All beginning was difficult, 1985 to 1987
During his training as a wholesale and foreign trade merchant, Andreas’s interest in technology and especially in motorized two-wheelers predominated. Finally, in 1985, the business is registered as the “Motorradschuppen”. In the parental shed, mainly Japanese bikes were optimized and repaired. The order situation rose continuously and soon these almost 150 square meters were bursting at the seams. To accommodate this growth, larger spaces had to be created. In 1986, the Motorradschuppen got a much more representative stay for the first time.
The License to thrill
1987 marks a very special milestone in history. Andreas gets the opportunity to become an official Suzuki dealer and attacks. Of course, this expansion was more than a one-man show to lift and the first employees were gradually set. The company still trades under the term “Motorradschuppen”, even if it is already light years away from the former provisional, only a few years after the company was founded.
From the beginning Andreas feels most comfortable on the racetracks of Europe. He spent many days on the slopes to make his rounds. But he also spent many days building up his still young company. After the initial circuit race, the German endurance championship followed with many overall and class victories. So why not combine both? Under the label “Little Racing”, initiated by Andreas, race training courses were organized for everyone starting in 1989. Until 2003, this series of events should remain an integral part of the company. Until then, Andreas also actively participates in the racing events, until he finally gives up the racing suit.
Even before the end of the millennium, the former small business has become a stately company, which demanded all energies from the company founder. In addition to the above-mentioned services, such as trade, service and tuning more and more components come into play: the production of individual parts in small series.
Those were the Days
Once Choppers and custom bikes were initially frowned upon in motorcycle shed, this type of motorcycle construction more and more arouses the interest of the screwdrivers. While dedicated to this topic in Hamminkeln, one soon realized that there were hardly any parts for Japanese Customs to get. A market gap that Andreas and his team understood how to exploit. In Hamminkeln soon parts were made as standard, which found a fierce market in the business. In 1997 there are already so many, own parts, that they could fill their own catalog. The success of this debut work was not foreseeable and certainly not the fact that this work from now on should be regularly reissued in an updated and amended version.
Ever since 1995, complete custom bikes have been built in Hamminkeln, which are mostly built on parts from their own production. To give these vehicles their own label, they were presented under the name “Thunderbike by Motorradschuppen”.
The times have changed
In the first years after the founding of the company, the success curve shot up steeply and steadily. But already at the end of the millennium, there was a turnaround. The sales figures of all motorcycle manufacturers were declining, the only exception being Harley-Davidson. A brand that perfectly complements Thunderbike is the origin of all custom bikes. In 2003, the first Harleys were rebuilt and soon followed the first frame for engines from Milwaukee.
When the HD license for the Lower Rhine was to be had then, everything went his way: On 18 March 2006, it was finally time and with a befitting bang the Bar & Shield was officially unveiled on the facade of Thunderbike.
When the doors to Harley-Davidson Thunderbike opened for the first time, the former one-man show had long since become a stately company with over 30 employees. In the meantime, the base area alone had increased more than tenfold compared to the initial scale.
Custombikes Made in Hamminkeln
The idea of custom bike construction in Hamminkeln has already been proven with various Japanese-based vehicles. Nevertheless, they wanted to prove this competence now with a bike, that in the field of US Customs the previous achievements should top again. Just in time for a new start as Harley-Davidson Dealership, the guys from Hamminkeln delivered a masterpiece with the Spectacula, which should not only have raised their own bar a great deal higher. The laurels for the well-styled bike will not be long in coming. At the Custom Chrome Show in Mainz, the Spectacula won the European Championship. The title of European champion entitled to participate in the World Cup in Sturgis. Here, the Newbies of the Lower Rhine managed to earn a respectable second place.
Only a short time later, in 2008, the Thunderbikers already proved that the Spectacula was not a One Hit Wonder. For the second stroke of genius from Hamminkeln, they chose the title “Open Mind”. And again, the Thunderbiker could prevail against all competitors and bring the title of European champion to Hamminkeln. At the subsequent World Championships in Sturgis, the competition was then better positioned than last time. Nevertheless, the Open Mind managed to earn a respectable fifth place.
Since then, the time is short for such complex structures. From all over the world the orders for Custombikes Made in Hamminkeln are coming.
It is the year 2009 and the entire global economy suffers from the consequences of the crisis. Only in Hamminkeln the clocks seem to tick differently.
The entire company is to be increased significantly by the end of the year. The sales room is growing and a custom workshop is being docked for custom bike production. All parts production will now be housed under the roof in Güterstraße in a purpose-built hall. Likewise, the parts warehouse, which houses the entire inventory of catalog parts, is enlarged. And that’s not all, another company division is also being launched. In December 09, the American Roadhouse was inaugurated, which is directly connected to the dealership. The stylish log cabin now offers 550 square meters more than just the classic American kitchen. Regular live concerts by a wide range of artists and bands are now just as much a part of the Roadhouse as are visits by various automobile clubs and other interest groups.
The 25th Anniversary Year
25 years in the motorcycle industry are reason enough to let off steam. On this occasion, we were especially happy about the guest performance of “The Boss Hoss”, who conjured up a birthday concert of a very special kind. Likewise the actor Ralf Richter belonged to the well-wishers, about whose graduating we were particularly pleased. In addition, we also had other reasons to pop the corks. With our Anniversary Bike, which we had specially set for our anniversary on the wheels, we managed to dust off the first place on the Harley-Davidson Ride In Bike Show. With this prize, we have not only brought us another trophy for the domestic showcase, but also get the qualification for the next World Cup.
We are the Champions!
The year 2012 marks a very special one, because we are world champions! In addition to the growing number of events and happy customers, this phase of the company’s history will be crowned with the world championship title in the freestyle class. We faced the strong competition from all over the world with one of the most extraordinary and elaborate custom bikes in our history, and won the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building 2012 in Sturgis (USA).Here you can find the detailed Making Of and Andreas’ Story Behind of the “PainTTless”! Impressions of the roadtrip.
30th Anniversary - Time has gone!
Another milestone has been achieved, Thunderbike is no longer a Motorradschuppen! For the 30th anniversary, we had the Jokerfest rise in our forge for the 15th time. After the party of the 25th Anniversary of our workshop, it was hard to set up an event to top the last Anniversary Party! The team put an anniversary bike on the wheels that celebrated its premiere at the in-house custom bike show. In the evening, “Manfred Mann’s Earthband” rocked our giant party as a huge band.
We look forward to the next years with you!