games were next, and one of our friends, “Fuzzy” decided to try his luck at the slow roll. That is so very hard to do, but he did a pretty good job, especially for his first time at it!

By early evening, we had been hot for so long that the frozen margaritas at “2 Pesos” at the foot of the hill were calling out to us. Leigh, Fuzzy and I couldn’t resist, so we were drawn down there to join up with Jim Evans, his wife Sandy, and a few other friends who had already gotten a head start on us. Needless to say, the frozen concoction won out and we totally missed the band “Z & the Party Faktory” that rocked Heart of Dixie later that night; I’m sure they were great. The “Sullivan Sisters” closed out the party on Sunday in the pavilion.
With over 2000 bikes that showed up Saturday alone, I would venture to guess that the weekend was a huge success. It was one of the biggest and best parties this town has seen, and I’m sure that Heart of Dixie will continue to greatly benefit the city of Pelham in the future.

They party hard every third Saturday of the month at their customer appreciation days, so if you are in the area, stop in and hang out awhile. If you need some work done on your ride or if you are interested in putting a new Harley in your garage, you needn’t look any further than Heart of Dixie Harley-Davidson where general manager Jerry Payne, as well as the rest of the staff, will be eagerly awaiting to serve you.

Thanks for being there, and thanks for the party, the trip, and the memories.

Write-On and Ride-On
Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly - Birmingham, Alabama