Whether it be The Matrix, Speed or even Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Keanu Reeves’ films have taken us on some wild rides. Now, the 51-year-old actor and motorcycle fan is sharing his love of two wheels with the world via his company Arch Motorcycle’s first bike, the KRGT- (at right). This sleek, sports cruiser-type, 122-horsepower motorcycle is the result of an eight-year collaboration with Arch cofounder and famed custom-bike builder Gard Hollinger. “Our second model is cooking in our brains,” says Reeves. While that’s gestating, the Los Angeles resident invited Westways to hop on the back of his bike for a few of his favorite rides.
Describe your first experience on a motorbike.
Miraculous. When I was 22 years old, I was filming in Germany when I saw a girl on an Enduro. I’d always wanted to ride a motorcycle, so I asked if she’d teach me how. She showed me how everything worked and let me ride in an enclosed space. It was fun to be moving around in the world like that.
How many motorcycles do you have in your garage?
One of my first loves was a British company called Norton; I have three of their Commandos (’71 Fastback, ’72 Combat, ’73 Interstate) and an Arch.
What were your first cars?
My first car was a British Racing Green 1969 Volvo 122. There were also long stretches when I didn’t have a car. I drove the Volvo to Los Angeles when I moved here in 1985.
What inspired you to found Arch Motorcycle?
I went to L.A. County Choproads, looking to customize a Harley-Davidson Dyna. There, I met Gard Hollinger, who ultimately became my partner in Arch. I love English Twins and American Big Twins and I was trying to build a motorcycle that took my affection for those, coupled with a tank influenced by a Norton. Even more important was the ride. Gard, with his ergonomic design, created something that was wonderful. That bike became the prototype of the Arch motorcycle. It’s both retro and futuristic, but the ride is classic-influenced.
What’s the best motorcycle drive in L.A.?
West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard to Pacific Coast Highway, up into the Santa Monica Mountains. Go all the way up to Mulholland Highway. Carve up the Santa Monica Mountains to Kanan Dume. From there, take Mulholland to Las Virgenes to the 101 back to Laurel Canyon. Then Laurel Canyon to Sunset and back home.
Any stops along the way?
If you’re running around the mountains a little bit, it’s nice to stop up on PCH and have some lunch at Neptune’s Net Seafood Restaurant. Get a fish sandwich, some French fries, a Coca-Cola, and watch the surfers out there at County Line. Go during the week, when it’s less busy.