Meet the Team: J&P Cycles Founder & President, John Parham

//Meet the Team: J&P Cycles Founder & President, John Parham

Meet the Team: J&P Cycles Founder & President, John Parham

John Parham

Every company has a visionary — that one person whose original inspiration it was to create the business in the first place. Here at J&P Cycles, that person was, and still is to this day, our Founder & President, John Parham.
Before we get too far along in blogging about the day-to-day activities and opportunities associated with J&P Cycles and the world’s largest aftermarket motorcycle parts and accessories online retailer, we thought it might be interesting to interview John and share the results here on the blog. First up are John’s responses to six fairly straightforward questions. Then, at the end of the interview, check out the accompanying video, featuring John himself talking about some of the challenges he and his wife Jill had to overcome when starting J&P Cycles.

What compelled you to start J&P Cycles?

A: I bought my first motorcycle when I was a freshman in High school, a Honda 50. Then, during my senior year, I bought a 650 BSA and chopped it out. I loved it and became hooked on customizing and bikes in general. After I graduated, I moved on to a used Honda 750 Chopper. I spent a lot of time customizing it into a show bike. I spent a year in community college and decided it just wasn’t for me. Then Jill and I got married and I had to bring home a paycheck. I started a series of several different factory type day jobs and knew that wasn’t for me either. After a layoff from one job, I started working a third shift at another, which I loved because I was becoming more and more interested in motorcycles and I could go to swap meets on the weekends. Soon, I decided that I wanted to run my own business and be my own boss. Motorcycles had become my ultimate passion, and I thought, what better business to be in than the motorcycle business. I teamed up with a friend and we started a shop in 1976, while still keeping my full time job.  D&J Cycles lasted 4 years before we split. My partner was more into Japanese bikes and motocross and I was interested in the street scene. I continued to get more into the vintage and custom Harley market and he kept towards Motocross. So after a time we made the decision to split and I went out on my own. I started J&P Cycles in 1979 with a business phone in my basement and a rented dirt-floor garage half-a-block down the street. That was the beginning.

Q: Did you ever think J&P would grow to be as large as it is today?

A: No, definitely not. I thought we could make a go of it and I thought we would do okay, but I never thought we would get this big. I can honestly say that part was luck (I was in the right place at the right time with the way the market grew), and part was just old fashioned hard work. Many years of working 7 days a week, going to swap meets every weekend, putting on events and running the parts business, too. We certainly did not become a success overnight, and we have been lucky to have a great staff behind us. We all work really hard, love motorcycles, and believe in what we are selling. Quality products, a huge selection, and the best customer service in the industry… those are the foundations of our business and they continue to serve us well.

Q: What can customers and motorcycle enthusiasts expect to see from J&P in 2010?

A: For 2010 we will be focusing on expanding our website and our offering of products online. We launched a whole new site in early 2009 and it was quite an undertaking. Now that we have everything in place, we are ready to focus on expanding our product lines: tires, exhaust, apparel, seats, and more. We plan to ad upwards of 20,000 more products to our already large offering of over 90,000 items. Our goal is to be THE online source for motorcycle products (not just for your Harley-Davidson, but for your Metric Cruiser or Sport Bike, as well). We feel that our great selection is part of our overall service, and we look to beef up our site to better serve our customers. We also have just launched a ”live chat” feature so people on the Web can chat with our customer service and technical service personnel via their computers. (By the way, I think this is a win-win for J&P and our customers… it allows us to connect with customers faster and better, and we look to expand on this as the year progresses and make this an important part of our online customer service experience).

Q: What’s the best part about your job?

A: That’s a tough question to answer! Of course I love the motorcycles, and I love bringing new products to the market. I am just like our customers in that I love to immediately start adding new items as soon as I get a different motorcycle. But overall, I have to say the people. With motorcyclists, what you see is what you get. They are generous, happy, and love the motorcycle lifestyle. They are honest, friendly and hard working. Some of the most generous and down to earth people I know are leaders in the motorcycle industry, and they make me proud to be a part of it. And our customers, we love to meet and talk with them.  Our yearly Open House is the favorite time of year for Jill and me. I can’t tell you how great it makes us feel to meet our customers and hear the stories of how much they love riding, and how we got their order to them fast so they could get on the road and ride. Or how our parts helped them restore their bike into a treasure, or build a whole new ride. It makes all the hard work and daily effort worth it!

