american chopper is or good riddance?


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.


I’ve been thinking about saying that, and I didn’t mean all engineers and business people think that way, stereotypes are lame, but it seems like this one probably does.

Hey Carton, I’m sure you’re proud of your cute little cheap shot characterization of my work, but you don’t have the slightest clue what I think or what I do. You take one sentence out of some company marketing material and proceed to extrapolate the makeup of my career. I can just see you flexing in front of your bedroom mirror after that one.

Do you know for whom that statement was constructed? Do you know what my market niche is? NO. So, I suggest you reserve your comments for what you do know.

Further, you should take a moment to figure out the difference between one having “elite” skills and one suffering from “elitism” or an “elitist” attitude.

BTW, I know plenty of Industrial Designer who think a design is a pretty rendering. And I could fill an entire thread with designed crap that no one wants to buy because a designer, probably like yourself, didn’t take the the time to understand…blah, blah, blah.

Interesting, huh, There are poor engineers AND poor designers.

I’ve only been on the CORE boards for a week and I already have the community foaming at the mouth.

Let me clarify where my “smacks of elitism” comment is coming from.

Does OCC represent themselves as an ID firm that specializes in bike design, I don’t think so. They’re custom bike fabricators. In fact, take a look at their website. No where do the claim to be industrial designers.

“OC Choppers is regarded as the world’s premier BUILDER of custom motorcycles”

Their “talent” lies in hand metal fabrication and welding and CNC machined parts. Therefore my “talent” comment is regarding these areas. One does not build a multi-million dollar empire creating hand-made products without “talent”. As I stated, I don’t have their level of skill…Not sure how that makes my post “also smack of elitism”

I can appreciate the CORE community might want to critic the designs of others, but if the design doesn’t meet with your approval, does that make them a talentless? You may think their industrial design skills are lacking, but they don’t represent themselves as Industrial Designers. They’re custom bike fabricators. Does it require labeling their patrons with deragatory sterotypes (“Joe schmo blue collar america” manipulated into spending their hard earned money because they just don’t know any better)? BTW, I know plenty of doctors, lawyers and millionaire home building contractors that ride OCC, West Coast Chopper and Exile bikes on the weekends. My point is this “they know not what they do” attitude in several of the posts comes off as elitism.

“No one is questioning their ablity to build bikes”? Re-read the posts. That’s exactly what they do.

I can appreciate you wanting your “profession to do the best work possible”, but do you consider yourselves and OCC as peers? Does OCC see you as theirs? I don’t think so. So why the need to belittle them and the customers who choose their products of their own free will.

as for some of the other comments.
Bolting off the shelf parts onto a bike? Do you know anything about the custom bike fabrication business? The parts you see these guys pull off the shelves are, at least in the case of larger fabricators as OCC, WCC or Exile, made specifically for them (Frames, fenders, exhaust pipes, tanks, etc.). It’s difficult to stay in business building one off custom bikes. I know a few talented fabricators that sold $60K bikes, but went out of business because of the lack of cash flow associated with one off production. The successful fabricators have components mass produced for their production bikes. The steady cash flow from the sales of these bikes helps cover overhead. They can then pull the production parts off the shelf and modify them for the one-off bikes. The profit from the one-offs is just gravy.

I assume you havent seen this.

bngi: yah…someone at OCC thought they were more than a fabricator.

a2pmfg03: Welcome to the boards!

Search for the other American Chopper thread. The reason we’re being so one sided is that we’ve already discussed many of the aspects you are bringing up.

If you were a giant dork who wanted a big loud chopper shaped like a fire truck you knew who to call. :smiley:

BONUS: The bike for all practical purposes is nearly unrideable!

I can’t say I fault them for catering to a niche market. Its too bad most of the bikes were ugly corporate trophies designed to sit in lobbies.

Thanks bngi.
I’ll certainly check out the other threads. It seems I touched a raw nerve and that was never my intention.

As for Paul Jr Design, I don’t have a problem with what he does and what he calls his business.
Part of this is due to terminology. To me, and those in my industry of mechanical engineering and fabrication, “design” is a generic term to mean “mechanical construction”. A “designer” is one who “designs” products, but doesn’t have an engineering degree. In fact, at most of the companies I’ve worked for, if you didn’t have an engineering degree, you were forbidden to have the word Engineer anywhere in your title. Those without degrees were called Designers.

