Cleveland is a city that is naturally tough. Some Clevelanders are bold enough to ride a motorcycle when the weather breaks. Those people often zip by too fast for pedestrians to see. Some are so loud you wince in pain. Other people simply want to get on a bike that won’t break the bank.
Cleveland CycleWerks has found a balance between big money, big displacement engines and small displacement engines for bikes. These motorcycles still give the rider a sense of what those fighter pilots were looking for when they came back from World War II. The local company has cornered the market small displacement bikes, mainly thanks to Owner and Head Designer Scott Colosimo.
“I run [CycleWerks], I handle the day to day everything, I’ll take the trash out if needed,” Scott says.
While he runs CycleWerks now, Scott really only started riding motorcycles when he was 21. The wait was only due to parental constrictions, which gave Scott an inside look at what he was missing from motoring.
Scott thought he was following the formula to his dream. He studied at the Cleveland Institute Of Art, majoring in transportation design. After graduation, Scott went out and got a job as an automotive designer, something he learned to hate. As creatives often do, eventually Scott got tired of working on things that he didn’t care about, like brake light patterns. Then he started a motorcycle company. At the time Scott had never designed a motorcycle. Soon enough, his very first motorcycle was available for sale.
If you say Cleveland, what kind of motorcycle do you think of? Would it be a small, zippy, underrated performer? That’s exactly what you get when you mount a Cleveland CycleWerks Motorcycle. The small displacement engine bikes are not often considered as real motorcycling. If you were to go out and buy a motorcycle and it was under 600 cc’s, people would ask what you were doing. That’s why as a businessman Scott and Cleveland CycleWerks focus on thriving mainly overseas.
“We are Cleveland,” the official motto of CycleWerks, can be heard all over in India and Thailand. People in these countries can require small motorcycles to go through their daily routines, while big bikes are eschewed. “The big displacement engines of America are seen as overkill in the smaller countries almost a luxury item,” Scott explains.
While their bikes are valued overseas, Scott and the rest of the Cleveland CycleWerks crew understand that introducing the small displacement engine to America is a big task. Fortunately for them, what the bikes do not have in cc’s, they make up for in style.
“There is a market for a motorcycle that looks cool and will not empty out your pocketbook,” Scott says.
There’s nothing small about the feeling you get when on a Cleveland motorcycle. When you throw your leg over a CycleWerks bike, there’s a rush of excitement.
“Most big bikes are really only fun after about a hundred miles an hour,” Scott says. “That’s when the fun starts. So instead of a bike that’s fun from 80 to 100 [mph], we focus on a bike that’s fun from 30 to 60.”
To help prove that small bikes can get up and go, Scott and his partners at Cleveland Speed Shop currently hold the land speed world record for the 250 engine class. The world record motorbike is available to view in the CycleWerks shop at 1265 W. 65th Street in Gordon Square. Once you see the bikes, you’ll be able to tell if it’s something that could fit right into your life.
All the work at CycleWerks is hand-designed and built for you to give you the most out of your bike. An added bonus with small displacement engines is basic maintenance.
“There’s nothing extra, nothing fake, nothing plastic,” Scott says. “This is just a bike that you can afford that looks amazing.”
There are different ranges of motorbike that Cleveland CycleWerks offers, like the Heist, the Misfit, and the Ace. This latter of these three was tested by the writer of this piece. Not only was the sound of the bike Snappy and exciting, the light framework and smaller tires gave the bike a nimble, but stable ride.
Cleveland CycleWerks puts on an annual event that draws people from all over the state and across the country to ride their bikes down to a parking lot just off Herman Avenue and West 65th Street. These people are “Tha Riders”; people with custom tanks and custom jobs done all the way down to the seat work. More importantly these are folks that believe in what Scott is doing here in Cleveland.
Scott knows everything about the excuses people have to stop riding. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and my wife hasn’t asked me to hang it up yet, and we’ve got a baby on the way,” he exclaims as he rides away in a bike to make sure it’s warm enough to be tested. Scott Colosimo is Cleveland through and through, and the boldness to name his motorcycles after his hometown is not pandering. It’s a testament to the underdog, to the little guy coming out on top. Scott knows that Cleveland is the future of cycling.