Is it normal not to remember
The story of the Arch motorcycle
We met with Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger, the founders of Arch Motorcycle, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed to talk about bikes, dreams and attention to detail ...
How did Arch Motorcycle come about?
Keanu: In 2007, I came to Gard's auto repair shop because I wanted to have a Harley-Davidson rebuilt. I asked Gard if he could make me a backrest for my Harley. He refused. But in the end he suggested that I build a bike according to my ideas, which then took four and a half years. When the bike was finally ready and we drove with it, we quickly realized that this machine is really extraordinary. And so it occurred to me that the world was just waiting for such a motorcycle. So I asked Gard if he wanted to start a motorcycle company ...
Gard: And I said no ... But then I wondered why not? I asked Keanu to give me a reason why we should do it. And then you said ...
K: Because we're gonna die! And that means for me that I want to create something. This motorcycle must see the light of day. Let's build something that is beautiful!
G: That was Keanu's answer and I couldn't find any counter-argument for this idea of creating something lasting with passion. So I said yes.
K: And our motorcycle, the KRGT-1, is a further development of this prototype. It took three years for the prototype to become a production model. We had a large American V-twin cruiser in mind. One who masters straight stretches with ease, but with whom you can also lie down in curves, which is rather untypical for a cruiser.
G: That was part of the challenge, and that's what makes both the company and the KRGT-1 so great: The idea of building something that has never existed before.
How did you develop your first motorcycle?
G: The KRGT-1 is based on the bike that I built for Keanu according to his wishes before the company was founded. He told me what he wanted to do with it and what the motorcycle should be able to do. I then worked a little on the implementation, brought in my ideas and tried to make some of his ideas disappear again in the mailing. Development was a natural process that took three years.
So you saw a void in the motorcycle market?
K: I always said I wanted to bring a custom motorcycle to market that you could ride. A bike of high quality and top design that is tailored to the needs of the customer. We adapt the bike to the customer so that the KRGT-1 really becomes his bike. We make the parts, we build the frame, and we do business with sellers such as S&S (engines), Ohlins (suspension), BST (carbon rims), Yoshimura (exhaust) and Michelin (tires). So everything fits together properly.
When did you discover your passion for motorcycles?
G: I was about eight years old when I started getting interested in this. There was this older boy, a teenager, who was doing wheelies on his mini motorcycle in a cul-de-sac near me. Back then I only rode my bike and we had built a bike course in our corner. Then one day this boy came and asked if he could drive with us. He made a couple of laps, stopped and asked me: "Do you want one too?" And then it clicked for me.
K: For me the passion started much later. I was 22 years old when I learned to ride a motorcycle. I grew up in Toronto, Canada and every summer these motorcycle gangs would come into town with their choppers and I loved the sound. Later when I was working in Munich this girl had an enduro and she explained the machine to me, taught me how to ride it and I loved it. When I got back to Los Angeles, I bought a KLR 600 and drove around with it. But I had a dream ... and the picture of a yellow Norton Commando. There was a shop called Super Twins that had a Norton, black and red, and that was where I learned how to drive and maintain Nortons if, for example, the tank was peeling or the throttle cable wore out. But what about me What really fascinates about it is the smell when driving ...
How do you work together?
G: There is clearly a shared vision and passion and a mutual respect for what the other brings to the table. Every company needs a dreamer. Keanu is our dreamer. But there also has to be someone who understands this dream and is a little more practical. We have very similar views when it comes to aesthetics, and we get along well - most of the time.
Tell us about the Arch bikes you've been to here at Goodwood!
K: The KRGT-1 - we've kept improving and developing it over the years and now it's really great. However, this also raised a question: What do we do next?
G: So we came up with the idea of turning our cruiser into a kind of sports cruiser. That's why we have three machines here at Goodwood: one is the beautiful black KRGT-1 and then here we have the KRGT-1S that we are currently working on. It is still in the development phase, so far we have only built two. And the third machine here we have given the name "Goodwood Experimental". It has a racing engine (320 cubic centimeters), a one-sided swing arm with an offset rear wheel and a front fork. What sets our motorcycles apart from others is the high-quality design and the top -Design. We may be a bit pedantic about that.
K: Every closure, every part is examined by - everything has to fit together. And that's the nice part of the job, seeing every detail, every milled groove and the processing and contour.
What is Arch planning next?
G: The goal from the beginning was to have three models. The KRGT-1, then a model that is a little more radical and rarer and and then a third that is maybe for a driver and passenger. But now everything revolves around the final phase in the development of the KRGT-1S and the 143. The premiere for this is set for this year. It's kind of a never-ending cycle. When you've finished something and improved it, you start thinking about the next generation again. And then you have to keep letting the world know who you are. The challenge is to introduce people to our machines and get them to drive them.
Spend time with Arch Team's Keanu Reeves & Gard Hollinger and see another side of Le Mans! Click here
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