Beyond the fame and notoriety of “American Chopper,” there is OCC Motorcycles. The Teutel Family Plan is to develop its line of production models to a point where the bikes will stand on their own merit, long after the TV cameras and spotlights are gone.
In the ongoing effort to build a motorcycle company that will evolve beyond a character-based television program where the adventures of the Teutel family often supersede their two-wheel creations, OCC Motorcycles has continued to expand its lineup. Including the 10th Anniversary bike that will be available only in the US, there are now seven bikes in the OCC Motorcycles line, which seems a respectable number considering the company came out of the gate as a production bike manufacturer only a few years ago.
The success of this motorcycle company lies in how well it performs a fine balancing act between leveraging its celebrity to kickstart a line of production bikes while simultaneously building bikes that will stand on their own merits. The Teutels were customizing motorcycles long before celebrity status skyrocketed their profile and the production models are an attempt to keep building once the celebrity has passed.
The most recent additions to the OCC lineup were available in Calgary where Canadian Biker rendezvoused with the OCC demo truck touring Alberta in June. OCC Motorcycles had invited interested riders to come down to Pro-AM, the Calgary dealer, to ride one of the OCC choppers. It was occasionally cringe inducing as an OCC fan who may have never ridden anything more extreme than a Honda Shadow jumped on a stretched chopper valued well north of $40,000 and headed out into traffic. The days were filled with eager riders curious about the bikes and perhaps wanting that brush with celebrity the bikes offered. It is the current enthusiasm for the brand that will translate into a future of growth.
During the event a gentleman who had purchased the first OCC Motorcycles machine in Canada a year early came to the shop to have a little work done on the bike. While the process of owning the bike hadn’t been entirely smooth sailing his enthusiasm for the brand and his own machine was undiminished.
The focus of the lineup for us were two bikes designed by Paul Sr. that represented opposite ends of the cruiser spectrum. The Greenie is an elemental bobber with a style defined by its collection of disparate elements. It’s cobbled together look of 2.5-gallon peanut tank, buckhorn bars and sprung solo seat is true to the period from which the bike hails. Originally introduced with a Harley motor the Greenie now comes with a big-bore S&S motor.
On the other end of the spectrum Paul Sr. appears to have created a ride focused on comfort and utility rather than style alone. The Senior Cruiser available for test rides in Calgary was a preproduction unit and had a few kinks to be worked out, but it provided a basic Introduction to Dad’s bagger. Remarkably conventional in styling, the kicker is the motor as in this case OCC wisely chose a bruiser with the fuel-injected 117 cu. in. S&S X-Wedge.
QUEUE-JUMPING, WE GRABBED THE Greenie and the Sr. Cruiser and headed east onto the Alberta prairies for a brief ride. Aboard the Cruiser the motor immediately makes its presence known. It has enormous power, making slow rolling starts a learning curve as the bike wants to launch with only a slight twist of the throttle. Riding north of Calgary on the freeway I glanced down at the digital speedometer and noted that at 45 mph in Calgary I was keeping up with traffic which, having driven in Calgary before, I knew couldn’t be the case—no one in Calgary drives at 45 mph. Twisting the throttle I was determined to clock at least sixty-five. With cheeks flapping in the wind and eyelids peeling back I saw 65 mph—the fastest 65 mph I have ever ridden. The bike was still pulling strongly and was planted solidly on the road—at whatever speed I was going which, at that point, remained a mystery to me. Later, I learned that my indicated 65 mph was in fact closer to eighty-five. Obviously some recalibration of the speedo was going to be necessary.
The sound emanating from the pipes is pleasantly subdued, complementing the smoothness of the ride. The motor is rubber-mounted to the frame with very little vibration being transferred through to the chassis, floorboards, bars and seat. While the Cruiser will be available with a small fairing the bike we rode was unfaired but with a muscular look up front provided by the large headlight nacelle and a pair of driving lights. As this was a pre-production model some elements will still be subject to change. The Baker six-speed though will remain stock for the entire lineup. The brakes are twin discs up front and a single in the rear.
The most impressive aspect of the Sr. Cruiser is how polished and “factory” the bike appears to be. The chrome, the paint and the fit and finish are all tight. While you could argue with a few of the styling choices, the digital speedometer being one (though it does allow for multifunctions within one cluster), the look has remained close to traditional. Some buyers may wish for a little more of the wild OCC styling, but the ride itself matches that of many touring bikes from larger manufacturers.
The Sr. Cruiser is going to retail at approximately $42,995 for the 200 version we rode in Calgary and range higher for the 240 which enhances the look with a wider rear tire. It will be interesting to see the success of the bike. It is the most user friendly and versatile bike in the lineup and by far the one capable of piling up the most miles. It falls in the same price category as the Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide we looked at last issue and targets the same market. Both are bikes with bragging rights—how you want to brag will be your own preference.
THE ANTITHESIS TO THE SR. CRUISER is the 100-cu. in. Greenie. With every stroke of the piston coming right through the pegs and the bars, it’s 100 per cent OCC. Comfort, like the style, is elemental. The riding position is very upright as is the reach to the bars. Compared to the Cruiser, the Greenie is far more at home in the city than crossing the prairie but perhaps that is what the small peanut tank is trying to tell us.
If you like it, as many of the test riders at the event in Calgary did, the only place you will find one is an OCC showroom and I can almost guarantee you will never pull up beside another Greenie, be it a red Greenie or a green Greenie, at the intersection. The Greenie grabs attention, almost demanding it, with a unique look and riding position. It is cool and different which is what the owners of OCC machines will be looking for because you don’t pay a premium to fit in with your neighbours. Like the Web bike, the Greenie is immediately recognizable as an OCC machine.
by John Molony, Canadian Biker #253