american chopper is or good riddance?

I wish Jr good luck, he is going to need a huge dose of it to survive in the world of ID (during the great recession no less).

There was a market and they made money from it. So I applaud what they did. I don’t like when designers get all stuffy about being a “designer” it makes work for everyone else hard. I may not like their style, or you might not but a lot of people sure did. So I say good luck too because the best part about this job is that you can’t fake talent.

No you can’t fake talent… they sure weren’t doing that!

digital sarcasm. I really don’t care if someone is formally trained or not, I do care about results. While a lot of people loved their work, it doesn’t make it good design. Time will test it, and I think it will fail. There are many better examples of beautifully designed choppers. I wouldn’t own or ride one, but I appreciate when one is done well, and I can tell when one isn’t. Part of our job as designers is to be able to know these things.

It was an entertaining show from the craft and drama standpoint. I think I stopped watching after their 3rd or 4th chopper. Seemed to become redundant. Unfortunately, I don’t think Paul Jr is going to do well on his own. Once his celebrity starts to die off, I think his career will as well.

their first bike (spider) was nice. after that they kept unsuccessfully trying to apply the formula to everything. unfortunately for them design is not a formula and welding more crap on to an ugly bike wont make it look better.

I have heard interviews and Jr seems like a nice guy just not a great designer.

entertaining show, yes, to some degree (that sort of lay on the sofa and watch stuf kinda show). Design, no, never. One thing I never really understood was how they “design” the bikes yet seem to get most parts off the shelf and from various suppliers. Frame, fenders, engine, seat, etc. The most I saw them do was cut a few fenders in half and rejig them, bend some tubes for handlebars and weld a bunch of random crap onto the bike. I hardly think it is design.

As for not criticizing design where we see it, are we as designers not supposed to be critical? Who protects the name of “design” if not us? If we can’t draw the line someplace, than any grandma with some Fimo, or hack with access to a CNC machine, is a designer? I hope not. Just look at what has happened to graphic design now that everyone and their cousin can do a flyer in MS Word… we may be a bit away from that, but not too far from what I’ve seen lately with the easy access to fancy rendering software.


So I say good luck too because the best part about this job is that you can’t fake talent.

This is a really scary statement. I hope you were being sarcastic with this, because if not by thinking this way you are in some serious trouble.

I agree with R. Was the show entertaining? Yes it was. Was it design? No not really. I will admit that I watched this show for about half of the first season and like R mentioned it is the kind of show that you are lying on the couch, maybe hung over or some other time you do not really want to think, and turn it on because it is brainless.

Now as far as it being design goes. Paul Jr was a creative guy using already manufactured materials. He was also a good sales man when it came to trying to show Joe smow in blue collar America what chopper design was. Is there better chopper guys out there, of course, but he is the one that brought it to national TV. He is not a designer, rather he is a guy that has learned how to manipulate national media. I saw an ad for the show the other day and his debut design project was a dog park…Really!!! How hard is it to design a dog park!!!

Depends, a good one that factors in the human and pooch clientele, the environmental and financial impact as well as having a revenue stream to make it self supporting…not easy. His however addressed only 1 or 2 of the criteria mentioned. Jr will end up where he ends up, had a fun ride and hope that house of his is paid for (and the taxed don’t go up too much) or he will be offering rooms to let in a year or 3.

Most of this thread smacks of elitism. I personally don’t care for the show. The drama is manufactured, just like every other reality based show. I do however marvel at the bikes they produce. No ‘talent’…please…I own a manufacturing company and I assure you it takes an immense amount of talent to do what they do. Pick up a torch and see if you can produce beads that look as good as theirs…I certainly can’t. These guys built a multi-million dollar empire from their basement. Take the next 10 years and see how far you get, then let’s talk about ‘talent’.

Your post also smacks of elitism.

I’m just comfortable with mine, because I’m an expert in my field. If we were talking about foot surgery, I’d gladly be schooled by an orthopedist, but we are talking about design, so prepare to be schooled.

Manufacturing and design are two different skill sets! No one is questioning their ability to build a bike, I can’t build a bike that quickly. They obviously have a high level of skill in that arena. Their ability to design one is pretty low. I don’t mean design in terms of what shocks to use, or how a fork comes together, I mean their ability to bring disparate technical needs together as a cohesive whole in a way that not only pleases a market or consumer need but is also timeless.

I’m glad they made a multi million dollar interest (not an empire) starting from humble beginnings. It is the American dream. Kudos, I’ all for it. The designs are still sophomoric. Starbucks did the same thing, still not a great cup coffee. Mc Donalds did the same thing, not a great burger. seeing a trend yet?

Now make a business success while making timeless and lasting high quality design, that is a real challenge.

If the desire to see my profession do the best work possible is elitist, then I’m proudly guilty as charged.

Good riddance … now, perhaps, some light will fall on true innovators like Larry Desmedt, aka; Indian Larry

  • April 28, 1949 - August 30, 2004, R.I.P.

I can design and build, and yes the guys whom occ employed laid some nice welds . They were folks for the most part you never saw and were rarely given credit. As far as building up from a garage, hogwash the old man was a multi millionaire with other metal fabrication business before he started occ. This is a far cry from what jesse james and many others did, build a business from absolute zero.

Started it in his garage because he could, not because he had to. Orange County Ironworks is enormous. I’ve heard most of the steel fabrication in the state of NY comes through (or used to) that shop. Credit should be given to all the other fabricators that were never shown on the show. The show’s only success was that it was entertaining to watch a father and son yell at each other every week. Once that stopped, of course the show will follow. It has never been a show about choppers, but more a show about explosive relationships. 99% of reality television is exactly like it, too. Except for Ace of Cakes, they seem like nice folks.

This thread is now about cakes.

Damn their much better than bikes.

Interesting thing, cakes, they share 3 letters with bikes, but mean very different things, unless of course you have a cake shaped like a bike, however I can see OOC making a cake shaped bike.

There’s so much buffoonery throwing jump-kicks in this thread it’s hard to even find the words…

I’m glad that most of this stuff won’t be seen by millions of uninformed viewers.

Starting out in his garage, another much more recognized name in Chopperdom, with US Patents to his name for fuel management techniques ; Arlen Ness

NessTique, 1978 … waaay, waaaaaaay, before “retro” was in fashion.

I remember the episode when some one brought them the remains of an antique motorcycle and they had to call in a “specialist” to rebuild it…

Where do you put in the quarter to make it swing back and forth with music?

But in all seriousness, that has to be some sort of design-crime.

Equally tacky, but much more resolved than the OCC version.

When I first read you post, I was interested as to why you seemed to think that many of the posts on here were designer elitist, and then go on to talk about welding and building a multi-million dollar business. What does one have to do with another? Billy Mays made millions selling useless crap, and most of my fiance’s family are supurb welders, but then are not designers.

The folks at OCC are very talented at welding and assembling motorcycles, they are not talented designers.

Then I read the part about design on your companies website for a little perspective. Everyone can design? hmmm, can everyone do research into specific user groups, weeding out falsities from real useful information, and then convert that information into a useful deliverable? I would say no.

Can anyone take this type of information and generate concepts on demand day in and day out that are both visually compelling and viable in manufacturing? I would say no.

Can anyone look at their own concepts and admit to themselves that some of the concepts are not as good as others and even say my concepts are not as viable as my collegue’s and get over the ego and work forward? No again.

Can anyone, including the guys at OCC be constantly mindful of using visual language that has been established over time to strengthen a brand, or to create a desirable object that will still be desirable object in a years time, or ten years time? I doubt it.

Do I need to continue? or maybe some of my elitist colleagues can. I can only hope that I am as elite as some of the other people on here by the end of my career.

But as an engineer and business person, I can only assume you think design is just throwing some pretty curves on something that wouldn’t even be possible without engineering right? Well, sir, I would love to fill up an entire thread with engineered crap that no one buys because an engineer, probably like yourself, didn’t take the time to understand the intended user, or to think about how people don’t want technology, they want a product that solves a need in their life. However, no one remembers products like those, we only take note of successful ones.