Scott Colosimo's original vision for Cleveland CycleWerks is finally coming to fruition. When Scott started his motorcycle company in 2009, he reached out to tons of manufacturers around the U.S. hoping to find someone to build his bikes They all shot him down. So, Scott reluctantly took his business elsewhere - China.
Since then, the company has thrived overseas and slowly gained traction in the U.S. Recently, the company posted a press release on its website that revealed it's transitioning to building bikes in the States. When I heard this, I decided to reach out to Scott and see if I could get some specifics. Here's what I found.
From the start, CCW's motorcycles were always built outside America, but Scott never forgot his original vision. So, when he heard that Bruce Belfer's attempts to breathe life back into Erik Buell Racing (EBR) fell through, he reached out.
"We started talking and realized we kind of had the same vision for what we wanted to do," Scott told me over the phone. "So instead of doing something with EBR, he's now my partner for the U.S."
Scott said that bikes should be rolling off American assembly lines in roughly 3 months barring any unforeseen issues. The bikes built in the U.S will be sold here, but they'll also be shipped to some of CCW's markets overseas.
"We've switched to more of a localized manufacturing strategy," Scott said. "Every bike sold in the U.S. will be made in the U.S., but we're also going to start exporting, which is pretty exciting for us."
Not every bike CCW sells worldwide will be built in the States, though. Due to the trade tariffs in certain countries, CCW will still need to manufacture motorcycles in a few other countries.
With the new manufacturing partner comes some big changes as far as distribution too. Scott said the previous U.S. distribution partnership didn't meet his expectations. This new partnership will help CCW reach the dealers it needs to and get the kind of placement and exposure it needs in order to be more successful in the States.
"Now that we have an active owner who understands what we need to do, we can go after tier one's and that's about it," said Scott. "The back-end support for our dealers is going to be pretty much what you expect from an OEM."
Scott went on to say that just about everything with U.S. distribution will change in some way. CCW will start to do financing with dealers and consumers and have an expanded dealer network.
"The whole U.S. landscape [when it comes to CCW distribution] will change over the course of the next eight months," Scott said.
The changes don't stop at manufacturing and distribution, though. Scott told me some additional details about the upcoming CCW products, including the changes with the FXx and the FXR (shown below).
He said that the company is still working on larger displacement engines, but that changes in regulations set plans back considerably.
"The reality of the situation is that we weren't prepared for the new regulations," said Scott.
From what Scott told me, the issues with the regulations weren't as much internal as external, meaning CCW had issues getting the bikes properly tested and certified correctly. That set the company back, but Scott told me soon CCW will be in a position to get back to making bigger displacement bikes happen.
Aside from larger displacement bikes, Scott and I discussed the FXx and FXR. If you haven't seen the FXx or FXR yet, head over to CCW's website. The thing is awesome. It's like a cross between a burly mountain bike and a dirt bike. Original models were sold with an automatic clutch. The idea behind that was to make it easier to ride for beginners. What CCW found out is that most of the people buying these bikes are fairly seasoned riders who want something that is fun and just kicks ass.
"We underestimated the level of hoonage," Scott said. "People wanted the ability to clutch the front wheel up."
In my eyes, the FXR is a perfect city bike that you can have a ton of fun on. It's small easy to maneuver and can basically take on any terrain. Even if you don't take the thing off-road, the FXR makes a lot of sense. I want one, and my next purchase (should my wife allow it) may be one of these bikes.
As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of Scott and all that CCW does. It's a company that is doing big things, and it's great to see the recent positive developments. The company is small and lean but powerful, just like the motorcycles it sells.
I look forward to the day when I see more of these bikes on U.S. roads. There's a CCW bike, an Ace, that parks down the street from my apartment in Chicago. Every time I see it I can't help but smile. I don't know who owns the bike, but when I pass it, I'm reminded of why I got into motorcycling. There's something about a simple, elegantly designed bike that makes me happy.