A family motorcycle affair

Three local brothers built a custom motorcycle shop from the ground up

Three local brothers have taken their love for working on motorcycles and turned it into a growing business. Trent, Taber and Teddy Nash formed Nash Motorcycle Co. in 2003 and are attracting customers from across the country. The Nash brothers primarily grew up in California, but followed their parents to Clark County after they moved here eight years ago. The three brothers have a long history of working on cars and bikes and they had always wanted to own their own shop, said Taber Nash. In 2003, they finally quit everything else they were doing and opened their first shop on East Fourth Plain Boulevard near Andresen.

"It seemed like a good place to open a shop," said Nash. "Nobody else in this area is doing what we do."

Six months later, they had to crawl over bikes to get from one end of the shop to the other. Just over a year ago, they relocated to their current shop on McLoughlin Boulevard near downtown.

"We needed more room, we were doing so many bikes," said Nash.

Even now, the 2,500-square-foot leased space is swarming with custom-built bikes.

Nash Motorcycle Co. specializes in custom, built-from-the-ground-up bikes. Early on, they were doing more repair work, but now they are able to be pickier about the amount of service work they do and concentrate on the part they really enjoy – building custom bikes. Building bikes gives them more freedom, said Nash, and is more profitable. Another high-growth area of the business has been the shop’s line of custom parts. In particular, their "gimp hanger" handlebars are attracting buyers all over the world.

At any given time, Nash will have two to three bikes going in different levels of production, which allows them to complete a bike each month. Typically, Nash Motorcycle bikes are sold before they are even completed, which allows for some specification by the buyer. Additionally, Nash builds shop bikes it can bring to shows across the country to promote the shop and sell. Nash bikes have their own style. Taber Nash calls it more of an old style.

"We are known for our own look," he said. "It’s distinguished from other (builders)."

Nash said it takes between two to three months to build a bike. But they have completed some within a month and a half on a rush schedule. He said the shop will have completed 13 to 14 bikes this year. A custom bike built by Nash runs between $17,000 and $25,000. Nash said 75 percent of their business comes from out of state, with some recent clients coming from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Hawaii and New Jersey. Nash advertises in national motorcycle magazines and conducts much of their business online and through their Web site. Parts sales comprise half of the business, with custom building and service splitting the remainder.

Nash credits the recent trend of reality television shows focused on custom bike-builders, such as "American Chopper," with providing a boost to the industry.

"It’s done a lot," said Nash. "There are more people involved in building bikes; it’s gotten the craze going."

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, U.S. new-unit motorcycle sales eclipsed the 1 million mark in 2004 for the first time since 1979. The motorcycle industry generated $22.8 billion in sales in 2003, with $8.2 billion coming from retail sales of new motorcycles.

"As motorcycling becomes more mainstream, and with more people taking a look at motorcycles as viable transportation and recreation, we are optimistic that the industry will continue," said Tim Buche, MIC president.

The popularity of motorcycles is expected to continue, as the rise in gas prices is giving consumers yet another reason to choose them over cars.

Nash said there are a number of people in the area building bikes in their garages who come in to purchase parts and ask for advice. It’s good for business, he said.

The brothers are usually in the shop from about 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. as well as Saturday afternoons.

"It’s a young business," he said "We have to put in the work."

Aside from the three of them, they have a high-school student who works with them part-time. Not to mention the shop dog Chubbs, who even has his own t-shirt for sale. Responsibilities are split pretty evenly between the brothers, said Nash, and while disagreements are inevitable, the situation works well.

"We get in scraps," he said. "But we get over it pretty quick and get on with the day without dragging it out."

Nash Motorcycle Co. hopes to continue building its custom product and bike sales at a comfortable pace while making a good living.

"It gives us quite a bit of freedom," said Nash. "That’s what we like most."