A Minute With Bill Bryant of Biltwell

I met Bill a little over 5 years ago when I started dating one of his employees (simmer down, I married that guy 2 years later). Bill in his t-shirts, running shoes, dirty jeans, with blackened hands from some motorcycle project came across as humble, kind, and the sort of guy you'd want in your corner. He is a family man first and foremost which shows in the way he treats other people and on any given day you talk to him, he is working on a brand new project whether it be a product for Biltwell, bike build, or event. Bill is headed up to the Sierra Stake Out with the rest of the Biltwell crew and plans on doing some sightseeing along the way, after all, their motto is "Ride Motorcycles Have Fun" and these guys truly live by it. Take a minute and get to know a little more about the man behind Biltwell, Bill Bryant. 

Lake Lundy is one of my favorite places to camp along the 395. It’s mostly shaded and the sites are small and first-come-first-serve so it’s usually easy to get a nice spot without a bunch of uptight RV’ers riffing your chill. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Lake Lundy is one of my favorite places to camp along the 395. It’s mostly shaded and the sites are small and first-come-first-serve so it’s usually easy to get a nice spot without a bunch of uptight RV’ers riffing your chill. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into motorcycling:

I’ve been a gearhead since I was a little kid. I was always obsessed with cool cars, off road stuff, motorcycles, anything that I could work on and make better (which was sometimes questionable). I bought a dual sport for commuting and trail riding around 1999. Once I discovered how fun it was to ride on the street, I was hooked. It’s been a downward spiral ever since. 

It took me a couple versions of this bike to get it exactly where I want it and now it’s there and I’m just gonna leave it alone. Nothing fancy, but it’s all solid and it fits me perfectly. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

It took me a couple versions of this bike to get it exactly where I want it and now it’s there and I’m just gonna leave it alone. Nothing fancy, but it’s all solid and it fits me perfectly. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Current bike(s) you’ve got & what modifications you’ve done:

I have a motorcycle problem. 75 shovelhead chopper, 79 TT500 race bike, S&S shovel chopper and my keeper: 92 Harley FXR. That’s the one that I’ll be riding up to the Sierra Stakeout. It’s an 80” with all S&S guts, Dyna dual disc front end with big Tokicos. I’m stoked on some ADV-style mounts and bags from Grim Cycle that we just mounted up. This will be the first trip with a bike that is actually set up to haul a bunch of stuff so I’m looking forward to all that practicality. 

Best bike ever made. Motorcycles come and go, but I’ve got a long term relationship with this one. I can’t wait to ride it to the Sierra Stakeout. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Best bike ever made. Motorcycles come and go, but I’ve got a long term relationship with this one. I can’t wait to ride it to the Sierra Stakeout. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Tell us about what you do and how you got into it and how long you’ve been doing it:

That’s a tough one for me because I’m old have done a bunch of different stuff. I’ve been a graphic designer since around 1991. I’m involved in everything Biltwell does, but the design and branding work is really my lane. I also dabble in management, trying to figure out how best to enable our team to kick ass. I’m no MBA, just a self-taught, former Marine, art nerd, serial entrepreneur trying to do whatever he can to earn a living.

Best moto route / camping trip you’ve ever been on: 

I probably have to say Baja. I’ve ridden to the bottom and back a couple times and it is always an adventure. I love riding a rigid chopper and parking next to some couple on expensive ADV bikes in some out of the way spot that’s a thousand miles from the border. They always ask, “Did you really ride that all the way down here?” I like minimalist stuff, so riding a bike somewhere like that is always satisfying.

This 93” S&S chopper is a fire-breathing, mile-eating machine that my friends and I built last year. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

This 93” S&S chopper is a fire-breathing, mile-eating machine that my friends and I built last year. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Have you ridden the Sierra Nevada area?

I love both sides of the Sierras and have ridden most of the highways and passed which all have their own appeal. The passes through Yosemite are always gorgeous but can be too busy on a weekend. The 395 is awesome and as many times as I've done it, there’s always more to learn and explore. I love the 49 from Oakhurst to Placerville. Maybe the most enjoyable route to me is highway 70 along the Feather River. Not too crowded, plenty twisty, neat bridges, great fishing and swimming. It’s basically perfect. I haven’t done much north of there, but after the SS, we’re going to ride for another week through Shasta, Eureka, etc and end up in Santa Cruz the following weekend for the Redwood Rumble. Then we’ll ride home. The whole trip is gonna be about 2700 miles, all in California. Can’t wait.

I have a fetish for riding bridges and tunnels. I don’t know what it is, but they trip me out on a bike, so I get stoked whenever we ride over exceptional bridges like this unit on the Feather River, Hwy 70, west of Belden. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

I have a fetish for riding bridges and tunnels. I don’t know what it is, but they trip me out on a bike, so I get stoked whenever we ride over exceptional bridges like this unit on the Feather River, Hwy 70, west of Belden. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Who are you rolling with to the Sierra Stake Out and which route are you planning to take there? 

It’ll be a 5-10 person crew from Biltwell and a couple friends. Our first night is going to be in Oakhurst, then over why 120 to 395 and up to the 80 to meet up with you guys. 

After jamming all day, going over nuts and bolts every night at camp is a good way to keep little problems from becoming big problems. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

After jamming all day, going over nuts and bolts every night at camp is a good way to keep little problems from becoming big problems. Photo by @twoforsixer / Geoff Kowalchuk

Other events produced by the good guys at Biltwell that you should check out:

Nor Cal Swap , Sacramento CA July 23rd (hit this on your way home from the SSO)

Off Road Swap, Lake Elsinore CA Sept 2nd

Kernville Kampout, Kernville CA Oct 6-8