We love looking at unique and well-built motorcycles when we attend various bike nights, events, and races. Well, folks, a new bike shop is opening up in Zephyrhills that has already taken the custom-made motorcycle to a new and matchless level! May I introduce Kenny Dukes, owner, designer, and bike builder at Hellbenders Motorcycles!
Why did you get involved in building motorcycles? Did you have a passion for this? “I was working for California Motorcycles for many years. Working in that environment got me thinking about doing my own custom manufacturing where I had my own brand and my own identity with the bikes that I built.”
Kenny took his vision and created Hellbenders Motorcycles. “We don’t cut corners on anything that we do. If you come into our shop and ask us to build you a bike, we do that – from the ground up. We take your measurements, find out what type of bike you want to have, and design that custom machine just for you. I also want to know what excites you about a motorcycle.”
Kenny gets all the information to what YOU want in your dream bike. From colors, rims, seat, to rake, tires, and engine, the bike is designed and built. Kenny added, “We build and have on the floor the frame as a roller; complete with wheels and a front end. We put you on the frame and see where the fit is and make our measurements from there. We discuss color and the style of frame you want. We have five different styles of frames for you to choose from; a pro street to a soft tail to several different types of hardtail frames, there will be a frame just for you.”
Do you build your frames in Florida? “Yes! We manufacture them in a separate shop. We are a manufacturing company with a manufacturing license. We have the same license as Big Dog Motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, etc. All of our titles have the 16-digit VIN. You can go to any bank for financing and get your insurance from any insurance company with these bikes.”
“I wanted to start my own custom bike building company back in the 1990s. At that point in time, it just wasn’t financially feasible to get involved. I’m a blue-collar worker – I’m just like everybody else. I had a job, beating on roofs every day so that I could build motorcycles on the weekends.”
How long does it take to build a custom, Hellbenders Motorcycle? “It takes 30-60 days, from start to finish, to complete that new bike.”
Does Kenny have a unique logo for Hellbenders Motorcycles? “We don’t really have a logo on the bike, but we do have a 14-carat gold plated nameplate that will be placed on the frame of the bike with rivets – not an easy item to remove! We also build these custom bikes for people to ride every day. We don’t build bikes for Trailer Queens (people that trailer their bikes to events instead of RIDING the bike!)”
Kenny has four people currently working at Hellbenders Motorcycles. “I have two major fabricators that build the frames and seat pans. We build everything completely – and can even build that unique sissy bar if you want. We have people that complete the seat upholstering – this way, the customer has the choice to pick and choose what they want for a seat covering.
“When you walk into my shop, you see the roller frame; no seat, no engine – only the frame and wheels. You pick out the frame you want and from there, we custom build your bike to your request. Within six weeks, you’ll have that bike in your possession. We are up and ready to welcome customers into our shop. We are an authorized dealer for Drag Specialties, S & S Motors (we install a 124 cubic inch motor for the bikes we build.), Parts Unlimited, American Suspension, and many others. All bikes have a three-year, 40,000-mile warranty.”
“We build strong-framed bikes. If you really want to rip on these bikes, the frame will take the massive torque. We have built frames for many of the top motorcycle builders in the country. We have patents on all of our bikes. No one can go out and copy any of our bikes.”
Kenny got involved with Born To Ride many years ago – in fact, he was one of Born To Ride’s original front cover advertisers when he was with California Motorcycles! “Ronnie and I go way back – I think in the 1990s! Ronnie and Debbie are really good people! We’ve done a lot of advertising with BTR ‘back in the day!”
“We try to and strive to build the best motorcycle on the planet. We don’t scrimp on any parts. Everything we do is done professionally. We are cautious of assembly. There is NO buying of cheap parts! Everything that goes on our bikes is AMERICAN MADE! Nothing from another country gets installed on our bikes. If something comes into the shop from another country, it gets thrown out the back door!”
Winding up our conversation, Kenny gave me a pronounced declaration about his custom bike building shop: If you can dream it, we can build it! “People have ideas in their minds what they want incorporated into a new bike but aren’t always sure how to convey their desires. We help them make their dreams of the perfect bike come true for them!”
What: Hellbenders Motorcycles
Where: 37442 Eiland Blvd, Zephyrhills, FL 33542