With a passion for motorcycles and expertise in engineering, industrial design, welding and fabrication, brothers Dave and James Kaye provided the perfect combination to start Detroit Brothers Custom Cycles, a small-scale manufacturer of custom motorcycles with distinct designs.
“Our bikes are very unique,” says Dave Kaye. “They appeal to riders like me and my brother, the generation that used to snowboard and ride BMX bikes when we were younger.”
“Customers come to us because they want something fun and exotic that no one else will have,” explains Dave. “If you look at our bikes, they are totally different than anything else on the market.” With that in mind, Detroit Brothers' approach to each bike design is all about differentiation. “While all of our bikes are similar in some characteristics, none of them is exactly the same as the other,” says Dave.
The first step is talking to the customer to get an idea of what they’re looking for. Whether it’s a color scheme or a type of engine, this initial process is what will point the Kaye brothers in the right direction. Then it’s all in their hands.
With a strong background in industrial design and engineering, Dave has the flair for designing bikes and parts that are both creative and technologically innovative. James, a classically trained sculptor and fine artist from the Center of Creative Studies in Detroit, brings years of welding and fabrication experience. This unmatched combination is what sets Detroit Brothers apart and allows for each bike built to become a one-of-a-kind work of art. “I will do a lot of the initial design and conceptualization of the bike,” explains Dave, “and then James will come in and do the fabrication.”
Challenges: Communicating unique product designs
Because everything Detroit Brothers does is custom made, communication is essential. The customer cannot walk into the showroom and see the bike they are buying. They are investing a considerable amount of money into a product that they will not see until it’s done, so there is some natural apprehension that comes with it.
“The more accurate a model we can show the customer of what they are getting, the more it helps the customer understand upfront what they’re getting so there are no surprises along the way,” says Dave.
The Solution: Using CimatronE designs to communicate externally and internally
To support Dave Kaye in his designs, no other software has been as helpful as CimatronE. “Doing design work in CimatronE is my favorite part of the day,” he says.
The transparency and ease of CimatronE was a key factor for Dave from the get go: “It has great functionality, and working in 3D makes the entire process more efficient, not to mention the end-result. The user interface is very easy to use, very simple to understand. I was able to start using the software in a matter of hours. I find it very intuitive, unlike some of the other software that I used before.”
“I started out designing parts and frames. Then one customer really wanted to see what the bike will look like so I decided to put the entire bike into CimatronE. The customer loved it, and since then I have been doing it for every bike we make,” says Dave.
“It gives me the ability to really show the customer what we’re talking about. This is what I want to build for you. This is what you’re agreeing to. Once they agree to it, I have everything ready to go right there.”
CimatronE has also helped streamline the internal process of taking the design into production. “Once we go into production, there’s no guesswork. My machinist can load my files directly into the milling center, and the people at the shop know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing because they know what the bike will look like.”
“Because CimatronE is so powerful yet easy to use, it has enabled us to become more customer-friendly and more efficient in our internal processes, while still allowing us to maintain the small shop environment that makes us unique,” says Dave Kaye.