File this under “unconfirmed”, but Autoblog is reporting that Jesse James will shut down operations of West Coast Choppers, and farm component manufacturing out to other suppliers. Autoblog’s source is custom bike builder Cyril Huze, so I’m guessing the news is indeed accurate. Given that James has moved to Texas to rebuild his media- eviscerated life and career, I’d say that the closure of WCC makes sense from a financial standpoint as well.
Custom choppers, like other high end motorcycles, simply aren’t selling these days. Next to housing developments packed with McMansions on postage stamp sized lots, few things summed up the wretched excess of the past decade as well as custom choppers. Sure, they looked cool, but they were utterly miserable to ride and had obscene depreciation. Many owners learned the hard way that a $75k chopper was only worth $25k when you sold it, no matter how much you still owed the bank. Today, you’d probably have an easier time getting a bank loan to buy a kilo of cocaine than you would getting a loan to buy a custom chopper,
Cyril Huze reports that WCC parts and frames will continue to be sold, with the manufacturing now handled by Daytec and Belt Drives, LTD. Custom Chrome will stock a full line of WCC components, just in case the economy recovers and people begin building choppers again. Personally, I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.