Founder, Jim Preisler’s record setting past, set Khrome Werks up for a legendary future
January 20, 2017

Jim Preisler knew he was made for speed at an early age.

Growing up in Minnesota, Preisler was inspired by his older brother John, and began riding his 125 cc motorcycle at 13 years old. Spending much of his days on the track, Preisler rode around, passing the time during his brother’s races, all the while falling in love with all things motorcycle.

“I was fascinated with the independence, the freedom and the speed,” Preisler said. “The only way you could experience something like this at that time was on a motorcycle. I started racing locally and became intrigued with the mechanics and engineering of the bikes.”

Before Preisler began designing motorcycles and parts, he helped his father fabricate different cabinetry and products for local contractors and architects. He grew up in the shop and quickly learned how to take a product from the early blueprint stages all the way to the final touches.

His passion for design and mechanics followed him into his military service. Preisler enlisted in the Army in the Corp of Engineers and was stationed in Germany. Here he worked on machines, roads, and bridges. After hours, Preisler attended college level classes in mechanical engineering and completed engineering correspondence courses through the Corp of Engineering.  

After returning home, Preisler planned on attending the University of Wisconsin further pursuing a degree in engineering, however his curiosity led him back to the racetrack and the world of motorcycles.

“Shortly after returning from Germany I bought a 1959 Triumph Bonneville,” Preisler said. “I tore it apart and built a C-modified drag bike. Then in 1966 I bought my first Harley Davidson a 900 cc Sportster.  I worked with Harley’s racing department to get the highest performing parts to start modifying my bike.”

Over the next few years Preisler made a legendary name for himself.  He built Top Gas and Top Fuel racing bikes on which he set multiple NHRA national records for top speed and elapsed time. He ended his professional racing career after setting NHRA mph and elapsed time records that also made the Guinness Sports Book of World Records.

From the Guinness Sports Record Book’s 3rd Edition:

The fastest time for a single run over 440 yards from a standing start is 8.44 seconds (terminal velocity 169.81 mph) by Jim Preisler of Minneapolis, Minnesota, riding his 2600-cc twin engine Harley-Davidson, during the National Hot Rod Association’s  U.S. National’s at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indiana, on September  3, 1973

In 1970 he was hired at Drag Specialties, where he began engineering aftermarket accessories.

“We started with designing the first modern sissy bar,” Preisler said. “Then we created the first one-piece exhaust system, which we called the Python Pipe. After designing and launching numerous new aftermarket products, I made the decision to branch off and continue engineering high performance products on my own. That was the start of Khrome Werks.”

From the start, Preisler knew he wanted to take a simple, yet sophisticated approach to building the Khrome Werks company and its products.

“I only wanted to produce products that we could manufacture at the highest quality,” Preisler said. “I went into the marketplace myself, walked the streets and discovered a clear understanding what people wanted and needed. I found the gaps in the market and then designed product that would truly speak for itself.”

This evolved into the product lines Khrome Werks still has today. Engineered with performance, fitment and consumer needs at the forefront of every design.

In April of 2015, Khrome Werks was acquired by Lincoln Industries, the largest and most diverse metal finishing company in North America. Located in Lincoln, NE their Midwest locations were one of the many synergies that the two companies shared.

“With the help of Lincoln, we rebranded and launched a new exhaust product line at the 2016 V-Twin Expo,” Preisler said. “Because of the acquisition, we have more intellectual and financial capital which will allow us produce products with unique finishes and innovations that will shake up the market.”

Preisler is looking forward to what the future holds for Khrome Werks.

“If we surround ourselves with highly talented people, we set our own limits. The company can go where it wants to go.”