Vijay Krishnan July 1, 2019
Think of your stereotypical Amercian Motorcycle and your mind will be flooded with images of big, loud Harley-Davidsons and Indians with their big V-Twins rumbling away while their leather clad brash, big biker with tattooed arms gobbles away on a cheeseburger. Little do many know that America used to produce the finest Motorcycles before the British marks took over. Think of Hendersons, Crockers and X-Celsiors. Each of them made top shelf Motorcycles that were light years ahead of their times in technology and craftsmanship.
Fast forward to 2019 and there are not many names that come to mind when you think of handbuilt, big v-twin production Motorcycles that are tailored to suit the individuals lucky enough to own one. Confederate Motorcycles will probably be at the tippy top of your google searches in this respect. Look further and you can see a new mark rip roaring through this unique niche among Motorcycle manufacturers.
This blog is all about Arch Motorcycle. A brand forged purely from the passion for creating the ultimate American Motorcycle. Lets take a look at how it came to being and what it is offering.
But first, lets take a look at both sides of the Arch Motorcycle coin. They would be Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves and his partner-in-crime, Gard Hollinger, a California based designer and builder of custom motorcycles.
Reeves first got into Motorcycling when he was filming in Munich when he met a young Woman who had an enduro. She was kind enough to show him the ropes to basic Motorcycling and he eventually came back to LA in 86' and got his first Motorcycle.
Check out Keanu Reeves talking about his love for Motorcycling in this GQ feature -
Reeves had a Haley-Davidson Dyna Wide-glide which he wanted to customise. Eventually he was shown in the direction of Gard. Gard was running his shop Choprods at the time and vehemently opposed some of he initial ideas thrown at him by Reeves for his Motorcycle.
His head finally turned when he heard what Keanu wanted to get from the finished Motorcycle. He wanted a mix of Chopper and California Cruiser but wanted it to be nimble enough to ride hard around a track.
What ensued was a fanatic and endless pursuit of perfection by Gard, with him retaining only the engine and VIN from Keanu's old Motorcycle. He was turning it into a true Choprods Motorcycle and the result was an exciting Motorcycle that blew Keanu away. He was so inspired by the finished bike that he proposed to start a Motorcycle Company together and share what they had created with the world. Hence, Keanu's Choprods Motorcycle that took a whopping 5 years to complete became the prototype for what would become Arch Motorcycle.
If you are passionate to the point of being completely consumed with what you do, you will create pure things that are completely, wholly authentic and beautiful.
That first bike laid the foundations for what is now a brand new breed of Motorcycle, the Performance Cruisers. A motorcycle that would allow the rider to ride aggressively but will be a comfortable place to be for long rides. Gard is the man in charge when it comes to the design and actual construction of the Motorcycle.
As for Reeves, he explains that he is fully involved with the dream and ambition of the company. He exclaims that he can't fix the bike but can test ride it and tell what is wrong and what more it needs. Gard adds that Keanu is the ideal test rider for the company as he is a hardcore rider and that he rides the bikes so much that if there is something that can be broken on the bike, he will break it.
Arch Motorcycle currently has 3 models on offer, with their latest, the Method 143 being limited to just 23 units. Here is the entire Arch Motorcycle fleet as of today :-
As for their first production motorcycle, the pair of owners went back and forth with the names with both jokingly stating they wanted each others surnames for the bike. Gard ultimately triumphed with the bike being named the KRGT-1 after the initials of his partner.
The KRGT-1 is a custom production American performance cruiser. It is an evolution of the prototype bike with major upgrades made everywhere possible such as a 2032 cc S&S V Twin Stroker, high end suspension and brakes. Each KRGT-1 is custom tailored to provide personalized ergonomics and curated fit and finishes, making every motorcycle unique to its owner.
Consider KRGT-1 as an "entry level" bike or base variant. Well, the 1S is Arch Motorcycle's version of a more performance oriented version of the already impressive KRGT-1. Consider this as their track day version of the KRGT-1 with a more sporty riding position with a slightly more aggressive handlebar setup as compared to the former.
It is an evolution of KRGT-1.The 1s is the first production single sided swingarm motorcycle from Arch. It has the same engine as on the KRGT-1 with a more aggressive stance and the same performance cruiser make-up. CNC Machined Aluminum and extensive use of Carbon Fiber flow within the lines of this elegant yet race inspired motorcycle. As with all Arch motorcycles, the 1s can be custom tailored to its owner.
Now that Arch Motorcycle has a strong foothold in the industry, they can now focus on creating the absurdly brilliant and the extreme. This is how the Method 143 came into being. It is an uber cool and futuristic all-American cruiser that is the perfect concoction of the best components and some tasty materials.
The Method 143 is the first concept production motorcycle featuring a carbon fiber mono-cell chassis. The unique layering design concept and elegant craftsmanship of the bodywork include fine leather, carbon fiber and artfully programmed CNC machined aluminum. The name Method 143 comes from the 143 cubic inch beheamouth 2343 cc V Twin from S&S. The Method 143 will be limited to only 23 Motorcycles.
With Arch , they have taken their love for motorcycles to an all new level. Each one of the 200 parts that they make for the bike at their California facility is made with the same fanatic eye for detail just like he has for all his roles.
They use the best materials and the latest cutting edge technology to make their parts. It takes a solid block of billet to make a set of gas tanks. So what starts as a solid billet of 500lbs ends up as 18-19lbs of Al after 64 hours of machining.
Even the seats are individually moulded to perfectly fit each owner. As for the Motorcycles themselves, they are all hand assembled. So every bike will be different in its characteristics that suits its owner.
They also work with the best in the business for their parts such as with Õhlins for the suspension, S&S for the powerplant, BST wheels and Michelin tyres developed specifically for Arch Motorcycle. It’s is in many ways, a production custom Motorcycle, with each bike taking about 90 days to make.
Ultimately, bikes are about riding and thatis something Keanu and Gard never forget. They don’t plan to grow too rapidly and plan to stick to their core values, which are their love for Motorcycles and the sense of freedom that you get when you ride them.
Check out the story behind Arch Motorcycle :-
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