Brad Pitt helps bring jobs to Suffolk

A SUFFOLK-based custom motorcycle dealership has been chosen to set up a European-wide dealer network to distribute the iconic Samurai Chopper bikes, whose rich and famous owners include Hollywood star Brad Pitt.

A SUFFOLK-based custom motorcycle dealership has been chosen to set up a European-wide dealer network to distribute the iconic Samurai Chopper bikes, whose rich and famous owners include Hollywood star Brad Pitt.

As a result of its selection by Japanese manufacturer Zero Engineering, Bury St Edmunds-based Krazy Horse Custom is now planning to move to a larger bike facility and showroom on the edge of the town.

Krazy Horse founder Paul Beamish said: “We build our own, one-off bikes and it is hard to build them for under �25,000. “These Samurai Chopper bikes come in from �16,000 and up to �24,000 so it is an ideal fit for us.

“They are also a small, specialist producer. We plan to sell somewhere between 100 and 150 bikes a year and have dealers in every country in Europe.”

A new showroom, on its own site and with 4,500 sq ft of accommodation, is being planned on the Suffolk Business Park.

“We have found a site and it is going through planning. We hope to be open late summer, early autumn,” said Mr Beamish. “This is very good news for us, and for Bury St Edmunds.”

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Some additional jobs will also be created.

Samurai Chopper bikes are starting to receive lots of attention in the United States as well as in the Far East where they have already achieved cult status. The bikes featured in the blockbuster 2008 movie Iron Man are due to be seen again in the follow up Iron Man 2.

Created originally by Zero Engineering's former bike builder, Shinya Kimura, the vintage-look choppers combine function and form. The bike is typically based around an original “gooseneck” frame, with a large V twin engine and small petrol tank, sprung solo seat and a Springer-style front fork. The front tyre has no fender and the overall look is very simple with the accent on quality and detail.

Zero Engineering now intends to develop sales in Europe and has chosen Krazy Horse as its European partner to drive this business.

“This is the bike where less is definitely more”, says Paul Beamish. “The Samurai Chopper keeps things incredibly simple and that's the beauty of this charismatic but highly functional street machine.

“The Samurai Chopper features the very latest technology from Japan but the bikes are seriously big on quality but understated in the way they look. 30% of Samurai Chopper owners have never owned a motorcycle before which proves that they are not just for bikers. They are not only the choice of famous actors, musicians and TV celebs; but now anyone in Europe who dares to be different.”

Zero Engineering's business development director, Koichi Kojima, added: “Now that Samurai Choppers have been adapted to meet European Safety Standards, we are looking forward to seeing these bikes in Europe anytime soon. With the help of Krazy Horse Custom cycles, we are confident that we will now see the development of yet another major world market.”

Zero Engineering will be exhibiting the new range of Type 5 Samurai Choppers at MotorBike Expo, Verona, Italy (from January15-17), the MCN Bike Show, Excel, London (February4-7), ACE Caf� Alexandra Palace London Bike Show (February26-28) and other shows and events during the year.