When Eddie Trotta was at home recovering from cancer in 1991, he used his free time to build himself a motorcycle. The thing turned out so well, he decided to start building them for others, and before he knew it, Trotta became one of the country's premier bike builders. Since those humble beginnings, Trotta is now in his fourth location, a 30,000-square-foot shop that includes a bike-building area the size of an airplane hangar. Trotta and his team have also appeared twice now on Discovery Channel's Biker Build Off, a show that required them to crank out a chopper in just ten days. Typically, it takes six months or more to produce custom bikes, which can cost in the six figures. The company makes about ten to 15 of them a year, but Trotta has plans to significantly increase that number. Just recently, Thunder bought two new fabricating machines -- at $100,000 each -- which stamp out the uniquely shaped metal needed for custom bikes. Thunder also recently started selling Big Dog bikes that go for about $30,000 each, much less than the custom ones built by Thunder. The bike that helped Trotta win the first Biker Build Off, a silver chopper with purple and blue flames, costs a cool $85,000. It comes with a six-speed tranny, diamond-cut cylinders, a 131-cubic-inch engine that puts out 140 horses, and a double-shot of testosterone. It's not a bad way to beat cancer, or whatever's ailing you.
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