In an economic climate such as the one we face today, the chances of small businesses surviving gets increasingly slimmer with every news headline. But when you do something, and do it exceptionally well, with integrity and honesty, the chances of weathering the storm increase significantly. Sean Jordan, owner of Grim Cycle Salvage is one of these people. Sean has built his business into a one-stop shop for all things moto. From custom fab bars, frame modifications, new and used parts and accessories, and a full-service repair and maintenance shop, Grim Cycle Salvage shows no sign of succumbing to our less than ideal economic situation.
Aside from being one rad guy, Sean and Grim Cycle are also sponsors for this years Chop Meet. We had a chance to catch up with Sean and find out a little more about his background and how Grim Cycle came to be…
First, tell us a little about yourself Sean, where you're from, what you do, family, etc.
I'm originally from Atlanta, Georgia (well, south of ATL). I moved "out west" when I was 19 to work for a Ski resort in Colorado and I've been out here ever since. Most of my time is spent working. When I'm not working I ride my FXR, my WR450, or my snowboard. I'm pretty simple, and that stuff has always made me happy. One of my favorite things is to take my wife and 2 boys camping and dirt biking. There is something very cool about riding with my kids.
I'm not sure. I have always had a thing for them. My parents weren't into them. My dad ripped his knee cap off when he was in is 20's and it turned him off of them. I rode my first dirt bike when I was 10 or 11. I had a friend who had a dr100 and then got a brand new Quadsport 230, I think that was like 1984-85. So I rode his dr100, I couldn't touch the ground, but in Georgia there are a lot of trees to use as a crutch. My mom didn't want me to have a bike so I got my first street bike when I was 18. I have been riding ever since.
What led you to opening your first bike shop?
I went to MMI in 1994. While I was in school I decided that I wanted to eventually have my own shop. After I graduated I got a job at a custom shop here in Utah. After working for several shops, I ended up working for Wild West Motorcycles. That job was awesome. I was building frames, fenders, gas tanks, bars and doing all sorts of prototype work. Then around 1998-99 the owner wanted to move to San Diego and because of that and a few other reasons, I decided to stay in Utah. I ran into an old customer who wanted a bike built. I sold the build but had no place to build it. A few of my friends (who were also in the industry) had opened a small custom shop, so I went to them and worked a deal for 33% partnership and bam I was in business. I was 26 and looking back I knew nothing about business. All I knew was I wanted to build custom shit.
How did things progress to get you to where you are now with Grim Cycle, and how did you end up in the motorcycle salvage business?
Well, needless to say my first business didn't work out. After we shut down I went to work for Easyriders up in SLC. It’s really hard to go back to work for someone after you've been self-employed. While I was there I started a fab company with 2 other friends. We would build handlebars and bikes at night and on weekends, then I would work on Harleys all day at my job, too. I had a large collection of used parts and old inventory that I started selling on eBay around the same time. I quit my real job and went full time into parts and bars sales. I started to get low on Harley parts and started buying Japanese bikes and realized a market there as well. I dissolved the partnership and went full time into parts sales. I decided to expand and moved into a new building and shortly after bought out a big yard in SLC. Now we do new and used parts for all makes and models as well as full service, repair, fab, custom builds for American bikes. I still make the handlebars too.
What has been your favorite part of being involved in the motorcycle industry?
Hard to say, there is a lot I like. First I guess is riding. If I didn't like riding I wouldn't be doing this. I like helping to keep people on the road. I meet a lot of people. I have been able to meet a lot of great builders, industry icons, and a ton of really talented mechanics.
You busted your arm up a little while back, and it affected things for you on many different levels, can you tell us about that, and what your experience has been in that process?
Well if you've ever broken something you know it blows. I have broken a lot of shit and have a lot of metal in my body to prove it. So I knew what I was up against when I clipped the tree snowboarding. The real shitty part was the piss poor medical treatment and the series of events that led up to me having a broken arm for 13 days before surgery. Then we found the TOSH center in SLC and they took great care of me. Now I am about 3 months out, riding again, and building my strength. It set me back a lot at the shop, I am super behind, but I'm catching up every day. We are the busiest we have ever been right now. I also had a lot of support from friends, family, and total strangers and I can't thank everyone enough.
What bikes are in your personal collection? Which one is your favorite?
I have a 1992 FXR, 2004 Yamaha wr450, a little custom Panhead project, and a 1996 Buell S1. My favorite bike is my FXR. I bought it in 97' and I love that bike. I also really dig my WR, it's fast, nimble, and great for the desert or single tracks in the mountains.
What is your "Lost Highway", the route you like to ride to clear your mind and get away from the grind?
I ride to work most days. I ride tons of other people’s bikes all week on test rides. For me, single tracking in American Fork Canyon on my WR450 is my total blank out and think about nothing but riding ride. I try to go out early Sunday mornings with a few good friends and go have a ton of fun. Utah has a huge amount of awesome roads to ride. Pretty much any canyon road along the Wasatch front will not disappoint.
What is the best way to get a hold of you for bike parts or custom fab work?
If you need parts call or email us, and be sure to check out our web site, there are only about 4,000 items on there right now but we add inventory regularly. If you don't see what you need, call or e-mail us. Also, if you are a repair shop we offer dealer discounts on our used parts. We totally get how it's hard to find some parts for these older Japanese bikes and we do our best to help keep people on the road.
instagram - @sean_jordan
Anyone who has helped you along the way or inspired you in some way, which you would like to thank?
First, my wife who has always been there, no matter what, from the very beginning. My Family and friends, I get a lot of support from them. Terry Burt, the first guy I worked under when I got out of MMI. He was ex-military, total biker, and hardcore asshole who kept me inline as far as making sure everything was right, 100% of the time, no exceptions. Also, all of the old builders: Dave Perewitz, Don Hotop, Gasoline Alley, Arlen Ness, Ron Simms, Sugarbear, and the rest. All those dudes have been in it forever. I used to pour through Easyrider mags and Backstreet chopper mags looking at their stuff getting ideas and seeing how things were done. Even if you don't like the style, you've got to admire and respect their work. Those dudes paved the way and were doing it way before most guys in it were born. Oh, and they're still doing it. Lastly, my customers, I really appreciate my customers and do as much as I can to get people what they need.