Old School Rules!
The style of the old days is more popular than ever before.
No matter how good a production vehicle looks, it can never be truly individual. To be precise, maximum individuality can only be achieved with a handcrafted single piece. Apart from the fact that these pieces of jewelery quickly lead to a vacuum in the piggy bank, a large-series product also has advantages. The technology is well-engineered and working – any authorized dealer can easily carry out all maintenance. Nevertheless, hardly a bike leaves the store at Thunderbike, which still corresponds to the series. And if you do, then you can safely assume that you will soon see it again for custom conversion.
Thunderbike is not just an official Harley-Davidson dealer, but also a parts manufacturer that makes a lot of the finest custom parts for all Harley-Davidson models. The small series, which can be found in the in-house catalog program, guarantee individual conversions with the highest quality at reasonable prices.
“That was not so different with this project either” – the enormous precision of CNC-milled components and the high-quality old-school look are back in fashion.
Interview with Andreas Bergerforth
Thirty years of Thunderbike also mean 30 years of German custom history. Honestly, would you ever have guessed what would become of your former company, the “Motorradschuppen”?
No definitely not. It was not my goal to build large buildings and employ more than 100 people. It was rather many small steps and so one thing came to another. The whole thing took on a very strong momentum at some point and then I just tried to do justice to everything.
Over the years we have seen many motorcycle dealers and customizers come and go. Few have established themselves as impressively as you. What is your secret of success?
Over the years we have developed into an incredibly strong team – there is no turnover, in each department you will find employees who are 10 years or even longer and who know exactly what they are talking about. This is an incredible accumulation of competence that engages in every aspect of Thunderbike. – That’s the secret: It’s the people who make this company so special.
You’ve been in the business for a long time, you’ve gone through many custom trends. We only remember the time of the extreme streetfighters or the trend towards ever wider tires in the late 90s. Honestly, have you ever wished or thought about a customer’s wish, where should this lead?
The extreme excesses of each trend have never had a chance to prevail. That’s why I was never afraid that all at some point only want to have “mega tires” or rear parts, which look like after a rear-end collision. We’ve always tried to exert so much influence that we can identify with the project. If you do something reluctantly, it cannot be good. That is why we cannot and do not want to fulfill every customer’s request.
For some years now, old school conversions have been a topic, currently Scrambler and Flattracker. What do you think, what will the custom trends look like in the next few years?
The Old School conversions will surely accompany us for a long time. There are so many facets and so many possibilities to reinterpret the past, so that the material will last for many years to come. For the future, I also clearly see the young timers coming – the bikes we drove in the 80s will enrich the custom scene even more in the future.
A tough question, but where do you see the custom scene in general and your company “Thunderbike” over the next few years? Will it still be the scene we know today in 30 years?
I do not see any big changes for the next 10 years. The individual areas of the scene will continue to mix and produce a lot of colorful bikes. In addition, of course it will be difficult – I believe that in our more and more regulated everyday life, the desire for individuality will continue to increase and thus the chance of a vibrant custom scene is already very large. Thunderbike will keep his eyes wide open, keep a close eye on the scene and keep trying to take the right steps.