Earlier this month I spent nine days in Southern California attending three races over the weekends and visiting companies and friends in the week in between. The first visit was to Biltwell Inc in Temecula, CA, not far from Perris where the final AFT race was held.
Biltwell formed in 2006, selling hard parts, then moved into the helmet business. Now they have a huge range of products, priced to sell. As they say:
'We believe the era of 800-dollar billet air cleaners is over. There's nothing about a leather-trimmed hand control or lighted skull ignition cover that's rooted in improved function or performance. Any motorcycle part designed, manufactured or sold for the sole purpose of making its owner look like a tough guy (think $189 tribal-flamed billet shifter nob) is a waste of time and money. With these thoughts in mind, the guiding principles of the Biltwell brand were forged.'
They are also big supporters of the motorcycle scene, sponsoring events, running their own events like the El Diablo run into Mexico and the Kernville Kamp Out, sponsoring racers and advertising in magazines, including Sideburn.
That's me with Biltwell's Otto, events man, right-hand man. He has his own office, so he must be important.
Starting at the front. From the outside, the HQ is an unremarkable, modern steel identikit warehouse, two minutes drive from the freeway. Walking into the front door the impression immediately changed. The reception doubles up as a shop. They don't advertise the fact they have a shop, but they'll happily serve anyone who turns up.
Biltwell's Bonanza open face, Gringo and Gringo XL classic style full-faces and the latest Lane Splitter full-face.
Offices off the reception area.
Nice hot rod door on display.
Bill Bryant in the Art Department. Bill is one of the two founders, an ex-US Marine and a diamond of a guy. He shares the office with his son Flynn, who creates most of Biltwell's videos and a lot of the blog reports. Bill's bulldog also shares the office, and is blamed for the office being renamed the Fart Dept.
Further down the corridor a door led to the workshop area.
Sociopathic locker door. The Biltwellers are actually very socially minded.
Magoo's street tracker (see the full post here)
Otto and his XT500. Most of the Biltwell fellas have a dirt bike. Otto and Bill both have Honda XR400s.
Old Harley frames.
This is Rouser Rob, who works part-time on projects for Biltwell. He's building a Sportster to complete in the Mexican 1000. Those with a very good memory might remember Rouser Rob from Sideburn 4.
Say no more.
Nice old lathe with a pool table light over it.
Then I went into the large and organised warehouse.
This is taken from a quarter of the way down an aisle. Get the scale?
There's art dotted around. Like this 9ft tall mural.
On the wall in the warehouse canteen area are banners from previous Biltwell events.
Biltwell are a great company and good folks. Stay tuned to the blog for more reports from California.