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Jesse Gatlin has built a reputation in the motorcycle world on the track and in the shop with years of mechanical and racing experience.
Born in Mississippi in 1956, he was raised in Compton, CA. During high school he discovered his love of motorcycles, feeling happier driving to the beach than being in school. He spent time racing his Suzuki 380 at the track, heading to Irwindale on Wednesday nights to drag race. During that time he started working on his own bike doing head work, discovering that he had a lot of mechanical talent. After graduating he spent a short time as an accountant, which provided the foundation for his future business endeavors. But Jesse decided to step out of the office and pursue his love of bikes. By the age of 21 Jesse had his first bike shop, Gatlin Cycle Service, located in Compton, where he spent three years installing transmissions and doing tune-ups. During his next venture at a new shop in Buena Park, CA, Competition Plus, where he built upon his skills working on big bore kits, cylinder heads, and building complete motorcycles, including complete drag bikes.
Not only did Jess build bikes, but he competed on the race track with them as well. Racing Pro Stock Jesse held two national records, both at over 140 miles per hour. Being one of very few guys to build their own bikes and hold records at the same time, Jesse used his success on the track to build his business reputation. He would build bikes for customers, take the bike to the track accompanied by the customer, and race the bike to show the high speeds results his work was capable of. It was an excellent business practice that was a big success and resulted in very satisfied customers.
No matter what, Jesse always put safety first. He has been quoted (in Black Biker Magazine) as saying “motorcycle drag racing is a real safe sport. I think it’s one of the safest there is.” As a professional racer, mechanic and builder Jesse has always screened his customers to make sure they were capable riders with the skill to handle the high performance and high speed motorcycles they paid for.
Today Jesse’s experience is available for a new generation of motorcycle enthusiasts. He is an accomplished machinist; he is also an expert in horsepower development, performance modifications and accessories. Today he specializes in performing magic upon Japanese engines for match racers. No matter what kind of motorcycle he works on he always delivers fine hand-crafted, high performance machines.