All Star Baggers
All Star Baggers is one of the leading names in the big wheel industry. Located in downtown “Deep Ellum” Dallas, they pride themselves in being able to offer individualized service to each customer ranging from custom “made to order” motorcycle builds to unique intricate paint jobs.
I sat down with Art Steele of All Star Baggers to talk shop.
Where are you from and how did you get into motorcycles?
I was born in Manhattan, but grew up in Los Angeles. I chased a pretty girl to Dallas and never looked back. I started the business with my friend of 20 years. My business partner, Nick Morale, is the head mechanic. We grew up racing motorcycles together. With my design creations and Nick’s wrench, we make the perfect team. We started off in sport bikes, but got into Harleys several years ago.
Baggers are like hot rod station wagons. The chopper thing was kind of a bust. They look bad ass, but aren’t practical. I made the mistake of buying one like everyone else. When I made a right turn it dragged the exhaust, and when I made a left turn it dragged the primary. Every time I hit a bump it blew the electrical out of it. I was like – this is a bunch of crap. Then the bagger thing hit and I was like – this is pretty cool. It’s comfortable, it looks cool, you can throw your chick on there and she’s comfortable.
Baggers aren’t new, but the big wheel stuff has really transitioned over the last 5-6 years. There were a lot of guys who paved the way for us with choppers. Guys like Arlen Ness and Eddie Trotta are the ones that really did it all and gave us the foundation. That’s where I draw my inspiration.
History of All Star Baggers?
About three years ago we decided to open up the motorcycle shop. When we first started out we were the new guys and we caused a lot of havoc. When we got into this, none of the Harley stuff fit. We were sick of it. We were killing ourselves. Everybody we called gave us shit. They were like – either you build bikes or you just put them together. So their answer for making shitty parts was claiming you’re just a shitty mechanic. My answer to that was hey, I have a better idea. Let’s call some people who can actually make parts that fit and make some stuff. We have our own bag line now and are correlating with some guys on a neck thing. We worked with American Suspension on the first bolt-ons. Bolt on necks are a big thing for us, because I didn’t want to cut my bike. I didn’t see the reason to have a brand new motorcycle and cut the neck off it. But I wanted that look.
Our first build started out kind of as a ‘screw you’ to the industry. I wanted to show them that I can build something that’s as cool as what you can do and literally do it in my home garage. It got a lot of notoriety, more because of the way the bike looked than because of the actual mechanics of it.
Our second bike, “Miss Right Now,” pretty much won every show she’s ever been in.
“Miss Right Now” is the first and only lay frame bolt on neck bike in the country. It has no kickstand, it literally lays on the frame. According to everyone in the world, it’s impossible, but you’re looking at it.
“Never Enough” won more awards in 2016 than any other motorcycle at shows across the country. It won every show it’s ever been in, including first place in the MOD Harley Class at the J&P Cycles 2016 Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show at IMS Dallas.
Walk me through the design process.
We design bikes to fit people, rather than the other way around. We have a builder program on our website so you can have an idea of what you want your motorcycle to look like before you walk in the door. The majority of our customers who walk in already have a good idea for what they want. We just want our bikes to be clean. We put in the extra work in all the details to hide all the wiring, etc. The most important thing to me is it has to be able to ride. I don’t care how cool it looks or how much you are willing to pay, if it doesn’t ride, I won’t build it. Once I had a guy who wanted to buy a bike I built and said it would look good in his office, so I showed him the door.
What does the future hold?
Expansion. We will grow into a bigger location and bring on new mechanics so we can build more bikes.