Writer's Ramblings

Kim Suter – Behind the Scenes with KC’s Master Bike Builder

Written by  June 30, 2005

Kim Suter, Kansas City’s only member of the Master Builders Club, may have come the farthest in the shortest amount of time. With his own Big Inch Bikes line, he has provided customers with true custom motorcycles from a federally licensed manufacturer. With six models of Big Inch Bikes, he can provide something to suit anybody’s taste.

CC: Is there anything new and exciting under construction at KC Creations this summer?
KIM: We, of course, just finished a bike here for the Easyriders tour, but we’re trying to take one of our 2-Lo chassis and put a 330 on it and make some gas tanKim and fenders and the whole bit to try to take to Myrtle Beach; if not, it might be Sturgis.

CC: Who, if anybody, is the biggest influence on your building style?
Kim: Over the years I’ve done a lot of stuff; Paul Yaffe and I get along real well, and I consider him one of the top five guys in the world, and I’d say for a somewhat young guy, that’s the guy I look up to.

CC: With Avon making a 360 back tire now, do you think rear tire width has gone as far as it’s going, or is it going to go even further?
Kim: The 330 tires, they’re kind of the big thing, they don’t really ride all that good. The Japanese 360s, they don’t handle at all, so I think we’re seeing about the end of it.

CC: If you weren’t building bikes for a living, what would you be doing?
Kim: I don’t know if I want to talk about this to the public or not. I don’t know what I’d be doing. I think I’d be on a boat in the Caribbean or something.

CC: The bike on display last night at the event you held for all the builders was incredible. What can you tell us about that bike?
Kim: Back in the mid 80s to early 90s, we did a lot of gold-plated bikes and of course Arlen Ness and Simms and those guys did them in the early 70s. We did some in the 80s, and now it’s coming back a little bit. Everything goes, so we thought we’d kind of do a little old and a little new.

CC: Being recognized as one of the major builders in the industry, out of the young guys that are coming out now, who impresses you?
Kim: Probably the most impressive is actually Billy Lane’s brother, Warren. He came out with a really cool little bike, and he’s not trying to play off of Billy’s name. He’s trying to do it on his own, and I think he’s coming out with some cool stuff.

CC: Last time I went to Sturgis, one of the builders, and I won’t mention a name, was charging 20 bucKim to sign autographs, yet everybody who was at your party last night, all the major builders here, signed for free. What do you think about that?
Kim: It’s something they can do, I guess, and get by with, but among the real bike guys, that’s not acceptable.

CC: Last night your wife Cheryl was an incredible hostess at your party. How much of KC Creations’ success do you attribute to her?
Kim: Probably a lot of it, because I get off on my own little deals, and she keeps everything in check and kind of makes me tow the line. We’ve worked together for 25 years in different businesses, and she keeps me in my place, so to speak.

CC: Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?
Kim: Hopefully retired. My getaway is boats and water and stuff to get away from the bike world, so I think I might do the big cruise in St. Thomas.

Interview and photos by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson