OCC who?

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    WEST MILFORD — Orange County, NY isn't the only place you can buy a custom made chopper. Tucked behind an auto parts store on Union Valley Road in West Milford is a small storefront and fabricating shop with some big plans for the future. Accurate Customs has been in operation for less than a year, but they've already rolled out more than a few custom bikes. At first glance, Jim Crosby and Dennis Kooken seem improbable business partners, but a closer look reveals an interesting and well-rounded combination. Dennis is a West Milford High School graduate who spent most of his adolescence immersed in mechanics. When he wasn't working in his father's transmission shop, he was working on a variety of cars and motorcycles for his own use. "That's where I learned my tinkering," he says. But that may be a little self-deprecating. According to Crosby, Kooken is a genius. "A customer can describe something and Dennis will instantly understand not only what the guy wants, but how to make it happen. It's complicated physics and he just gets it naturally." Kooken is a quiet, unassuming guy with a wife and dog named — what else — Harley. He appears completely at home in the shop where he designs and builds (and tinkers away problems) on motorcycles. Jim Crosby, who hails from Hardyston, seems a rather unlikely character to find in a custom cycle shop. He has a degree in accounting and business administration from Northwestern University and spent 20 plus years working in the hotel industry. A couple of years ago he abandoned corporate America to build bikes. Ironically, Crosby doesn't even ride. He brings his business acumen and a passion for excellence to the company. Crosby says the thing he most wants to offer his customers is high quality. Accurate Customs does everything from oil changes to build-from-scratch work on cycles. Building a custom chopper or making additions or modifications on an existing machine is, by its very nature, a constant puzzle. Retro-fitting or cobbling together parts often results in a poor running machine if the mechanic isn't on top of every issue. Getting everything right, says Jim, is the key to providing service that's a cut above. So, how do these guys feel about their far more famous, far richer counterparts from Orange County Choppers? Crosby bears them no ill will. "Listen, those guys have done wonders for the whole industry. And right now there's all the baby boomers who used to ride and a lot of them are picking it up again," he explained. It takes between two and four months for Accurate Customs to design and build a chopper from scratch. You can get one for as little as $20,000 and as much as "whatever your imagination can dream up," says Kevin.