Q: What kind of bike do you ride these days, and what’s the next accessory you plan to add to it?

A: I am currently dividing most of my time between two bikes: a 2008 Harley-Davidson Anniversary Edition Ultra Classic, and a 1936 Harley-Davidson EL (which by the way is a first year knucklehead). I rode the Ultra Classic to Sturgis as well as took a week-long tour of the Great Lakes region this last summer. The 1936 is not restored, it’s just a good old rider that I like to ride to work and take cruising around the local area. People love seeing the old iron being ridden, and I love riding them, since that’s what they were made for. I’ve had the 2008 for a couple years now, so it’s got all the accessories that it will get, but I will be adding a 2010 Ultra Classic to the stable in the spring. The first thing I always add is exhaust, air cleaner, and a fuel controller. I like my bike to have a nice deep mellow tone, and those stock mufflers just don’t cut it for me; I also want some more power. After that I will add grips, floorboards, windshield bag, and a few other chrome goodies to doll it up a little.

Q: What are you reading right now, and what’s your favorite blog?

A: I just finished reading The American Motorcycle Girls 1900 to 1950 by Cristine Sommer Simmons. It is a very in depth look at a little known segment of motorcycling history: women riders. It’s filled with spectacular photographs and wonderful interviews of many of the women featured in the book. It’s a great book and I’m sure you would find it very interesting just as I did.

I’m a busy guy but I do like to cruise the Internet if I get the chance. I like to visit the Cyril Huze blog, which is I like that Cyril is constantly posting everything from industry news, bike features, and new product releases, to some pretty funny jokes.  It’s a great place for me to go to find out the latest news from our industry. I’m also a big fan of eBay (I just can’t get enough of it). It’s funny to see all the stuff people are trying to sell, and some of the prices items bring are crazy. I was a swap meet guy for a long time, and now that I’m so busy with J&P, it’s nice to be able to go online and look around for things I’m wanting. eBay gives me a little of the same “let’s make a deal” feeling from my swap meet days without ever leaving home.

Want more? Check out this video of John talking about some of the challenges and opportunities associated with starting J&P Cycles and nurturing and supporting its growth:

By |2015-04-15T14:59:15+00:00December 16th, 2009|Categories: J&P Team Members|Tags: , , , , , |17 Comments

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  1. James Casci August 25, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Would like to address Mr Parham. You should find out on a hands on basis as to what is going on with JP Cycles . I ordered 2 tires on August8th, received the rear tire only and been given the run around by Holly- someone from customer service and a few other people at JP BLOWING SMOKE. It is a warehouse- not a haystack. It’s a tire-not a needle. Never have had anything like this happen with JP . I’ve been told I have to wait my turn to get the tire. I’ve been told ” have a great day on two wheels”. Would like to but I need tires.

  2. Stephen Angevine July 6, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Please cancel order W2213552 – I have spent 4 hours plus trying to get an order update and ultimately, barring any kind of usable information as to when I might be able to expect the mirrors, I have been unsuccessfully trying to cancel this order.

    I thought the order was cancelled on June 17th but just today I received an email update telling me that you have no information as to when you expect to ship anything but that as soon as you know that you will let me know. I am guessing that the email came today because I placed the order a month ago today.

    Please be advised that I have instructed my credit card to reject/bar/refuse any further charges from JP Cycles – if you try to charge my card, you will be rejected – if you ship the items anyway then I have zero confidence that I will ever be able to speak to anyone in customer service to get any kind of return authorization to send them back.

    Maybe I will just ask my credit card to change my number.


    Stephen Angevine
    Disappointed Customer

    • J&P Cycles July 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm


      I’m very sorry to hear about the trouble you are experiencing with your order, I have forwarded your information to James Dean, he will be able to help you resolve this issue.

      Thank you for your patience on this matter,

      J&P Cycles

    • James Dean July 11, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Stephen, per our phone conversation I apologize for the frustrations our debacle had caused. I thank you for sharing your concerns in this so we may correct these issues to better ourselves in this area in the future. I also submitted the request for the refund as well. If there is anything I can help with in the future please reach out to me directly at james [dot] dean [at] jpcycles [dot] com Thank you for choosing J&P Cycles and have a great day on 2 wheels.

  3. Richard W. Longden Sr. June 26, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    To whom it consurn.
    You people @customer service has sent e-mail with my name and NO infoe about my order .
    Ilike to know what is going on.
    My order #M1432313 after 3 months with NO answer.

