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UNKNOWN Industries Building a Harley® Entertainment Empire

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UNKNOWN rider doing burnout on street

The UNKNOWN team leaving their mark on the pavement

UNKNOWN Industries? With millions of YouTube views and hundreds of closed-course stunt demonstrations, one has to question the accuracy of the company’s moniker. While the name is certainly an understatement, there is nothing understated about a performance by the Harley-Davidson® freestyle stunt team. UNKNOWN has become world-renowned for its riders’ highly technical and highly entertaining ripping and thrashing of their behemoth Harleys.

Co-owner and Team Manager John Oakes is quick to sing the praises of the riders that fuel the UNKNOWN brand. Oakes calls them, “A new breed of Harley riders who push the limits of their motorcycles and themselves.” Certainly, a motorcycle performance and stunt company is only as good as its riders and UNKNOWN has some of the best. Before they had ever met, co-founders Nick Leonetti and Buddy Suttle knew of each other through their respective racing and dirt riding reputations. When they finally came face-to-face, creative sparks flew (literally) and the rest is history. The duo’s reputation has grown in like proportion to the creativity of their stunts. Suttle has been featured on the cover of Baggers Magazine and Leonetti has graced the cover of Hot Bike Magazine. It’s hard to stay “unknown” with that kind of high-profile recognition.

Nick Leonetti from UNKNOWN riders doing wheelie

Nick Leonetti showing the clean underside of his Harley

Rounding out the talented lineup are three stunting phenomes who all cut their teeth in motocross and/or BMX. Kade Gates, who became a fan of UNKNOWN watching YouTube videos, now rides his Harley FXR alongside the founders. Jeff Palkiewicz traces burned rubber designs on the asphalt on his Dyna FXDXT aptly named “Kentucky Disco Biscuit.” Then there is Logan Lackey who is the talented son of famed motocross champion, Brad Lackey. Logan says, “I knew I wanted to be part of the UNKNOWN family from the first time we rode together.” All of the young guns of the UNKNOWN team share an all-consuming passion for taking their Harleys to the teetering edge of what is possible on bikes weighing in at nearly double that of modern sportbikes.

The company’s notoriety started with amazing live performances and those shows are still UNKNOWN’s foundation. The riders amaze fans at events ranging from NASCAR, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Supercross, UFC, H-D® dealerships, X-Games, military bases, massive music festivals, the Hot Bike Tour, and various other events across the US. Anywhere adrenaline junkies gather there’s a good chance UNKNOWN Industries will be there as well. Audiences witness wheelies, burnouts, and metal-grinding stunts that are combined into an over-the-top, visceral rumble-fest.

Buddy Suttle of UNKNOWN riders huge wheelie

Buddy Suttle modifying his rear fender the hard way

That live performance success has been parlayed by the team into Internet and media superstardom. The first 13 episodes of their Harley Wheelies YouTube series have garnered over 5 million views. The newly released YouTube miniseries titled The UNKNOWN Ride will certainly follow suit. The media frenzy doesn’t stop there. UNKNOWN riders have been featured in TV shows, music videos, TV commercials, and magazines. If that’s not enough, you can find UNKNOWN's second feature length movie, Into the UNKNOWN, on both DVD and iTunes.

Kade Gates of UNKNOWN riders doing burnout

Kade Gates heating rubber at an UNKNOWN show

Keeping UNKNOWN’s stable of Harleys protected and running strong is where K&N comes in. K&N’s sponsorship of the company goes beyond financial support. Oakes says, “All of the team riders run K&N air filters.” Interestingly, 3 of the 5 riders pilot early 90s FXRs. Those of you out there with the same bike have a multitude of K&N intake and filtration options. The filter that fits the stock 1992 FXR, as well as most other 90s Harleys, is the HD-1390. For a custom intake assembly, you can opt for something like the round RK-3911 or the teardrop RK-3912, both of which feature chrome covers. Of course all K&N intake options are designed for increased horsepower and highly effective filtration. There are high-quality K&N oil filter options for the bikes as well, such as the chrome KN-170C and the very cool, billet aluminum SS-171. If you ride just about any Harley, K&N has great filtration options for you.

In the end, I guess the only real “unknown” is what UNKNOWN Industries will dive into next in their quest for total world domination in the moto-entertainment industry. One thing is certain, take a look at one of their videos or attend a performance and you will never look at a Harley the same way again.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 50 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.