Platinum 1 Designs Factory Tour - Feature Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

Chad Reed wore a pretty cool-looking custom-painted Thor helmet at the U.S. Open, and we noticed that a relatively unknown company named Platinum 1 had painted it. We had seen the same logo on a few top amateur riders, including Team Green's Ryan Villopoto. We were surprised to learn this same company also sold hourmeters, which allows you to know how much time is on your bike to better track the need for maintenance. Custom helmet painting and hourmeters seemed like an interesting mix of products, so we decided to take a little tour of the company's Riverside, California, facility.Special Products Manager Erin Cavner was excited to have us visit the facility. We expected to see a stereotypical operation consisting of a few guys painting helmets but were surprised to find just the opposite. We quickly learned that Platinum 1 is a very large company that paints some of the custom Harleys that you can buy at Harley-Davidson dealers. So how did this translate to the motocross market? As with many companies in the motorcycle market, owner Kraig Kavanagh is an enthusiast and has kids who race amateur motocross. Since they were spending a lot of time at the track, it made sense to do some custom helmet painting. The high-quality designs quickly caught on, and Platinum 1 now has several top riders showcasing its designs. It also sells limited-edition custom helmets where the design is limited to 100 signed and numbered lids. It lets you have a custom, hand-painted helmet at a reasonable price. The company hit it big when Thor asked if it could pull off something cool for Reed for the U.S. Open—with about a week's notice. With the current AMA Supercross Champion showing off its work, Platinum 1 won't likely be an unknown for long.We were still curious about how a custom paint shop ended up marketing hourmeters. "I was just a moto dad trying to solve a problem we had with my kids' bikes," Kavanagh noted. "Everything with an engine—boats, tractors, cars—has some way to know when maintenance is needed. I just wanted to know how much time my kids' bikes had on them so we knew when maintenance was needed." After his local dealer could not locate such a product (even though a few companies do sell such an item; they must not market it well), Kavanagh decided to source one himself and market it through Platinum 1. It is a very simple product that hooks to the spark plug wire and tracks the running time of your engine. This is especially critical with today's four-strokes, which can experience catastrophic failure if proper maintenance is neglected.Platinum 1 is an impressive business that has proven itself worthy and capable of doing work for Harley-Davidson, so we can likely expect the California company to continue to grow in the motorcycle business.Platinum 1 Designs: www.platinum1design.com; 951/328-9009

Platinum 1 paints some of the limited edition Harley's found at dealerships.
Platinum 1 has produced many custom "trophy" helmets including this one.
This "trophy" helmet will be awarded at the 2004 Mini Olympics this Thanksgiving.
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