Fred Kodlin

Fred Kodlin

Pushing the boundaries of what a motorcycle can be, Fred Kodlin has built a reputation for radical custom bike building, cutting-edge product design and high-quality manufacturing.  

Fred Kodlin grew up in Germany and started riding at age 13. Loving everything that burns gasoline; motorcycles, racecars, and boats, he built his first Bonanza Handlebar for a Zuendapp Supersport he rode as a teenager. 


After finishing his apprenticeship as a welder, Fred worked for a heating company. Although he was making a decent living, his passion for motorcycles and customizing only grew stronger. He wanted to create things that were different and unique; things he didn’t see on bikes or on the streets.  

Paving the way to owning his own business, Fred completed a master’s degree, in Vehicle Construction and Blacksmithing. He opened the doors to Kodlin Motorcycles in 1984 and started manufacturing his own products two years later. After the introduction of the Evo engine, Harley-Davidson’s popularity exploded in Europe.  

Fred started to import hundreds of bikes a year from the US, customizing them in his unique style and then selling them to customers throughout the European market. Always loving a challenge and striving to be the best, he started to build ground-up custom bikes and presented them to the world at the legendary Bike Shows like Rats Hole and Boardwalk Shows in Daytona Beach, FL. Competing among the best talent in the world, Fred started amassing numerous Best of Show trophies, along with the respect and recognition of his American peers. He loved the excitement and competition and it only drove him to keep evolving.  

Fred introduced fabrications that featured amazing details and engineering that had never been seen before like an Evo engine with two front cylinders, hubless front and rear wheels and hidden brake and secondary drive systems.  

Kodlin Motorcycles, under Fred’s leadership and vision for over 36 years, has built a reputation for unique hybrid designs. Being inspired by both American and European influences, Kodlin bikes and accessories have distinct form and functional characteristics recognizable as implicitly Kodlin.  

Fred continues to drive the daily operations at Kodlin Motorcycles at its headquarters in Germany and is involved in every bike build and product life cycle. His skills in the fab and metal shop are unmatched. In 2020 another dream came true for Fred when Kodlin USA was incorporated with its headquarters in Morgan Hill, California.  

Besides winning many Bike Shows and awards, Fred is particularly proud to have his son Len now blazing his own creative path within the Kodlin Motorcycles team and continuing the Kodlin legacy.  

The US and particularly the Black Hills, feel like a second home to Fred. He’s been attending Sturgis Bike Week since the late 80’s and riding with his fellow Hamsters since 2004. Being inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is an incredible and unbelievable honor for Fred, a seemingly intangible accolade as he started out and steadily built and achieved his dreams. Fred lives his life going against the grain and to be recognized and celebrated in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame where he can serve as inspiration for generations of riders to come, will be forever cherished. 

Back to all Hall Of Fame Members Back to 2021 Hall of Fame