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Celebrating 47 Years in Business!


When Arlin started riding this was the style. From Bob T.

With so many fly-by-night operations around these days, it is great to see an original chopper builder still rockin’ 30 years later. It’s not hard to see why he’s flourished in today’s environment, once you speak with Arlin Fatland, owner and founder of 2Wheelers motorcycle shops in Denver, Sturgis, and Daytona. He’s a mad man, who loves choppers as much as he loves beer. You name it, he’s done it and enjoyed everyday.

Building bikes for a living is not about money. It’s about the rush a man receives when that bikes fires for the first time. It’s about unwrapping that new paint job or a Duanne Ballard seat. It’s creativity personified. It’s that buzz in the seat of his pants when he finished welding the perfect sissy bar, or that bracket he handmade and machined fits. It’s the crowning achievement of having that project bike glisten under a saloon’s neon lights for the first time, tinkling as the engine cools. All the money in the world won’t buy any man that sensation of achievement and honor.


You’d never know this old fart is 64 years old. I suppose beer splashed on corn flakes really works.

2Wheelers was founded in 1970 in Denver, a time when choppers weren’t mainstream at all. Arlin, at 28, built his shop outta fist fights, running from the law, wars with citizens and beer cans. Bikers weren’t even considered acceptable in the ‘70s. When he opened, the chopper culture wasn’t embraced like today. The folks in the ghetto neighborhood tried to run the dirty bikers out. “One day I opened a package and found five sticks of dynamite,” Arlin said. “I’m still serving customers who shot at me in the ‘70s.” There were many nights when Arlin and his staff stood armed, at watched until dawn, to make sure 2wheelers was standing in the morning.

Those were the days when 2Wheelers was closed on Sundays and Mondays, so the clan could ride. Those were the days of dodging cops and mad citizens, fighting other young punks and building the two wheeled creations from the ground up and testing them against mile-high asphalt at 90 mph. Those were the days when the only way you were getting in after-hours was with a bottle of Jack, a gun, or a hot broad.

Real old-time bike shops, the few left standing, exude coolness. When you walk into 2Wheelers these days, you can tell it’s been there over 30 years from the surrounding history. You get the sense that whatever you need, they have or know where to get it. I know, when I can’t find a part in my area, 2Wheelers has it. So, I ride down to the city, experience the vibe, and get the part no one else has in stock.

photo6-aboutusThey have such an experienced staff that when you ask for a part they can help you whether it’s a stock Harley peice or a custom component for a project. They’ve worked on every style and model built for 36 years. Arlin has also built virtually every style from bobbers, his favorite, to late ‘70s Arlen Ness Pencil Sharpener Sportsters. “They handled like a wheel barrow fulla wet concrete,” Arlin said, “but that was the style at the time and we rode ‘em everywhere.” The guys at 2wheelers are real bikers who know their shit, a fact evident in their constant project builds. You can find everything from a Sporty bobber to a classic Knucklehead chop, all meticulously assembled and fabricated to match the style of the era, and all meant to be ridden hard. “I like to demonstrate what’s possible to younger riders,” Arlin said. “We support all the local shows and take up to 12 rollers as examples of what a young guy can build on a limited budget.”

Arlin has a vast collection of custom bikes. We’ll bring you a feature on one from time to time, when he’ll dust one off and roll it out in the Colorado sun. Arlin is working with with the Easyriders crew to support the growth of the Denvers Easyriders show in April. “I hauled 20 bikes to the show last year,” Arlin said. “They’re leased a new venue for this year and we’ll pass out fliers all year long. I even recommended a local biker band for entertainment, the Brethren ‘n Fast.” The population of Denver is now 3 million and he believes the show should rock like Donnie Smith’s in Minneapolis, with enough support from locals.


Imagine if you had a successful shop in the same location for 36 years. You’d have a few part accumulated, too.

Arlin said that back in the ’70s it was hard to find custom parts, and if he truly wanted a unique chopper, he had to fabricate many components from scratch. Being at the top of the motorcycle industry has its advantages because he gets to see trends come and go, then resurface. Not being one to follow trends, Arlin has always tried to learn something new in each build he does, and if you look at his bikes over the years you will notice they have only one thing in common, attention to detail. He builds what he feels will have longevity in a business that changes everyday, and although he notices what is going on around him, he, like many other top builders who have been in the business, keeps building bikes that are timeless yet innovative. It’s kind of like Rock n’ Roll, it never dies, it just keeps getting appreciated by more and more people.

In 1973, while staggering around City Park in Sturgis, Arlin noticed that no shops existed to help guys with parts and service. He bought a building in Downtown Sturgis and for years it serviced all the Harley riders who rode to the Black Hills Rally. At the time riders needed parts, oil and tires. He discovered similer services lacking in Daytona and two years later opened 2Wheelers in Daytona and of course he now rolls into Florida for Biketoberfest.

Today Arlin tries to focus on providing parts and services to his customers at an affordable price and doesn’t pay much attention to wide tires and bling. His goal is to open the creative chopper door to everyone. “Young guys want to build old school bikes,” Arlin said, “so I try to provide frames starting at just $900 and rollers to give them the basic platform at affordable prices.” He believes the younger crowd is the future of chopper building.

photo9-aboutus“It’s all stemmed from what’s in my blood,” Arlin said. He caters to everyone by having a huge selection of parts and having stuff that no one else has. Being one of the founding members of the infamous Hamsters has its benefits as well, and he has always been part of an elite membership of builders who continue to define the industry and will continue to push the envelope in their unique way.

Hell, the crew at Bikernet is planning a Mudflap Trucker Girl project inspired by Arlin. If you want to get some of your own trucker girls or the quirkiest stuff on the planet for bikes see what 2Wheelers is all about, visit 2Wheelers online at www.2wheelersmc.com. Watch for features on Arlin’s classic customs and 2Wheelers products in the Bikernet news.


Article reprinted from Bikernet.com
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