At the Horse Magazine's recent Smoke Out West event a couple people asked me if I worked for Four Aces (I was wearing the shirt). I guess someone else asked Wes if he owned Biltwell. This is an honest confusion since we do a lot of stuff together, but could use some clarification just so everyone who might care has the correct info.
Wes White owns Four Aces Cycle in Pacoima. It's a full-service shop that specializes in custom motorcycles. Most specifically old British stuff, but as his recent Chop-Off winning 45" shows, he's no slouch when it comes to HD's either. He is also a retailer of Biltwell products, among a myriad other bits and brands. Wes doesn't own Biltwell, and we have nothing to do with his shop except as a supplier, customer and friend.
We met Wes a couple years ago when McGoo and I drove to the valley in the middle of the night with a useless lump of a T100 engine I bought off eBay. We were impressed with his articulate and friendly manner and I'm sure he thought we were total douchebags. Over the next year or so I pestered him with stupid Triumph questions and told him about this hairbrained idea we had cooked up while I was still in Iraq -- The El Diablo Run.
Slowly we all became friends and saw each other at various events and such. Chris went to Bonneville with Wes and helped out in the pits. Somewhere along the line we started Biltwell and ran a few of the ideas by Wes and got some solid input in return. His knowledge of custom motorcycle history and the perspective gained from earning a living wrenching on old bikes was invaluable. Wes stocked a few of our early items and determined that selling our parts was a pretty good deal. We loved it because his shop was like a tiny test market and it's valuable to chat with someone who isn't just blowing smoke up your rear end. To make the relationship less one-sided, I've done the design work on his last few t-shirts, stickers and most recently his website.
In the meantime Wes has become a devout sponsor of the EDR and we sponsored his most recent racing program at Bonneville.
When it came time to develop the next round of products, we asked Wes if he wanted to do some signature parts. Something loosely based on the relationships skateboarders used to have with sponsors back when they did their own graphics and things were a little less disposable. He designed two items, the Four Aces exhaust tips, based on an Amal carb velocity stack and the Aces handlebar. We put his shop's name on these parts and he gets a cut from whatever we sell. Neither party will get rich off of anything we do, but we figured it was a way to help him out and experiment with what the marketing wizards of the world call "Co-branding".
This mingling of the minds may have led to a little confusion, but our involvement has been mutually beneficial. Wes is doing brisk parts and accessory sales that didn't exist for him a year ago, and I still pester him with retarded questions about old Triumphs.
If you are in the LA area, you owe it to yourself to pop by and visit Wes and check out his shop. If you don't live close you can get a pretty good glimpse into what he's all about by checking out his BLOG and tap into a good history lesson once in a while by reading the SPOTLIGHT section of his website.
Thanks for being part of the team, Wes!
The Aces Handlebar. Chromoly, 7/8 or 1" diameter and available in chrome or black electroplate. $77 MSRP.
The Four Aces exhaust tips shown here in black, but also available in Silver, shown below.
55 bucks a pair. Of course, all of these items as well as helmets and everything else we sell are available from Four Aces Cycle.