When talking with Gard Hollinger, the mad-scientist mind that has shaped Arch Motorcycle, you get the sense that while he is a strictly pragmatic businessman, ideas, emotion, passion and love flow through his veins like all brilliant dreamers. He knows that occasionally art comes before the bottom line. He isn’t one to purely fret over bills, overhead, and cash outflow—he does this also because he’s the guy in charge—he sees the endless possibilities in shaping metal, forming carbon, and delivering a motorcycle experience second to none.
To say Arch, Hollinger, and Keanu Reeves (Yes, the Keanu Reeves is Gard’s partner in all this) have an obsessive attention to detail would be an understatement. This isn’t your typical motorcycle manufacturer, not dealing with plastic, mass production or homogeneity. Their bespoke motorcycles are unlike anything you’d find in your local Ducati or MV Agusta dealership. Arch-built bikes are uniquely anachronistic, delivering an individualized coach-built experience you’d expect from a pre-war Rolls-Royce workshop.
Entering Arch’s atelier transports your consciousness to the late Prohibition era, beckoning you with its speakeasy style. There are no signs, no hallmarks denoting what’s inside. Just a nondescript, opaque-windowed warehouse near SpaceX. But inside, there’s bewitching art by local painter Stefan Kleinschuster, flanked by the building’s brick, wood and metal-beam skeleton, exposed only for those lucky few who walk through the door. Milled pieces of aluminum, reminiscent of timeless Italian sculptures from Renaissance masters, liter the work bays. Architecture notwithstanding, the metal you’ve come for still takes center stage: the KRGT-1s.
Having more in common with a Tourbillon watch, there’s an art and precision to each motorcycle. Indeed, I suspect many owners probably own both. Your eyes drift from one minute detail to another, longingly gazing at the mechanized monument. Craftsmanship, long since overlooked in the world of the automobile, has returned. Even the machined aluminum is stunning, flaunting its facets like a perfectly cut diamond. The carbon fiber, unlike most production pieces, rivals the insanely sweat-over weaves found in the $2-million Pagani Huayra. And then there’s the carved-in-granite design of its S&S motor.
Visceral doesn’t come close. It exhumes an animality that’s sorely missing in modern motorcycles. Riding an Arch KRGT-1 feels more in common with the experience of riding a horse through the high plains than it does riding any other motorcycle; the vibrating and shaking, forms a connection, an intimate bond, as if it plugs directly into the lizard part of your brain. It’s a purely instinctual persona. This isn’t a motorcycle for riding every day. It isn’t a motorcycle for weekend warriors clad in crappy leathers and tassels who are looking to head to Sturgis. It’s a connoisseur’s machine. One that’s meant to transport the rider to an otherworldly realm and deliver them back reinvigorated. Subtly elegant in its on-road mannerisms, it lends itself almost to New York’s Fashion week, yet with a bravado that would knock Tom Ford out with a single, well-placed uppercut.
When Gard asked Keanu why they should start this enterprise, Keanu responded with a simple sentence that echoes within this machine’s ethos: “Because we’re all going to die someday.” It’s not as morbid as it sounds. Rather, it’s a rallying cry: Arripere die vel mori paeniteat, tempus amisisti. “Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost.”
For those lucky enough to woo Gard and Keanu into building you one of their masterpieces, Arch Motorcycle’s KRGT-1 is an instant classic that rivals the feeling of driving a 911 reimagined by Singer Vehicle Designs, while wearing a fabulous Tourbillon watch, and a perfectly tailored Hugo Boss suit; confident and ready to rule the world. Arch Motorcycle.
Story Jonathon Klein. Photography: Derek Gardner & Jonathon Klein.
Helmet: Shoei X-Fourteen
Jacket: Alpinestars Oscar Charlie
Gloves: Alpinestars Oscar Rayburn.
The Dark Side