Keanu Reeves’s love of motorcycles runs deep — so deep that not only has he not abandoned bikes after several painful mishaps on Los Angeles roads, the 50-year-old actor still prefers to ride on two wheels through L.A. traffic than drive in a car.
Harnessing that passion, Reeves persuaded the custom-bike builder Gard Hollinger to become his co-conspirator on Arch Motorcycles, a low-volume manufacturer whose first product is the Arch KRGT-1.
Crafted at Arch’s Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters — located just blocks away from Elon Musk’s Space-X facility — the $US78,000 KRGT-1 is a ground-up design incorporating extensive use of CNC billet-aluminium construction and an array of premium details.
Wheels are constructed entirely of carbon fibre by BST, the elegantly minimalist electronic instrument panel comes from MotoGadget, and the power plant is a hulking 2,032 cc S&S Cycle unit, mated to a Baker 6-speed transmission. Virtually all body surfaces are shot-peened and anodized for a sleek, slightly textured metallic finish that very high quality and almost futuristic.
During a daylong ride with Reeves in the rolling hills of Malibu, Calif., the KRGT-1 projected a charismatic (though not flashy) presence on the road, not unlike the megawatt personality of its company founder. Though the bike’s long wheelbase means its handling will not be confused with a nimble sport bike, the KRGT-1 manages to maintain high levels of controllability and stability when pitched into corners. The S&S V-twin pulls strongly from nearly any engine speed, and the chassis feels supple and compliant over bumps.
We sat down with Reeves for insight into his company and its first product.
Robb Report: How did you decide what kind of motorcycle the KRGT-1 would be, and how it would be set up?
Keanu Reeves: When I first met Gard [Hollinger], and once we decided to do something together, we started with the idea of being able to go for a long ride. And then it was, “Well, then, how do you ride? And what do you want out of a ride?”
RR: Can it carry luggage?
KR: A backpack — and emotional luggage. But you try to get away from emotional baggage when you ride, which kind of lets everything drop away. It’s a cruiser and it performs. That’s where the intention came from, just the riding experience. It’s so fantastic.
RR: How are you addressing personalisation?
KR: We’ve been trying to find not only an aesthetic seat, but a functional seat. Today, all of the bikes have different, subtle seat technologies. With cutouts, some are just bench seats and some have back pads in them. Whatever the customer wants with the seats we can do. And there are certain anodized colours and different finishes we can do. The bike can also be ergonomically customised.
RR: As a celebrity, how are you positioning yourself in relation to the company?
KR: I don’t necessarily want to be in front of the bike and say, “Hi. I’m Keanu Reeves. You might have seen me in this movie, but I also sell motorcycles.” [Laughs.] I don’t want to quite be that guy . . . I’m invested financially, but before that I’m also invested personally. I hope that people enjoy the bike enough that we can sell enough of them to keep going. I think we’ll always have the KRGT-1, but I’m really curious to see what we come up with for the next model.