Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Big Bang

Anyone who's been into the custom H-D scene for a long of time will certainly know the name Gary Bang. As a matter of fact, there was a time (in SoCal), if you walked into any Harley dealer or custom bike shop, practically the only aftermarket parts you'd see on the walls were Gary's in their familar orange and yellow packaging.

Stumbling upon this box in my garage prompted this post. It's from a FL rear wheel brake cylinder purchased at Motorcycles Only in 1992. Remember them? That's where I bought my '70. I kept the box since I thought the graphic was cool. The good old days. Not only made in USA but California to boot!

The Bang family has been into motorcycles as long as long as motorcycles themselves have existed. I believe Gary's grandfather tinkered with building a motorcycle even before Mr. Harley and the Davidson brothers came up with their own first motobike.

An ad from Street Chopper circa 1972.

For many years you'd still see Gary at swapmeets (like Long Beach), selling parts from his big yellow delivery truck. Then one day I realised, you don't see him there anymore. So, about a year ago, I Googled his name and found that not only is he still around but, he and his family have operated an H-D dealer in Atascadero, CA for the last 20 or so years.

The 3 images below are enhanced photos from his website that are no longer posted.

Here's an old picture of Gary. I believe he was a distributor of these popular sissybars. I had one on my first Sportster and bought another one at the swap meet a few years back.

Some of Gary's old pals.

Some of you might recongnize this trike. It's the trike from the cover of the 2nd issue of Big Bike magazine.


Noot said...

Looks like a 64 or 65 CH with H gas tank. Cool pic !

Irish Rich said...

That Harley dealership goes back farther than that.

In the late '70's-early '80's, when Harley unleashed their legal teams on everybody for copyright and trademark infringements, the very first two places they went after were Gary Bang, and Joe's Motorcycle Novelties.

When the dust settled, and the lawyers were paid, somehow out of the whole deal - I don't know the details - Bang got that dealership OK'd as part of some kind of settlement with H-D. Joe's MCN went out of business.

drsprocket said...

Chris, Had Gary as the guest speaker at our Dixon meet banquet a few years back. Someday I'll relate some stories of how Bob Ross got his business started and where most of it is today. Doc

"LOUIE" said...

One of my best friends That I grew up with, his dad Wally was the shop manager for Gary. When were 10 yrs old we would ride our mongoose bmx bikes to gary's shop after school. Gary would put us to work and had us sweep the shop and clean bikes. He would give us like ten bucks each. Alot of money for a ten yr old in 1980. We would go to thrifty and buy the candy cigarettes.. The ones that blew candy dust... That would mimic smoke. I remember being at the shop and watching HA pull up about 60 deep. I was so cool to
see them roll up.. It also scared the shit outta me. The
bikes were so loud. My buddy and I would park our Bmx bikes next to there bikes and have our candy cigarettes rolled up in our sleeves... Haha. I still have a brand new
set of Anderson pegs that Gary gave me. Gary and Mary bang were and are great people. Those
were such great times. cool post. Thanks for bringing back my childhood.

Chris K said...

Rich, After posting, I thought about Gary's logo and how at some point (probably in the early eighties ),Gary was forced to stop using his bar and shield logo. If you can't beat them, join them.

Doc, I'd heard that Bob Ross got started with stuff from Eddie Ryan's H-D dealership in San Pedro. Whatever happened to Troy Ross?

Louie, thanks for your story.

Noot, that Sportster appears to be mish mash oif different years. Forks and fender are 70-72, Rocker boxes (notched), 71 up, 65 and earlier Horse shoe oil bag, and a 66 up Oval aircleaner.

steevenb43 said...

Thanks Chris - I always come away from a visit to your blog more informed and happier.

You do a great job, appreciate the effort

Anonymous said...

Taiwan Ted has been selling parts of questionable quality under the Gary Bang name in his catalog without the permission of Gary Bang. Beware