topbanner ad

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Midwest Motorcycle Supply

50 Years of Ultima

The history of the St Louis, Missouri area's involvement in the custom motorcycle industry, and in the parts and accessory market specifically, is a rich one.
One that has punched above the weight of the Greater St Louis area market's hinterland by reaching out across the continental United States and internationally.


A sister company to Midwest Motorcycle Supply, Ultima Motorcycle Products can trace its origin story back to a business called E&M Motorcycle - a fabrication shop and retail store - in St Louis with Charlie Eckenrodt making parts and wrenching on local bikes.
E&M eventually became the foundation for the business that evolved into the Ultima Motorcycle Products operation we know today.

Charlie Eckenrodt - Ultima grew from Charlie's E&M Motorcycle, St Louis fabrication shop.

"Boyd Dingman’s custom bike build 'Blackbird' shows us 'how fast is done' with his stealth design work and emphasis on high performance. The dual high-performance Ultima carburetors feeding the 140 ci Ultima Competition Series engine was truly impressive. The fit and finish on this bike is of the highest caliber. 100% Beauty and Beast."

Eckenrodt opened an engine factory a few blocks down the road from his retail store, and this was where Ultima engines started to be machined and assembled.
By 1996, Ultima had become renowned in the world of custom bike building and world class bike builders and celebrity bike builders were using its engines in award-winning show bikes. The brand had also started to evolve to include Ultima frames, wheels, transmissions and more. By the late 1990s its, at that stage, Arnold, Missouri facility was bursting at the seams, and in the 2000s the move to a new-build 100,000 sq ft facility at Pevely, Missouri, saw Ultima able to establish a dyno research facility, multiple CNC machining shops, an engine assembly plant and an engine repair shop. 

This is where Ultima was able to develop the latest additions to the Ultima family of engines: the Competition Series Twin Cam replacement engines.
We here at AMD had started to see Ultima engines appearing in AMD European and World Championship of Custom Bike Building competitions and the program's affiliated custom bike shows in Europe in the early 2000s, and its El Bruto V-twins were an established 'go-to' for builders seeking that rare trifecta of power, reliability and accessible pricing. 

2 1/4 " Radium mufflers for 2017 and up M-8 Touring models feature removable high-flow performance steel baffles and a slotted channel mounting system that allows for easier installation and guarantees fitment and alignment. The ends are straight cut to accept a billet end cap, if further customization is desired; application-specific mounting clamps separately available.
Ultima 1 7/8" fishtail exhaust slip-on mufflers are available in chrome or black in 33" or 36" lengths for 1995-2016 and 2017-up Touring models. Features include a 1 3/4" inside diameter and 1 7/8" outside diameter. Sold without baffles, they ship with all necessary hardware and are available in chrome or black.

The brand's reputation among the 'Builder Community' wasn't hurt by the fact that the design of Ultima engines has always offered customizers a custom look with styling that suggests they mean business.
Ultima EVO and Shovelhead style engines won major awards. With complete drivetrains that included both left and right-side transmissions, open belt drives and starter motors, Ultima's finger was right on the pulse and its development of the product line has kept it there ever since, even as the market started to change so dramatically in the shadow of a 2007/2009 recession.

Many feared that the financial crisis would consign custom builds to history, but even though the market for complete V-twin engines is way smaller now than it was, it was the 'trickle down' from the positive press and reputation that have seen Ultima powerplants remain a popular stock replacement and performance upgrade platform option.
Indeed, with at least a dozen or more complete V-twin engine options having gone the way of the VHS cassette, Ultima is one of the few left and therefore, actually, has a substantial share of the available market at home and abroad.