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Cruiser Blog

Big Bear Choppers Bankrupt and Closing?

Monday, December 12, 2011
Big Bear Choppers opened shop in 1998 and has been making a name for itself in the custom production motorcycle world since.
Big Bear Choppers opened shop in 1998 and once was an $18 million dollar a year business. Their run is apparently ending as the company is reportedly on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.
“We screamed out for help,” said Big Bear Choppers Kevin Alsop recently on the TV program “Bloomberg The Mentor.”
 
Apparently, those pleas for help have gone unanswered as Cyril Huze reported today Big Bear Choppers is filing for bankruptcy. The company is defaulting on at least two loans, one from First Mountain Bank to the tune of $147,000, and another from Big Bear Lake’s Improvement Agency which granted BBC a small business investment loan for $100,000 (a 20 year loan at a 3.5% interest rate). Worse yet, the Big Bear Grizzly reportedly has talked to clients who have either put deposits down or have paid in full for custom motorcycles which BBC hasn’t delivered.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now. It started with a lawsuit back in 2009 for bad frame welds which caused a Big Bear Chopper’s front fender assembly to fail and injure its rider, resulting in the amputation of the man’s right leg. Despite attempts at keeping the incident as quiet as possible, confidence in Big Bear’s motorcycles waned. This tarnishing of BBC’s reputation coincided with the demise in popularity of the stretched and chromed choppers and Pro Streeters with fat backsides and monster mills the company produced. When BBC’s business practices as well as the quality of their products fell under question, the company couldn’t control its downward spiral. A business which the Alsops claimed on the “Bloomberg” show once made $18 million a year has now followed the likes of its competitors American Ironhorse and Big Dog Motorcycles, who already went belly-up.

The Alsop’s appearance on “Bloomberg The Mentor” was a final plea for help. On the show, businesses are paired with CEOs and execs who give advice to struggling entities. The Alsops were paired with Pelican Products’ CEO, Lyndon Faulkner. On the show it was revealed that BBC had orders for bikes that it couldn’t fill because of both a lack of resources and staff. Those unfilled orders are now a thorn in BBC’s side because now they’re reportedly close to filing for bankruptcy and there are a group of people who feel bilked out of their money.

