So You Want A Custom Motorcycle?


Lots of riders dream of having a custom motorcycle: a unique, one-off bike that would reflect the owner’s style and personality sounds like an incredible machine.

But what are custom bikes exactly, how much do they cost, and how are they created?

Custom vs Customized

A custom motorcycle and a customized motorcycle are two different things.

Customizing your bike by adding and changing parts and components to make it yours is not the same as a “custom motorcycle”. In theory, anyone can customize their bikes in the exact same way as you do; in addition, it would still be a major manufacturer’s motorcycle.

A one-off custom bike, on the other hand, is 100% unique: there is nothing like it. A custom bike is created by a designer from scratch; it’s not a Harley Davidson with a different seat and a modified exhaust, it’s a completely original motorcycle that has been built by a custom bike builder.

Custom Motorcycle?

Choosing a Custom Motorcycle

A true custom motorcycle will be built from ground up and if it has been built by a reputable custom bike shop, it will have a unique 17-digit VIN number (not one from a major manufacturer such as Harley Davidson or Honda). But what else should you look for?

  • Make sure the builder is reputable. See the bikes that have been built by your chosen designer previously, talk to their customers, look for reviews. Are they certified welders, painters, mechanics? Are they qualified?


  • A one-off custom motorcycle can cost anywhere from $10,00 to half a million dollars – it all depends on your preferences and expectations. Why is there such a broad spectrum in the price? Hours involved, components used, quality of paint, name of the designer, your location and other factors all play a role. Keep in mind that there might be hidden costs: buying a custom motorcycle isn’t the same as buying a stock bike. Your insurance and registration will be more expensive, your warranty and service may be different, and the bike’s maintenance could potentially be more expensive.


  • A good designer will be open to suggestions. “I used to tell people to bring examples of details or ideas that they liked – the shape of a gas tank, the look of the wheels. Creating a one-off custom bike together with the rider is part of the process”, – says Paul Stewart, former motorcycle builder and founder of Dynamic Choppers.

Custom Motorcycle?

  • Go in with an open mind. A good designer will have a lot of ideas; be willing to listen. “I had two reasons for refusing to build a bike: if the design and engineering idea of the customer would make the bike unsafe or dangerous, or if it was going to look horrible (for example, I was asked if I could build a bike in a golfing theme!). Most builders will have their own signature style but make sure they listen to you”, – explains Paul.


Custom Motorcycle?

Do you dream of owning a custom motorcycle? What concerns or questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below!

Photos: @rtwPaul

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