You don’t have to look too hard to find celebrities who have decided riding a motorcycle will up their cool factor. But there’s only one man in Hollywood who embodies the motorcycle life 100%, and he is, of course, Keanu Reeves.
In fact, he is such a died-in-the-wool rider, he even started his own motorcycle company.
Keanu Reeves motorcycle company, ARCH Motorcycle, is without a doubt the most interesting motorcycle company producing bikes right now.
In The Beginning
Keanu started riding in 1987. When working on a film in Germany he noticed one of the other actors riding to set on a dirtbike.
“When I was 22, I was working on a movie in Munich and a girl showed me how to ride her Kawasaki Enduro. Ever since then I’ve been addicted to everything about motorcycles.”
Since then Keanu has owned a varied stable, with everything from Suzuki GSXR-750 to a Harley Shovelhead. The Norton Commando is probably his favorite.
Because We’re Gonna Die
In 2007 Keanu walked into LA County Chop Rods, looking for some help customizing his ’05 Harley-Davidson Dyna. He asked owner Gard Hollinger if he could fit a sissy bar to the bike.
Gard said no.
But he didn’t kick Keanu out of his shop, and over the next several years the pair sporadically worked to build Keanu’s HD into a truly unique machine. During that period the pair formed a freindship, and when the build was completed, and they sat back and saw what they’d built, Keanu asked Gard if he would consider partnering with him to produce a new kind of bike, based on the custom HD they had jsut completed.
“I told Gard, OK, the reason we should do this is because the machine is amazing, and we’re going to die anyway.”
Gard remebers Keanu saying; “You know, someday we’re not going to be here, and it would be really great to leave something that matters to us, something we love.”
It took some convincing, but in 2011, the pair launched ARCH Motorcycle.
The ARCH KRGT-1
By 2015 the pair had designed and manufactured the company’s first offering, the KRGT-1.
It’s a bike that many in the motorcycling world consider to be among the best designed machines available. The entire bike was designed, and refined, in CAD, and most of the parts are built in-house, milled out of solid billet aluminum.
Powered by an S&S Twin Cam 124 cubic-inch (2,032 cc) 45-degree down-draft fuel-injected engine, and making 122 hp with 122lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, it’s unlike any other bike.
Keanu has this to say about his creation; “It’s a bike that’s really confident feeling going straight, and it has a lot of torque so whenever you get on the throttle, you can really feel the pull and push of the motorcycle. It can turn and handle. We knew we wanted to offer something unique, not only aesthetically, but also when it comes to the pleasure of riding.”
But just how involved was Keanu in the design process? According to Keanu, he made suggestions along the way, and gave Gard his feedback, but the actual designing was left to the experts.
Gard; “He’s being modest. He always has a lot of feedback. I think he has to temper his wishlist a bit, because he doesn’t want to overwhelm me. His thoughtfulness and passion for riding was a huge part of what caused me to commit to the project. I’ve ridden my whole life, and when we talked about the riding experience, I was struck and impressed by how in tune he was. Man, all the years I’ve been riding, I’ve been taking it for granted.”
The Bad News
I know this all sounds great. The coolest guy in Hollywood, hell, the world even, has decided to start a company and build one of the most badass motorcycles around.
But, there’s a catch. Of course, there had to be.
Unless you have a credit card with an $80,000 limit, you won’t be able to just walk into ARCH and order one up. The other problem? They’re only planning to make around 50 or so, and I’m guessing that, despite the high pricetag, most of them are already spoken for.
The Cold Hard Truth
Most of us will probably never be able to ride one of these machines, let alone buy one.
But you know what? I’m ok with that.
Just knowing that people like Reeves and Hollinger are out there, building these beautiful machines, is inspiring to me. I’m never going to be able to afford a Lamborghini either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into them.
And at the end of the day, no matter what you ride, you’ll always have the rush and excitement that riding brings.
“Riding a bike is pure freedom,” Reeves says. “I love the speed and how it completely clears your mind. When I’m out riding, I just feel like I’m very calm and focused at the same time. One of my favourite rides of all is taking the Pacific Coast Highway through the Santa Monica mountains and Malibu Canyon and then making my way back home along Sunset, there’s just nothing else like it.”