THE DMZ CUSTOM MOTORCYCLES STORY
Editors note: this is an email from James to us explaining in his own words how this began. We did some small amount of editing.
The motorcycles are a work of passion, pride and a great respect to the brave fighting machines and heroic pilots that flew them in past world events.
I’ve been looking for an outlet to raise much needed funds for the Wounded Warriors Project and
The Veterans Transition Network as I know first-hand the difficulties of being a returning veteran and more so the challenges of being a disabled Veteran. In my case, my wounds did not interfere with my mobility and I have been able to go on to great and exciting adventures.
In 2019 I rode a motorcycle from Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) across China, Tibet, up to Kazakhstan and across to Europe and London thus completing a world ride as I had previously crossed the US from Maine to British Columbia. With the help of these great organizations, Veterans like myself can accomplish anything.
Since my early years riding, I had always loved the look of the classic WW1 and WW2 army motorcycles. I read amazing stories of dispatch riders dodging bullets and mortar shells delivering their vital dispatches to other brave soldiers waiting for orders. Talk about adventure riders! How much more adventurous can it be riding a motorcycle through the muddy trenches with shells exploding and bullets whizzing by you?
I tried to find a restored or partially restored military motorcycle for sale but to no avail. There were some that had been chopped or modified, Others were in parts and needed more almost impossible to find parts to get them running. Others were priced ridiculously as collectors’ items and then there are always the scammers who said they could get me one in the original crate from Army surplus!
I finally decided to build my own, thus the first DMZ motorcycle was born.
I searched available motorcycles to find which manufacturer had a bike most similar as a base for my build. I was looking for anything 750cc and above, but it needed a foundation that would allow me to duplicate the bikes I loved.
After an extensive search and research on each model I found the Triumph Bobber Black to be the perfect base to begin with! I purchased a new 2018 Triumph Bobber Black thinking my search was over and the rest would be simple.
How wrong I was, and in fact, my research had only begun.
It took over a year to find the perfect seat, bags, and all the other changes (46 – 52 modifications on each model) to roll out the first DMZ Motorcycle. I wanted a motorcycle that was period correct and paid tribute to its history. I searched the internet for pictures of original aircraft nose art and emblems to ensure my motorcycle depicted the true aircraft and were historically correct.
Each motorcycle is an original and researched for correctness. The American Star/Victory Girl emblem is hand painted and signed. The serial numbers on the fenders and side covers all represent either an aircraft or the squadron it pays tribute to. Each bike is protected with the full Triumph 2-year warranty and guarantee from DMZ to be authentic, hand painted one-of-a-kind motorcycles that anyone can be proud to own.
The idea and the company started with my own dream of owning a military motorcycle yet soon everyone was asking where they could get one.
I decided to share my dream and at the same time donating a portion of the profits to these two especially important Veteran’s Projects. The last thing I expected was to start a motorcycle company and yet, every time I build a new motorcycle, I get new and exciting ideas for another. I intend to release both the Memphis Belle and Red Tails Tribute bikes in Spring 2021.
I’ve started to realize that the possibilities are endless and there is so much history I can capture in these bikes while offering them to riders and military enthusiast alike.
This summer I loaded up three of my DMZ Motorcycles in a trailer and photographed them with my friends 1941 Boeing Stearman US Navy Trainer.
The results are these amazing pictures that truly capture the spirit of what I’m building and the history of what these motorcycles represent.