Steed: Built to Ride

Company History


John Covington, President

Covington attended Arizona State University studying advertising and General Business. He then moved to Los Angeles to study Product Design at the world-renowned Art Center, College of Design in 1980. The Art Center is one of the most progressive colleges in Industrial Design, and also lists as one its Alma matter Willie G. Davidson, Director of Styling at Harley-Davidson.

In the early 80's Covington purchased his first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Not completely satisfied with the performance fit or finish of his production model Harley, Covington did a complete tear down and personally customized his machine. This very motorcycle was chosen to be featured in the "Official Harley-Davidson® Dreamgirls calendar."

Soon Covington was busy customizing bikes for friends, and in 1989 he picked up an account building bikes for Thunder Road, an aftermarket shop on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. To accommodate all the work coming his way, he set up his own shop, Surgical-Steeds®, in Sun Valley, California. The name implies the "SURGICAL precision and cleanliness in details in augmenting the Iron Horse or STEED"

While operating out of an industrial complex in California, Covington's bikes became a mainstay in the H-D calendar. With four of the twelve bikes featured in the 1993 issue being customized by Steeds, it soon became obvious that the demand for Steed customized Harleys was going to deserve a full-service retail location.

In 1991 the Los Angeles riots broke out, and this was the impetus for the Covington family to relocate back to John's roots in Arizona. A location in Scottsdale, a suburb to the northeast of Phoenix was chosen. The expanded version of Covington’s' retail vision was incorporated in Arizona dubbed Surgical-Steeds Classic American Motorcycles Inc..

With the growth of the Aftermarket parts industry offering improved components to upgrade Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Surgical-Steeds began to offer complete Steed built bikes with very few O.E.M. Harley parts. In 1996 Surgical-Steeds applied for and received a manufacturers license from the federal government granting Steeds the authority to apply Federal Vehicle Identification Numbers to its brand of American Heavyweight Cruiser Motorcycles. Thus the Steed Musclebike® motorcycle was born in America, with its own Pedigree, #1S9 at the beginning of its VIN, Assigned by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Over the years, Surgical-Steeds has sourced out quality vendors to supply components for their machines as well as constantly designing proprietary components to improve the Steed motorcycle. The Covington's own several U.S. Registered trademarks to protect their brand including; Steed, Surgical-Steeds, Steed Musclebike, Steed Built to Ride, the Steed Logo silhouette and also claim trademarks to the brands Arabian, Appaloosa, Pegasus, Clydesdale, Thoroughbred, Quarterhorse and Sintaur to identify its models of motorcycles. In 2006, the Covington's sold their rights to the Trademark "Monoglide" to Harley-Davidson, and currently use Monotail to identify the single-shock proprietary chassis, which made its debut on the open road in 1998. Other groundbreaking motorcycle innovations include leading edge digital instrumentation, Steed Behemoth bars with clean internal wiring, a line of one-piece forged billet aluminum wheels and a constantly evolving line of proprietary Steed Brand motorcycle products.

* Footnote – Steed Motorcycles have not been produced since 2005, this website has been online to continue to support Steed Musclebike owners and below is a short synopsis of what has happened to Covington over the last couple of decades.

With the promise of bringing the Steed Brand national prominence via Patriot's "Global Presence and the financial strength of a public company," in July of 2005 the Covington entered into an ill-fated alliance with Patriot Motorcycle Corporation. In a deal where Covington sold select physical assets of our manufacturing operation and granted a license to Patriot for the Steed Brands in exchange for Patriot Stock and the Director or Design and Development position in their company, he surrendered control of the direction of the brand while in Patriots employ.

By March of 2006 Patriot's funding ran dry along with any production of any new Steed Brand Motorcycles. The Covington's and their crew stayed on working on future model motorcycle prototypes while Patriot promised additional funding was on the way. By October 2006, an authorized Patriot representative suggested an offer for the Covington's to Purchase back the assets since Patriot could not financially sustain the operations of their "Street Motorcycle Division." In short time, negotiations ceased between Covington and Patriot resulting in a parting of the ways, along with litigation initiated by the Covington's, and a prompt liquidation and dismantling of the Scottsdale manufacturing facility before Christmas of '06 by Patriot.

Covington Prevailed in his suit with Patriot Motorcycles after a 3-year Federal Court Battle.  The principals of Patriot Motorcycle vanished, abandoned the Patriot Corporation and their President Michele Attias fled the country after converting Covington’s inventory.  Justice is hard to find when dealing with scoundrels.  Karma will forever be in their rear-view mirror.

The entire family of Steed federally registered brands along intellectual property, including NEW innovative motorcycle designs and products developed post-Patriot remain the property of John Covington and Covington Creations.

Time marches on and motorcycle trends continued to move forward since 2006.  Covington streamlined his life and explored his passion for commercial photography in 2007 and was enlisted as a contract photographer for Piasano Publications, who’s titles included Easyriders, Road Iron, Savage Tattoo where Covington was a major contributor of motorcycle features until 2020 when Piasano was sold.  He continues to shoot commercial photography and became an adjunct professor at Phoenix College in 2011.  You can see more of his Photography Studio and his work at COVINGTON SHOOTS.

Besides creating commercial images and photography, Covington started a new venture, STEED TRUCKS in 2018 and specializes in building frame-off resto-mod First Generation C10 Chevrolet Trucks and develops innovations and components for 1960 to 1963 C&K Chevrolet Trucks at his private design studio in Phoenix, AZ.  Steed Trucks is a micro-brewery of Vintage C10’s building 2 to 3 custom machines a year.

John is grateful for his long career in the powersports industry and would like to thank you for all your continued support, encouragement, and business over the decades.

John Covington
Covington Shoots, JC Studios LLC, Steed Musclebike, Steed Design, Steed Trucks,