By Scott O’Sullivan, Founder, Rider Justice
What do you do when you’ve got a motorcycle dream – a big, roaring, airbrushed, custom, community-building dream – and you don’t know the first thing about making it a reality?
According to Cody Kiebler, you take the first step. Then the next step. Then “take advantage of everything that comes your way.”
Cody and his business partner, Kevin Bolser, are the owners of Broadway Customs, a tiptoe-tail, full-service motorcycle shop. Walking in Broadway Customs (which they encourage EVERYONE to do, not just motorcycle geeks), you’d never know that they’ve got biology and aerospace degrees between the two of them. How did these two ever open a motorcycle shop?
Actually, it starts with a motorcycle crash.
Kevin, an American military veteran, got hit on his Harley, and it was totaled. When he got a check from his insurance company to rebuild it, he called his good friend Cody. The two of them had always dreamed of owning a motorcycle shop but didn’t know how to start. Now, thanks to Kevin’s insurance check, they had enough money to build a motorcycle. That seemed like a good place to start.
They built their first bike: a hardtail, bobber-style Sportster. They worked out of Cody’s garage. Then a buddy came by and asked them to turn his dirt bike into a café racer. They said, “Yeah, we can do that!” And they did.
With two bikes under their belts, Kevin headed to Motorcycle Mechanic School at Universal Technical Institute, and he earned his Harley certifications.
Cody was already working in the aerospace industry and was skilled at computer animated design (CAD). He was ready to put his design and manufacturing skills to work on motorcycles. Together, they opened their first, small commercial bike shop.
That’s when the Old Bike Barn selected the two of them as a builder in their Greasy Dozen Builder Collective. Not only did that experience expand their own skills and their reputation, but it helped them to articulate their mission: To bring the motorcycle build community back together.
“A big part of what the Old Bike Barn does is to share knowledge,” says Cody. “They got frustrated with the bike build culture of the 90s, when nobody shared their knowledge. With the Greasy Dozen, they bring 13 winners together, give them the prize money up front, and encourage them to work together as a community. We want to replicate that culture in our shop.”
As the men were establishing themselves as full service bike experts, they were on the lookout for more space. They discovered an old building at 4398 S. Broadway, which had been a motorcycle shop since the 1980s, and it felt like serendipity.
“The price was right, the timing was right, the location was right,” says Cody, who says that the traffic on Broadway has expanded their business exponentially. Broadway Customs was officially born.
Dream realized, right? Wrong. Cody and Kevin just keep expanding their dream and taking the next step, then the next step to make it a reality.
For example, they invested in a carbon fiber 3D printer, which enables them to print custom parts for custom jobs, and they have also created their own retail shop with custom products. Because the parts are so much lighter than typical motorcycle parts, they anticipate this work will revolutionize the racing industry.
But it also helps them serve their individual clients better. “We had a customer come in and he needed a lever bracket,” says Cody. “We brought the bike in, designed the part, printed it and had it on his bike that day!”
Next up: they want to purchase another 3D printer that prints in aluminum, titanium and steel. But that item will have to wait while the guys install their new DynoJet 250IX, which will enable the shop to performance-tune any bike, trike, or powersports equipment with wheels. The Dyno also allows the shop to expand their diagnostic capabilities with digital accuracy.
Throughout all of this expansion, Cody and Kevin have also sought ways to put their mission into practice: they seek to constantly build community as they build bikes.
“The motorcycle build community doesn’t have a reputation for sharing,” explains Cody. “These guys have a lot of pride but when they refuse to share their knowledge, it pigeonholes them into a very small avenue of work.”
He continues, “For us, the motorcycle community is vast. We want to share our techniques with everyone. We want our shop to be a comfortable place for everyone, no matter their skillset or experience.”
Broadway Customs hosts bike nights every other Thursday, where the shop’s employees teach important, fun maintenance and customization skills. Cody also rides with members of his church, the Red Rocks Church, hoping to meet as many riders as he can. “We want the build community to be open to everyone.”
Today, Cody says that Broadway Customs can do just about anything a person could dream of doing to their bike… or just provide regular maintenance. From cracked frames, to ground-up new builds, to next-level airbrush design, to oil changes, Broadway Customs does it all.
Cody says they are now dreaming about building a bike that could break a land-speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats. “I’ve got a Honda that we want to work on,” says Cody. “In the Honda’s class, not a lot of records have been set at Bonneville, so we’d like to build it and break a record at Bonneville.”
It’s all about taking the next step.