In 1984, sparked by Fred Kodlin's vision of creating custom bikes in a way the world hadn't seen before, Kodlin Motorcycles was established. Pushing the boundaries of what a motorcycle can be, the Kodlin name has built a reputation for original bike building, cutting-edge product design and high-quality manufacturing. Now available worldwide, Fred and son Len have created a hybrid of accessories and design – inspired by both American and European influences, Kodlin accessories have distinct fit, form and functional characteristics not found on the market today.
The Man Who Started It All
Fred grew up in Germany and built his first Bonanza Handlebar for a Zuendapp Supersport he was riding as a teenager. After finishing his apprenticeship as a welder, he completed both a Master in Vehicle Construction and Blacksmithing. He opened Kodlin Motorcycles in 1984 and started to manufacture his own products two years later. After the introduction of the EVO engine, Harley was booming. Fred started to import hundreds of bikes a year from the US, customizing them in his unique style and then selling them to customers all over Europe. He started to build complete Custombikes and competing with them at legendary Bike Shows like Rats Hole and Boardwalk Shows in Daytona Beach, FL. Year after year he won Best of Show, gaining respect and recognition of builders all over the world. Engineering and building custom bikes with two front cylinders, no hub at the front and rear wheel, hidden brake and secondary drive systems are just a few of his fabricated inventions. Fred continues to drive the daily operations at Kodlin Motorcycles at its headquarters in Germany and is involved in every bike build and product life cycle. His skills in the fab and metal shop are unmatched. Fred loves everything that burns gasoline: motorcycles, racecars and boats. Besides winning many Bike Shows and awards, Fred is particularly proud to have his son Len blaze his own creative path and play such a key role within the Kodlin Motorcycles team.
The Next Generation
It’s obvious to see that customizing and designing runs in Len’s DNA. Growing up around the most outstanding Custom Bikes of the world being built, Len often sketched parts and sometimes even complete bike designs. His doodling’s and drawings turned into complex graphics. Growing up in and around the workshop also gave him the skills for sheet metal work, welding and new fields of customizing, like electronics and fuel injection. He built his first Custombike when he was only 11 years old, welding his own frame and using a 125cc engine and parts he found in his dad’s workshop. He grew up in the business and has a motorcycle mechanic master’s degree. Len is involved in every aspect of building Kodlin Motorcycles including the overall concept, design and paint job. He is also leading the Mechanical Design Department; utilizing CAD design for the genuine Kodlin product line. Len was invited by Michael Lichter to join the 2017 ‘Motorcycles as Art’ exhibition at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip which he attended with his ‘Super-Moto’ version of a Harley-Davidson 750 Street. He is not only a motorcycle enthusiast; Len is a gearhead who also loves fast cars. He just can’t keep things stock.
The Motorcycle Parts Business Expert
Holger has spent his whole life in the Motorcycle Aftermarket business. Falling in love with motorcycles as a teenager, he started Custom Chrome Europe in his early 20’s. Under his leadership CCE became the leading Harley-Davidson aftermarket parts distributor in Europe. In 2008 he was promoted to CEO of the parent company and moved to California. In 2014 he became President of Kuryakyn and Mustang Seats at Motorsport Aftermarket Group where he led each brand’s unique vision, product design, development and manufacturing initiatives. He was named ‘Industry Leader of the Year’ at the V-Twin Expo in 2010 and Powersports Business Magazine ‘Executive of the Year’ in 2015. Fred and Holger’s paths crossed in 1998 where they developed a deep friendship and business partnership as well. It has always been a dream of theirs to team up and offer authentic Kodlin products to the US, expanding it from Europe to the rest of the world. Making that dream a reality in 2020, Holger runs the day-to-day operations of the US organization, managing product development and overseeing sourcing and manufacturing processes.
Driving the business forward is always top of mind, and one very important component to doing that is enjoying the sport; being out on the road riding. Taking countless of trips from California to South Dakota for Bikeweek together or simple smaller day trips, riding is at the very heart and epicenter of this company and always will be.