Creator of the FX brand of motorcycles is Mike Hodgkinson, a native of New Zealand and an experienced entrepreneur. At the age of fifteen, Mike literally ran away to join the circus. Selling shots at metal ducks led to sales of investments and professional development programs, as well as top spot in the marksmanship competition at his training as a dispatch rider and radio operator with the Royal Signals Corps, NZ Army Territorials. Mike got his first taste of running a business as a motorcycle courier, then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from the University of Canterbury. He went on to consult to small and medium businesses, and to investors looking for startup and technology opportunities. Out of this ecosystem, the concept of a new category of super-lightweight transportation evolved. Mike sold his home and went all in to form FX Bikes and recruit advisor-turned-co-founder Michael Hillman. The global financial crisis froze new capital investments in the industry and sent Mike back to lecturing and other small business sources of income. As demand and funding for recreational and sustainable transportation began to increase again, Mike led the raise of the next stage of capital FX needed to utilize thousands of hours of customer research and four generations of prototype testing to design to build the pre-production FX5 and spend several months with Michael Hillman in Europe developing relationships with suppliers and partners, getting ready for production. Mike is currently residing in Christchurch, New Zealand, working with world class electric vehicle expert, Warren Pettigrew, on the design and planning for electric and plug-in hybrid versions of the FX5 and on next stage capital raising.
Michael Hillman, who is acting as a consultant to FX Bikes, will become Chairman of FX Bikes USA as soon as the company becomes incorporated in the United States. A shareholder in the New Zealand company, Michael has been working on the FX project for a number of years. A product of the Rolls-Royce engineering training program in the UK, Michael received the first prize silver medal for his work in the final examination – Automotive Engineering for Small Scale Production. Following a career as a racing car designer that included two Formula One World Championships for Brabham Racing Developments, Michael went to work for Ford of Europe as the Product Engineer responsible for the Ford Escort Mexico, a high performance derivative of the Escort family sedan built to celebrate Ford’s success in winning the 1970 World Cup rally. At the end of 1973 Michael came to the USA at the invitation of UOP Shadow to be Chief Engineer and Team Manager of their Can-Am racing team that went on to secure the 1974 championship, winning every race in the series save one. In July 1976 he joined the engineering team at Harley-Davidson and over the next 10 years quickly moved up the organization in a series of engineering management positions including Manager/Vehicle Design and Chief Engineer/Advanced Products where he was entrusted with the responsibility for Harley-Davidson’s first ever water cooled engine. In 1987 Michael was promoted to Vice President and moved into general management where his first task was the consolidation and expansion of the company’s Contract Manufacturing division. The motivation for this entity was to avoid lay-offs and provide jobs made available by increased productivity in the motorcycle division. Some of the products produced under competitive bid contracts included 500 lb. bomb casings and suspension lugs for the air force, target drone rocket motors, lawn mower engines for Briggs & Stratton, shower doors for Kohler and so on. A special assignment to solve a serious vehicle noise problem that threatened $200 million of exports a year ensured Michael’s engineering skills were kept up to date and the project was brought home on schedule and under budget. Another assignment was the position of VP/Distribution and Logistics that had an operating budget of $45 million and a purchasing budget of $100 million. In one year on that job Michael was able to consolidate European warehousing to a single location and improve same day order fulfillment in the USA by 10%. In 1993 he was assigned the task of acquiring 49% of the Buell Motorcycle Company for Harley-Davidson, to provide the manufacturing infra-structure and to create a world-wide distribution network from scratch. Within four years the Buell Distribution Corporation had sales of $50 million. In late 1997 Michael took early retirement from Harley-Davidson to create a small chain of self-financed resort stores in the Caribbean, selling motorcycle themed souvenirs to cruise ship vacationers. This very profitable company has since been sold and continues to this day. For a number of years Michael continued to consult with Harley-Davidson on such subjects as acquisition evaluation, European product planning and engineering strategy. More recently Michael has been providing advice and counsel to Mike Hodgkinson on the FX range of motorcycles and together with Mike has been evaluating the prototypes and developing the business plan. Michael is a naturalized US citizen and a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.