Born and raised in Miami, custom bike-builder Billy Lane holds an Associate of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida International University.
His father greatly influenced Billy's interest in cars and hot rods early on; so Billy had already acquired quite a bit of mechanical knowledge, even before attending college. Then as a sophomore in 1989, he bought his first bike ...in parts and pieces. But he quickly figured-out how to put it together; and with the help of some old-timers, Billy learned a lot — and fast.
After graduating, Billy got a job working on bikes with his brother Warren, and then later went on his own. He began making custom parts as gifts for his friends; then eventually the demand grew for his now-famous 6-gun parts, leading to the 1995 formation of Choppers Inc. in Melbourne, Florida.
Billy credits much of his success to good timing --getting into the chopper scene ahead of the curve, well before choppers were considered relevant by the motorcycle industry. And now that the chopper style is credible in its own right, Billy's leadership status is undisputed. Known for his design and innovation, Billy holds 7 U.S. patents for the following Choppers Inc. parts:
- Six Gun Handlebar Riser Clamps D452,467
- Six Gun Shift Knob D441,700
- Six Gun Oil Cap D440,930
- Six Gun Foot Peg D455,374
- Six Gun Handlebar Grip D487,011
- Tumbling Dice Light D457,980
- Loaded Dice Shift Knob D473,171
Billy's work has been featured on such notable magazine covers as The Horse, Easyriders, Street Chopper, Hot Bike, as well as several international publications. He has also received numerous awards from his peers, including the 2002 Easyriders Best-Bike-Builder-of-the-Year and 2002 Easyriders Invitational Class, winning First Place Best-in-Show for his "Psycho Billy Cadillac" bike, and making famous Billy's design marvel: the 'hubless' wheel.
An accomplished writer, Billy has authored two books, both published by MotorBooks International: "Chop Fiction – It’s Not a Motorcycle Baby, It’s a Chopper" (2004), and "How To Build Old School Choppers, Bobbers and Customs" (2005). The DVD "Billy Lane's Blood Sweat and Gears Tour" was released April 2006.
Once established as a leader in the chopper industry, Billy's popularity grew exponentially with a string of television appearances, including a segment on the Speed Channel’s "Corbin’s Ride On!", in September 2003. A long-term relationship with the Discovery Channel began while shooting the first episode of "Monster Garage", after which Billy was also invited to participate in other Discovery Channel series: "Biker Build-Off" (2002-2005), and "BIG!" (June 2004). Later, his support of the U.S. Armed Forces was featured on the Discovery Channel Special, "The Billy Lane Project" (October 2005), which focused on Billy’s pride-and-joy, the "Blood Sweat & Gears Tour".
Presently, Billy's work on behalf of the U.S. military continues with a tribute bike for the U.S. Air Force, to be unveiled on Memorial Weekend 2012, at Rolling Thunder's 25th Anniversary rally in Washington D.C. The story of the build is being covered exclusively by "The Horse Backstreet Choppers" magazine, including photos and text by Billy himself.