    Richard W. Longden Sr.

    • J&P Cycles June 28, 2016 at 3:27 pm


      I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you, I have forwarded your information to our customer service team. I will follow up and make sure they get back to you. Have a great day on 2 wheels!

  4. Sheila Donatelli June 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I have had my money taken and my account over drafted. We ordered parts and cancelled one. At first the money was put in my account but double the amount. We were HONEST and informed JP of this. They took it out and then charged for the part cancelled. Said it would be back in my account 3-5 days…still not there. THIS IS THEFT.

    • J&P Cycles June 9, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Sheila, I apologize for your inconvenience. If you reach out to me at james [dot] dean [at] jpcycles [dot] com and provide me with your customer and order information I will be glad to look into this and help with a resolution. Thank you for choosing J&P Cycles and have a great day on 2 wheels.

  5. William Hominick June 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I have made many purchases, as well as travel to J & P Cycles 2x things. Now lately, I order the product and received an email that it was shipped the email was sent about a week and a half ago. Well I called today to find out about it and I was told that it wasn’t shipped and that there was an error and that it would ship maybe Monday. When I asked who I can contact as far as the owner, I was told no I can’t receive that information and they disconnected the call on the chat line. When I try to call the chat line again, I waited 10 minutes and no one came back to it so it appears it’s a single person. Is this the way that the power hands really want their customer service to react to us? It’s interesting, reading the previous comments, but this seems to be a culture, one that I’m sure the owners would not want. It certainly will provide me with information as they make additional purchases for my tree motorcycles. This incident makes me suggest go elsewhere

    • William Hominick June 7, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Received a call from J&P Cycle today. Very apologetic regarding chat line handling and product delay. Great to know that a company cares about their customers enough to reach out to them when there’s a problem. Changes my own feelings about J&P Cycle toward more positive. I’m sure they understand there’s a shipping issue and are working on resolving it. As far as the chat, all of us have a bad day now and then. Again, the fact that they called says a lot about their customer service. Thanks, appreciate the reach out and look forward to receiving my purchase.

  6. Lisa Titus May 10, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Since the changes, shipping is a nightmare! I’ve been waiting a full week (6 business days) for something in stock that should “ships in 1-2 days”, that still hasn’t shipped. Its been “in packaging” for days. Every single order is that way this year. Its very disappointing. I am a business owner that evolved my business practices based on the dependability previously provided, and I must say that your company has continued to fail me this year and I have had to start using other vendors, sadly. More items are not being stocked. Its been beyond frustrating. I would like to give praise to Emily and Corey in the IA showroom, they are ALWAYS courteous and helpful, we love them!

    We also liked beinable to go to the showroom and leave with our purchase, which is impossible this year since there is nothing in stock there, another sad change!

  7. GEORGE RACE April 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I would like to talk to Zach Parham bout a serious customer service issue i had with one of his team leads i think he would want to hear about .

  8. joseph seward March 23, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Dear Mr. Parham. first I would like to say that I was impressed with your business and the challanges it endured. I am writting you spacifically because I placed an order with your company order # W2046821 on the 14th of March 2016 and still have not recieved my order, nor have I received any coorespondance as to when It will ship. I am truly disappointed because I was excited about my order. I sent an email earlier and had no response. I was told someone would contact me in 24 hours and that did not happen. Sir, I am a retired Mairne Corps Veterian, I served for twenty two years of faithful srevice an endured combat and have been diagnosed with PTSD. The only pleasure I have is riding.
    Please tell me that this is not the way your company treat combat veterians. Please send me an email as to when I can exspect my order. Thank You and Semper Fi.

    • J&P Cycles March 24, 2016 at 8:08 am

      I would like to start by thanking you for your service, you are a hero. Please reach out to customerservice [at] jpcycles [dot] com with attention to James. He is one of our best and will be able to assist you with your order. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you, we have been experiencing issues with our new warehouse location but are working hard to solve them so we can better serve our loyal customers like you. Thank you for your patience and your service!


  9. […] owner of J&P Cycles, John Parham recently took first place in the X1 Class for Italian Touring Motorcycles built before 1979 at […]

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    • michael e hines jr July 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      im trying to find out if j&p cycles got my application i filled out online i called they said i called the wrong # it seems to be impossible for me to get this information can anybody help me

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