TWMX All Access: ZLT

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When Darren and Danny Ebberts were growing up in Southern California’s O.C., they used to ride their bikes to the old Pit Stop on Chapman Avenue, which was a well-known parts stop on the way to Saddleback Park. Their mission? Collecting all the moto stickers they could get their hands on.

These days, they’re making plenty of stickers of their own at ZLT, plus a whole lot of other goodies. Darren explains. “I bought ZLT from a guy named Ted about four years ago. He’d been doing name plates for the back of chest protectors. After he became a partner in the Perris motorcycle track he’d let it kind of slide, so I bought the company from him.”

“Now along with name plates for the back of chest protectors, we do custom graphics for complete bikes, pre-printed number backgrounds, jersey lettering, and butt patches. The company went from basically a bunch of stuff packed into an enclosed trailer to being a regular company.”

“Up until recently we actually had two businesses. Sunset Sign Design, and ZLT. We’ve decided that ZLT was making enough money to sell Sunset, and just focus solely on the motocross industry instead of doing both.”

“We have a lot of the amateur guys as customers, as well as Turbo Reif and Jeremy Israel on the Supercross scene. We just did about ten name plates for the back of Troy Lee chest protectors…all their amateur guys who are doing Lake Whitney. Guys like Ben Lamay, Josh Grant, and Chris Nihan.”

“For the jerseys we’re now adding colors to our normal jerseys and then we’re working on a new process that will give us full print capabilities to be able to put multiple colors and fades, as well as colors for the front, so all the sponsors’ colors are correct.”


“We’re doing butt patches for Nathan Ramsey and Ronnie Renner. They aren’t the thermal bond, because with those you have to order 300 pieces, and go to the Orient to get ’em. Ours are all smooth, but they last just as long and are way more economical for doing smaller runs.”


When it comes to custom bike graphics, ZLT also specializes in small runs…something that makes it more palatable for riders on a budget.   Darren says, “You can do one set, or a hundred sets or more. We can take a chicken-scratch idea from the customer and turn it into a full-size graphic kit, including the fenders and the fork guards. We recently did some special Louis Vouitton graphics for TransWorld that were pretty funny.”


“When you think about it, custom graphics are really inexpensive compared to say buying a set of stock graphics. Those range from $50 to $100, and ours range from $80 to $150, and you’re getting it with your sponsors, the colors you want, and it matches your bike and you’re not advertising for someone who’s not even doing anything for you. It’s really cost-effective that way.”

“On the graphics, it’s a crack-up what people will give us for their ideas. It’s like a two-year-old drew the, and Scott turns them into some pretty awesome-looking graphics.”


“With all the other stuff like the pre-printed numbers, if you order them it takes somewhereetween two to five days to get them done and shipped out to you. If you’re picking them up it’s even sooner than that.”


“We get some people, especially on the pipe side of the four-strokes, who really struggle to install them without wrinkles. Once you watch us do it, it’s a pretty simple process, but it takes patience, and for a rookie it takes a couple hours to get all of them on nice and even. We charge $20 to put them on. We’re really not making money, that’s just a service. It takes us an hour, so it’s not very profitable. But it’s definitely a service that makes it easy.”

“Riders can supply their own plastic, but a lot of times they’re getting worn out anyway, so they’ll tell us to get them plastic and we just charge what the store would charge, and we’ll install the graphics for them.”

“On the back panels that we do, they come ready to go. Some of the other companies will send them to you as a bunch of stickers, and you’ve got to put them on. But there are so many compound curves on this, and the material’s a lot thinner, so it’s not as forgiving. It’s a one-chance deal. We don’t charge for that. It’s just part of the price for buying them.”


ZLT is also known for their on-site production at major amateur races. “We actually have two trailers now. We can go out to the tracks and make the name plates and jersey lettering, and on occasion for some of the bigger races we’ll do all the pre-printed number backgrounds and everything out at the races, too.”

“At the World Mini we do a lot, handling something like 1,000 riders there. We bring five or six guys out there to work, and we’re working ten-hour days taking care of everybody. It’s definitely our best. We also go to Ponca City.”

“We’re trying to stick solely to motorcycles. We do some off-road car stuff…that’s what I race. One of my brothers races off-road cars, and another one races USAC midgets, and some race karts. They use the same kind of heavy graphic material we use, so it lasts a lot longer than some of the other companies that are doing them. So we do some stuff for that, but pretty much we’re trying to keep it solely motorcycles. We also do projects as large as the graphics for the Motosport Outlet semi.”


“Another thing that we’re working on right now is our own private-label graphics. We’re working on XR/CR 50s stuff, because that’s such an easy market with one style of bike. So you’re not trying to make 15 designs for 15 kinds of bikes. We have three or four already, but we’re really going to market it and push it and see if we can get them in all the stores. We’re trying to go for the more mass-production stuff as well as the custom market. We feel there’s some room for us to make some more unique and cool-looking designs.”

Currently, the hunt is also on for a new location to house ZLT, since the guys want to move from their current location in Corona, CA, to somewhere closer to their home in Canyon Lake. But wherever they land, one thing’s for sure…there will be a new generation of kids stopping by on a mission to collect stickers.


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