Born in a garage, worldwide brand continues to thrive
A two-decade milestone has arrived as Klock Werks is celebrating 20 years of business in 2017.
“We are honored to pay tribute to those who have gone before us and those who have helped us get where we are today. This past 20 years have been a journey — with thousands of miles driven, hundreds of bikes built, millions of smiles and motorcycle camaraderie that has forever changed and enhanced our lives,” COO Dan Cheeseman said.
It all began in a rural South Dakota town where Brian Klock’s parents owned a gas station. His love of all things motorized started early. Before spray painting cars with his brothers at home, he used to charge neighborhood kids cash to ride his Honda 50. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for a custom touch led to an FXR project in 1988 and his first award-winning custom in 1990.
John “Quigley” Patton helped Klock start Klock Werks in Patton’s garage, where they finished a turbo-charged bagger for Roger Klock, Brian’s dad. In 1997, Brian Klock got his first magazine spread, and Klock Werks moved into a single-car garage with no sign in Mitchell, S.D. Cheeseman was hired, and together, they worked on whatever came through the door.
“I studied guys like Donnie Smith, Arlen and Cory Ness, Dave Perewitz, Jim Betlach, Lee Clemens, Don Hotop, Tom Motzko, Grady Pfeiffer, Tank and many more in those early years,” Brian Klock said. “I’m such a fan of the industry.”
Later, in 2004, the business moved to its current location, a 7,000-square-foot facility. The larger building afforded space for new software, more space for R&D and customs and a dyno Patton always wanted. The inception of the product line started with fenders. Klock and Cheeseman were severely disenchanted with the quality of available aftermarket fenders, and after hours of prepping them, many took a one-way flight across the shop. With focus provided by Klock’s wife Laura, who joined the team in 2005, the guys shifted from custom bikes to a high-quality product line with ensured accurate fitment.
In 2006, the growing Klock crew accepted a call to participate in the Discovery Channel “Biker Build Off.” This was their chance to debut their first products and parts. The bike was a custom bagger, the first-ever for the build off, and it won.
“Three weeks later, we were at the starting line at the Bonneville Salt Flats with the winning bagger,” Klock said. “After two passes, Laura rode to a National Land Speed Record.”
Reporting a lift from the front end as she increased speed, the team set out to create a product that would make the bike safer for Laura Klock to race. The patented Flare Windshield was born, and the company grew exponentially. The new part added downforce, air management and sheer style.
Developing a parts line, there were several factors that Klock Werks would not compromise on. Top-of-the-line manufacturing processes and materials were a must, and the company’s hard-earned dollars would stay in the USA. It all started with custom builders, and the mission was to create accurate fitment and easy installation so anyone could customize their own ride. The company has stayed committed to their intentions and vowed to always provide the absolute best customer service.
Drag Specialties accepted the product line in 2006. Laura Klock and her daughters Erika and Karlee became the first mother-daughter-daughter racing team to hold land-speed records at the same time by 2008, and Klock Werks’ custom motorcycles continued to be featured in magazines and videos worldwide. In 2012, Laura and Brian Klock were inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. In 2014, Klock Werks entered the Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Indian markets.
Today, the company has 16 full-time employees and sells parts all around the globe. The Flare Windshield continues to lead as the No. 1 selling part, but custom bike shops and garage builders utilize other high quality, high functioning parts, like the adjustable KlipHanger Handlebars, e-coated stamped steel fenders and most recently, Klock Werks Device Mounts, powered by the iOmounts system.
Klock Werks’ new website, getklocked.com, will follow the new, limited-edition 16-month calendar through 2017 with special blog posts, videos and galleries about the tribute bikes.
Each month, a new vehicle will be in the spotlight as 20 years of business in Mitchell, S.D., is highlighted.