Article By: Chris Callen
Quoted And Partialy Reprinted Through The Permission Of : The Horse Magazine thehorsebc.com
Originally Published In The June 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
We’ve been running articles under the heading of Buy American or Die for a good solid two years now. In that time we’ve probably made as many friends as we have enemies and on a few occasions, we’ve been labeled as having racist overtones in those editorial columns. Well, the following article will not do anything to disparage any of our staunchest critics; in fact it may bring more of them to the forefront. It is important that I tell you right up front that I do not care if people think we have racist overtones in our articles concerning China’s manufacturing and their overrunning of our society with cheaply made goods. As long as what we are doing is standing up for American products and American workers, families that have lost homes right down the street from me and bike shops that have closed after twenty, thirty, even forty or more years in business as a result of a lax trade policy in our country, then I will sleep well at night knowing we have done the right thing. So what has me so fired up this month that I feel the need to grab my soapbox for a verse of the Battle Hymn of the Republic? Well, it’s a line that was crossed in the performance aftermarket that should have never been reached. Now, I must mention that this story was broken by The Horse Backstreet Choppers in their April 2012 issue. If you do not own this magazine right now, PLEASE go out and get it or order it from their Website immediately! In it was a fantastic piece written by Tom Johnson that aside from the in depth topics Paul has tackled in BAOD, is probably the most lucid and intelligent article ever written on the subject of importing and unfair trade.
The issue at hand is the fact that the S&S Super G carb has been knocked off by Mid West Motorcycles, a parts’ distributor in Missouri. Now Tom is a true journalist and we don’t have the space here to do the kind of quality investigative piece that he did in The Horse; it would be disrespectful to his work to try. That’s why we are giving him the credit for it in our pages and referring you to it. What we would like to add to this is our own outrage that a company in our ranks would have such a lack of moral character and decide to go after one of the most iconic aftermarket performance products in history. Now you can sit back and pretend that no one knows how much of this is going on, the knock offs of American made products, but it’s a fool’s paradise. The verity that a company like S&S, who has dedicated 50 plus years to research and development of performance products for the American V-twin, could be so ruthlessly subjugated one component at a time, shows very little class and zero respect. Now Midwest claims performance benefits in a different design of this new carb sold under their Ultima brand, but in truth only holds a design patent vs. a functional one, according to Johnson’s article. They claim that they are within the law in doing this. Maybe according to laws drafted by special interest and big business is that true, but we are taking them to a higher court, that of the people. You remember the old MC rights saying: Let those who ride decide. Well it’s the same here. This should be a protest led by the American consumer and one that doesn’t stop until Midwest takes this product off their shelves for good.
I was so mad by the time I finished reading this piece that I actually called one of our competitors and praised them for having the courage to run it, asked if I could steer our readers to it, and I sit here today wishing all the other motorcycle publications would do the same! We can no longer afford to let the market decide our fate; the market has been cheated and it is not in our favor. Here’s where this becomes dangerous. S&S started with a set of pushrods. They raced and researched, designed and tested each and every product they ever released to the public. Now that times are hard and people are buying less, companies like Big Dog and American Ironhorse are gone, and S&S has to rely more than ever before on those performance products that John public is still buying. Now here comes Ricky rip-off to take away their business with a cheaper, imitation part. Ask yourself this question: What if this meant that S&S would be out of business in a year or two? Not that this is close to happening, but imagine just for a moment that the companies like them, who do give amazing customer service through their tech help, exhibit the kind of commitment to their craft that it takes to be a leader, were replaced with copycats and rip-off artists.
Eventually, they’d have nothing left to copy, but long before that, we’d all be out of a job. You might think that this is all far-fetched but it’s exactly what has been happening to American companies for years now due to weak trade laws in our country, or haven’t you called customer service for any product you bought lately? If you think for even a second that the problems we face today will get better without holding ourselves responsible and boycotting companies who employ underhanded business practices and take advantage of America’s vulnerability, then may your chains sit lightly upon you. We need to stand united, as I hope this reprint will be an example of, in the face of what can only be viewed as an invasion of the United States by a foreign economy. We should chase every last company with a rip-off Springer frontend, seat hinge and carburetor right out of business. Otherwise, we are truly trading in slavery, our own. Once again, thanks to Tom and to The Horse for breaking this news and bringing it to the forefront of our culture.