If we were to discuss what those of you in the CORE community do for a living, we were refer to that as Industrial Design and those who apply the trade Industrial Designers. In this case, Design isn’t meant to imply the lack of a engineering degrees.

Maybe this is a regional term? I’m in southern California and I regularly work with Art Center grads. They all, or at least the ones I deal with, refer to themselves as Industrial Designers and their work as Industrial Design. Maybe they place the qualifier “Industrial” in there only when speaking to Engineers, but I wasn’t aware of it.

It never even occurred to me he was representing himself as an Industrial Designer. I’m sure Coleman knows exactly what their getting with him…pure marketing. They know the show is hugely popular and they know they can move a few grills if his name is attached to it. Coleman is a successful company, I assume they’re not idiots. If great product design is what they want, I’m sure they have the names of a few reputable firms in the rolodex.

Anyway, I’m not on CORE and the boards to minimize what you all do. Quite the contrary, I’m a huge fan, which is why I visit this site on a daily basis. In fact, it was an Industrial Designer that referred me to CORE77

thought this was the photoshop thread for a sec

At Art Center those who call themselves “Industrial Designers” are forbidden to call themselves “Transportation Designers” by the actual transportation designers because they can’t sketch as well. Of course I am kidding about that… but only slightly.

Around the country, Industrial Design is a common term. Most of us majored in Industrial Design but because most people think industrial design involves making factories or something a lot of IDers now just refer to our position as “Product Design.” I think most industrial designers jobs involve a lot more than just making pretty renderings. Lets first remember there is a ton of design work before it even get’s to that point. And really a nice rendering is only used to sell the idea often, I spend a huge amount of time working on mechanical drawings and working with factories and manufacturing.

You guys crack me up. You are all arguing over silly things and missing the point entirely. The issue you finally managed to get on the last page is in regards to how one uses the word ‘design’ itself.
I have a problem myself with how mostly engineers claim to ‘design’ things. Sure given the meaning of the word that’s correct. However IMO I think Industrial Designers ‘design’, engineers engineer and OCC builds. etc. Sure in a nutshell its all overly broadly ‘design’ but it needs to be changed. Hence why people have no clue what industrial design really is. There needs to be a clear difference and starting with the actual word is probably the easiest way to do so. As this thread proves.

Hi guys,

I am surprised, that even you americans come to trouble with the term “designer” here:

There once was a time when the person who was responsible for the looks of a product
was called the “stylist”. And the one who was responsible for the nuts and bolts was the
engineer. Both where designing the product as co-creators.

Nowadays Designers don’t want to be called “stylists” as this is exactly what American Choppers is
about. Just doodling away. Bending Metal into a nice curve and calling that “design”. A professional
design process includes much more and gets to very different results.

I am sorry, I don’t have the time right now to formulate a complete thesis on the subject up here
but I would propose to resurrect the term “stylist” for Paul Jr. otherwise I would have to call him a
“metal dresser” as parallel to hairdresser.

All the best

yours mo-i

Sometimes I call myself a stylist…it seems like people have a better image of what I do when I use that term. Moreover, it’s 75% true. It’s the majority of what I do. Sometimes I use the term product designer. No one seems to know what an IDer does and people get it confused with a draftsmen (what happened to that term?).

Hoodzy: “real artists ship”


Here’s a pretty decent description of what we do:

“The professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimise the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer.”

A “pretty rendering” is used for communication. A rendering of a model of a thought out solution to a brief (see above).

Well stated. That may go up on my board here at work so I can remind marketing of that.

I don’t think anyone is arguing that these guys do not have talent when it comes to fabricating (thought you never really saw Jr do much), but to say that Jr is not portraying himself as a designer I feel is false. He has started a firm around product design. He blatantly is trying to portray himself as a product designer and that to me says that he feels he can do what we can. Putting diamond plating on a grill does not make you a product designer.



As much as I say Goodbye to them it was something they did well at. It is very tough for us guys who arent in that arena to like what they have done, however we cannot hate on their success. They had a niche and they took advantage of it, now if we all stood up and realized what ours is, we would be in the same position :wink:

Good luck everyone! Have a great 2010!

Again, not hating on there success, more power to them, simply calling out that it is not an example of good design… because that is what we do here, talk about design.