It’s sad to see another American motorcycle manufacturer fall victim to a combination of the economy and bad business decisions. But when you rob Peter to pay Paul, that vicious cycle will ultimately catch up to you, just like it did BBC. It’s easy to live large when everything’s working in your favor, but the true test of a man comes in how they deal with adversity. For Big Bear, the best thing they can do is repay those who invested in them, by any means possible, as fast as possible. That’s the first step to saving face. Then they can continue doing damage control. Whether their reputation has been destroyed beyond repair, only time will tell.
Post Tags: Big Bear Choppers, BBC, Kevin Alsop, Big Bear Choppers Closing
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Comments
BlueChopper January 24, 2014 01:39 AM
Until today (01/24/14), I wasn't aware that Big Bear Choppers had filed for bankruptcy. I purchased new a 2007 American Ironhorse Texas Chopper on September 12, 2007. AIH then filed for bankruptcy during 2008 and finally went out of business in 2009. My heart goes out to Kevin and Mona Alsop. Like any business owner, I know they worked hard to try and keep their business operational. The motorcycle industry has been in decline since 2005 and got hit hard during 2008. Only the financially strong and business savvy motorcycle companies will be able to survive in this economy. My hope is that Kevin and Mona Alsop will be able to reclaim their business at some point and begin building their bikes again.
Gypsysuck February 28, 2012 10:01 AM
Sounds to me like Rick Pratt needs to put his big boy panties on and get a real job to pay this servicemen back. SFCCRAWFORD, thank you for serving our country for so many years. I am sorry that someone like Rick has taken your hard earned money for his own benefit. He should be ashamed of himself. Thank you for fighting for us to have our freedom, and for your time away from your friends and family to fight so bravely to keep us safe here at home. Cowards always get what they deserve. You can bet on that.
SFCCRAWFORD February 28, 2012 05:08 AM
To gypsygirl, you need to get your facts straight, I have been in contact with the Bend Or Police and the FBI, I have the bill of sale from Rick Pratt, and all emails and recorded phone conversations with Rick Pratt telling me he is going to give me my money back. Facts is this and if anyone else wants to see proof I will be happy to email it to you. I paid Rick Pratt in Full $21,000 for a Bare Bones Chopper, Rick sent off $10,000 to BBC for the deposit for my bike which left Rick Pratt (owner of Attitude Customs) $11,000, Rick sent me back $500 that I paid too much. Rick Pratt has had the remaining of my $10,500 since April 2011, and I still don't have it and Rick Pratt told the Bend Oregon Police Department Detective Scott Namanny, that he had a lawyer and is considering Bankruptcy as well. Facts are this, Rick Pratt claims Big Bear Choppers owed him money from previous work on other customers builds ie.. warranty work, and he claims Big Bear Choppers said just use my money for it??? This is illegal and Rick Pratt knows this, and yes Gypsygirl, I too trusted Rick Pratt in the past, that is why I sent him $28,500 for my old 2005 Venom Chopper and got a buddy of mine to give me $25,000 to buy him a Venom Pro Street back in 2007 time frame. That business went well and that is why I sent Rick Pratt in full $21,000 this time. However Rick Pratt has stolen my remaining $10,500 for the Bare Bones Chopper and he will be held liable one way or another. I will get Justice!!!
gypsygirl February 25, 2012 08:37 AM
I want to post a response to James Crawford. I have known Rick Pratt with Attitude Customs for a number of years. He is one of the most respectful and honest people I have ever met. I know first hand that the information that James is posting below is untrue. It is unfortunate that James feels he has to post false statments and facts. If any one is interested in what really know happened here then the best way to find out is to ask Rick himself. There are always two sides to every story, and I think it is worthy to hear the other side. Dyane Eriksson
SFCCRAWFORD January 15, 2012 01:22 PM
Correction Micheal Forbes not Kevin
SFCCRAWFORD January 15, 2012 01:19 PM
My name is SFC James T. Crawford, I have served in the US Army for 19 years and have been deployed to Bosnia 2 times, 1 time to Kosovo, and 3 deployments to Iraq and spent a total of 39 months in Iraq. I paid Rick Pratt, owner of Attitude Customs from Bend Oregon $21,000 for a Bare Bones Chopper in April 2011, (he did send me back $500 because I paid $500 too much) he sent off $10,000 for my deposit to Big Bear Choppers (going through Bankruptcy) , he has been hanging on $10,500 of mine since April 2011 until my bike would be complete from Big Bear Choppers, when I called him in Dec he told me I should get a attorney because he googled Big Bear Choppers was going bankrupt, I was shocked then I asked Rick Pratt about my money that he had and he said yes James I still have your money and it was a good thing he didn't sent all to BBC, then I asked how soon can I have my money and he said James I need about 30 days to get it together, Rick Pratt, owner of Attitude Choppers, (I have the phone conversation recorded said he hopes the Alsop’s go to prison for stealing all of our money) and he said it twice he really hopes they go to prison. Now he told me I need to get a lawyer and go through his insurance company and I said no, you just need to send me my money you have had since April 2011, then I called the Sheriff's office in Bend Oregon and they called Rick Pratt and he confirmed my story but Rick said they needed to contact his attorney because he is also considering bankruptcy??? WTF the DA and the Sheriff’s office said Rick Pratt is facing Criminal Charges too if he can’t give me my money even if he goes bankrupt.Rick Pratt, owner of Attitude Customs, Bend Oregon (541)385-3090 located at 63003 Plateau Dr.#2 Bend Or 97701 was the dealer I went through to order my BBC Bare bones, he is a crook just like Kevin & Mona Alsop and Kevin Forbes I will say this and my final note, “Justice Will Be Served”
soberjames December 15, 2011 01:59 PM
1. Just got off the phone with Kevin Alsop, Told him I want my 10,000 dollar deposit back, and he told me of course he has no money, but would give me a Bear Bones frame & Tins. I told him that isn’t worth $10,00 grand, and he referred me to his Attorny,Mr. David Phillipson in Big Bear Ca.I said ,”Man To Man do the right thing”, and give me my deposit back, He again said I can only give you the frame & Tins. I also said I will pursue thru Law Enforcement if i have to, He said do what you gotta due mate. Should I settle with Frame& Tins, and cut my losses? Jim
soberjames December 13, 2011 01:17 PM
I PUT A DOWN PAYMENT ON A bIG bEAR cHOPPER ON NOV. 14, 2011, AND SPOKE WITH mIKE THE gREEK, AND MIKE FORBES OF, B.B.C. FOR A WEEK GETTING STARTED ON MY BUILD.AFTER 9 DAY'S THE E-MAILS STOPPED,PHONE CALLS STOPPED.I FIND OUT BY AN ATTORNEY THAT THEY SHUT THE DOORS 9 DAYS AFTER I WIRED 10,000.NOW WHAT DO I DO? I AM JUST A WORKING JOE.THESE GUYS SUCK, LETTING ME GO FOREWARD IN MY PURCHASE TO BUY MY DREAM BIKE,I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONLY VICTIM. jIM kREIZINGER
wildpig December 13, 2011 06:04 AM
i know they screwed me on defective forward controls.....
Piglet2010 December 12, 2011 04:56 PM
Hard to justify motorcycles that are more display pieces than anything else in a down economy with long-term high unemployment.