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Big Bear Choppers Bites Back

Choppers will never Die, and Big Bear Is Back

By Gary Mraz with Photography by Ron Sinoy
10/17/2012


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The master and founder Kevin (left) and his lovely wife Mona, and the author, Gary Mraz.
The master and founder Kevin (left) and his lovely wife Mona, and the author, Gary Mraz.




I knew Kevin and Mona Alsop when their primary business was the Chopper-in-a-Box, build-it-yourself kits. Buyers ordered them by the dozen and actually built ‘em themselves. I thought that was so cool. Big Bear Choppers pioneered that concept. Suddenly, custom American choppers became the gold standard for cool worldwide and BBC was in the eye of the storm. The storm became Hurricane Katastrophe, washing away everyone. From the worlds largest chopper manufacturers to Ma & Pa chopper builders, no one was immune. BBC rode the wave but like everyone else was drowned in the undertow.



Choppers died with the economy. Then came Born Free 3 and Born Free 4 and a new generation of riders taking old Harleys, cheap English, and Japanese motorcycles, chopped the hell out of them. That’s exactly what us old farts did in the ‘70s, Kevin Alsop, the Big Bear boss included. Low, lean, less is more ball bustin, back breaking sissy bars, hard-tailed choppers will rule again, it’s awesome. If you’ve ever built or ridden a true old skool chopper you know what I mean. Then we got older and wanted something that still reflected the spirit of our youth, but we could actually ride to Sturgis. Big Bear Choppers built a bike to do exactly that.



Suddenly BBC came up for air. On February 18, 2012 one of BBC’s dealers announced it had purchased all their assets. Simon Scott, Owner of PT Ragehard Choppers, Indonesia announced the opening of a new motorcycle manufacturing facility in San Bernardino, California. The plan called for producing and marketing an extensive range of Motorcycles including a full range of Big Bear Choppers. I rode out to their new facility, rode the new bikes, and it reminded me of the good ole days.



Simon also retained the services of Kevin and Mona Alsop, the creators of Big Bear Choppers, and some key staff, like Mike the Greek. I visited them and was very excited to see that the blood and guts of American choppers wasn’t gone.



Yeah, they are excessive, loud, and expensive, but that’s why we love choppers. Early on, Kevin was aware of international interest in custom American choppers, and back in 2007 Big Bear was the first custom chopper to obtain international certifications. He set up dealers across the globe and this was perhaps his saving grace. Beyond the collapse in the US, Simon recognized the international demand. Under the stewardship of Simon, BBC now have dealers in 12 countries.



While visiting BBC, Mona told me pointed out 30 bike crated and ready for international shipping. An additional 25 more were being built in the shop. “Our dealer Motorbarn in Dubai ordered their first four Bikes,” Mona said. “They are shipping out this week to make it to the Gulf Bike week 2012 in Dubai. We just shipped out seven bikes to our dealer Custom Culture in Ukraine. Two BBC bike kits left yesterday to Ample Motorcycle Company in Taipei. Frames tanks and fenders are heading to our dealer Wildcard Customs in Australia next week. There are bikes on order for our Importer Gooddrive in Switzerland and a couple of domestic sales.”



Domestically OMG Motorsports in Gresham, Oregon has BBC Bikes on his floor. Yes, the new BBC also embraced their roots. They are shipping kits. For 20K you can purchases a BBC in a box and build it yourself.



The BBC chopper I rode was based on BBC’s most recent creation the Bear Bones. Actually, it’s my personal favorite because it’s based on the Misbehavin platform, which has the shortest wheelbase and less rake of all others in the BBC line, so it offers superior handling. It’s available in a black matt version or all gussied up with fancy paint. The entire line of Big Bear Choppers is now available for purchase.







Keep an eye out for a BBC bike sporting one of the most stunning and fluid production chopper paint schemes.





Both Kevin and Mona are picking up the pieces of their lives. With their house foreclosed and all assets auctioned off by the banks it was time get up and fight. “We understand that the chopper heyday slid away with the economy, and it may or may not become what it was, but it’s what we love to do,” stated Kevin.





Currently Big Bear Choppers have dealers in Switzerland, Australia, the UK, Dubai, Austria, Indonesia, Taipei, Ukraine, Canada, Hawaii and Oregon.




Choppers will never die. They expensed themselves out of the dying market, but the notion of choppers and hot rods represent the very core of American freedom. When the economy returns so will metal flake, chrome, and long front ends. Choppers forever, forever Choppers.







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Reader Comments


I would like to know the price on that awesome looking bike.

Brian Schmidt
Newport, RI
Friday, November 2, 2012
Editor Response Just click on the banner, the logo, or the link, and I'm sure the Big Bear staff will reach out.
--Bandit
Big Bear, like OCC, West Coast, Big Dog and the rest of the over racked, over priced POS bikes built buy so called bikers needed to go and none too soon.

$20,000 for a bike in a box? Get real.....

Lloyd
La.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Editor Response We will follow up on this, but Kevin responded telling us the following. "Our kit bikes contain everything but paint, oil, and gas. Watch for an additional report coming soon.


--Bandit
I am glad that BBC was taken over, because I placed a order in November 2010 and also gave a large deposit to be told 2 months after that they went under and were in limbo.

It was not till December 2011 that my frame and tins arrived, and I'm still waiting till today for the completion of my bike and this is October 2012.

They are lovely bikes but the wait of a minims 16 weeks plus how ever long till completion is ridicules.

But I wont harp on, as I have ridden my bike and it's great to ride, but I am just waiting for a another part. Once they address the delivery times they would be more liked.

GREAT BIKES AND KEEP ON BUILDING

John
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Saturday, October 20, 2012
How you can back and publicize these thieves. They stole thousands of dollars with non-delivered bikes. They suck and you suck!

Matt Dewers
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Editor Response I will address this issue with the Big Bear family and report back. I know I suck. Not much I can do about that, I'm old.
--Bandit
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