Business

Rottweiler Bikes is new dog in custom cycle business

Chris and Jon Hicks let the shop dog, Vegas, check out the work Jon’s been doing on a rigid cycle in the shop of Rottweiler Bikes Custom Motorcycles. - Photo by James Mange
Chris and Jon Hicks let the shop dog, Vegas, check out the work Jon’s been doing on a rigid cycle in the shop of Rottweiler Bikes Custom Motorcycles.
— image credit: Photo by James Mange

They’re young, but they’re smart, skilled, savvy and determined to be their own boss. Chris and Jon Hicks are the prime movers and shakers behind Rottweiler Bikes Custom Motorcycles. At just 22 and 19-years old, the Bremerton brothers have plenty of experience and the kind of cutting edge thinking that could kick start their new custom cycle shop into a lifelong success.

Although both brothers know their way around a motorcycle, Jon is the main man in the shop, while Chris is the business manager. Their father, De, is the president and CEO, but those titles should read, Silent Partner. Together, they’ve enjoyed motor sports, especially dirt bikes and motorcycles since the boys were young. Jon started riding at age six.

The three were sitting around one day last year, talking about jobs and bosses, when De said, “We ought to start our own business.” The work on opening the shop began in earnest in May, and now the brothers have completed all the state paperwork to be fully operational.

“We started doing our own oil changes and changing our own tires, just to save money, and it all built from there,” Chris said

Or, more precisely, rebuilt from there, as Jon started rebuilding engines when he was just in junior high. He’s taken on the burden of learning on his own since then, developing his craftsmanship through jobs with West Sound Power Sports and Legend Harley-Davidson. He now designs and builds his own bikes from the ground up. “He learns all the new stuff,” Chris said, “and he teaches it to me.”

His most extensive work so far is nearing completion in the shop area now, where a sleek rigid frame cycle is the star of the show.

“A rigid is a look,” Jon said, explaining the bike is all about style rather than cross-country comfort. “It attracts a different crowd. It has more of a chopper look.”

The Hicks brothers want to appeal to riders who like all looks. “Every rider is unique,” Chris said. “We want to turn that lifestyle into the business. We want to build the bike around the person.”

Toward that end, the shop will serve customers in three main ways. They will build specialty bikes from the ground up, what the brothers call “Rottweiler Bikes Unleashed.” They will also customize stock bikes, creating “Crossbreeds.” The third main area of operations will be to customize or completely build a bike to a specific rider’s desires. While they will service bikes they build, the brothers are not running a maintenance shop.

“We like working for ourselves,” Chris said. “I really like the independence, pressure and responsibility of working on our own. We thought with the skills we had we could make a pretty dynamic business.”

The brothers’ attitude, which will make area bikers want to bring them their business, is summed up in a quote from architect Daniel Burnham which the Hicks’ have posted in the shop. “Make no little plans. The have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.”

Rottweiler Bikes are here to stay, and to stir the blood.

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