Based in a rural area in the South of France, EMD is a relative newcomer to the motorcycle aftermarket industry and has been developing ‘Vintage Parts For Your Modern Ride’ since 2012. From day one, EMD designer Francis Villedon set out to borrow visual elements from the motorcycle roots and hot rod past to allow today’s riders to outfit their motorcycles with parts that seem to come from a more ‘analog’ era. Joining forces with EMD’s president Nicolas Pigeyre, they channeled their passion and creativity while taking advantage of the company’s fast prototyping tools and technology to design an ever-growing range of vintage-inspired parts. From R&D to CAD, sand casting and finish machining, all operations are done in France.
A selection of EMD covers for Evo Sportsters
EMD parts got a good deal of attention in Europe right out of the gate. As its product line grew, both the European public and bike builders started using EMD for their projects. The motorcycle press was very supportive too. Encouraged by a healthy growth in Europe, EMD set out to explore the North American market, attended V-Twin Expo in 2013 and debuted its products at the Born Free Show in 2014, in California. EMD-USA was promptly established and is now serving the US market. Since then, builders big and small (including one Jesse James) work with EMD. Two out of 6 bikes competing this year in Hot Bike Magazine’s Speed And Style contest use EMD components. That’s not bad for a startup company with no sizable advertising budget. The parts must have done all the talking…
But those listening weren’t all well-intentioned. One morning in late August, the EMD folks had a rude awakening when looking at their Facebook feed. A prominent European parts distributor with deep pockets, a large catalog and a extensive network of dealers was using the social media site to launch their new and ‘Exclusive’ line of parts. These parts more or less looked like carbon copies of EMD’s own products. It was all there: the rough, vintage texture of cast aluminum, the raised rib design, the contours and even the packaging. Subtle differences in grain thickness and rib layout seemed like the only clues that would allow a trained eye to tell the originals from the knock-offs…
40 Cal Customs’ Speed & Style bike.
Condemning this action, EMD’s Chief Designer Francis Villedon explains that as a rule, EMD has never, and would never copy any product currently on the market. EMD looks to fill open product positions with innovative solutions instead of jumping on a band wagon and clutter the industry with redundant copies and knock-offs.
A little over a year ago, EMD approached the California-based shop, Speed Merchant to develop alongside them a left-side engine cover for late-model Triumph Bonnevilles. On a hand-shake deal (in true biker style), Speed Merchant agreed to let EMD use the design of their existing line of Triumph bolt-on cam and sprocket covers to create a matching left-side primary and clutch cover. Today, you can customize your Bonnie both in Europe and in the US, and all over the world for that matter, thanks to EMD and Speed Merchant working together and not ripping each other off. Is there here a lesson to learn?
Concerned with the latest attack on EMD’s intellectual property, W&W Cycles reacted by placing the following message next to all EMD product they sell on their website: ‘Not here! Yeah, there is stuff out there that almost looks like the real thing and costs less. Not here at W&W CYCLES, though. If you feel like supporting product pirates rather than the originators and makers of high-quality parts for your bike, fine with us. We’re gonna stick with the real thing.’ This is a classy move that demonstrates the true biker spirit that should all strive to uphold. So on the off chance that you have access to a computer and are somewhat connected to the motorcycle world, it shouldn’t take you long to discover the identity of the parts pirates.
DJP Customs’ Evo Sportster with EMD Shovel rocker covers, ribbed cam cover and electric kicker.
EMD urges you to get informed, to be a part of the conversation, to spread the news and stay on the lookout for imitations and rip-offs, whether they target EMD or the labor of love of other hard-working people and companies. Sharing the news and using social media to put to shame those who commit those reprehensible deeds is probably one of the best tools that we, as motorcycle industry members, have at our disposal.
Get the real deal here: www.emd-part-usa.com