If you want to launch a motorcycle brand on an epic scale – then EICMA is the only place to do it! Hosted by the city of Milan – it’s the largest event for presenting new motorcycles on the planet!
For a small manufacturer with a product only the super exclusive Hollywood class can afford, you would think that Arch Motorcycles would launch at their headquarters in California, USA. But – no.
There is genius and integrity in every aspect of Arch Motorcycles – so they hauled their three new models across the Atlantic to Europe.
Arch Motorcycle, when we met them at Eicma, they took our fantasy toward an unknown destination, we thought we had reached the peak!
But that was only the beginning, our appetite was so brutally stimulated by the guru Gard Hollinger that we craved an exclusive interview with all of them, going deep inside the secret recipes that make this small manufacturing crew, the ultimate dream machine creators in the two wheel environment.
Gard Hollinger is one of the two partners that compose ARCH Motorcycle; the Hollywood star Keanu Reeves is the other. They are like the Ying and the Yang for their Company.
Gard is the man behind the idea for the concept of each of their creations. He says he doesn’t have a standard process but usually he will try to first satisfy their overall vision for the brand. There is always a lot to consider and those things change depending on the project, but what can’t change is the brand-identifying features, the “DNA’ if you will, and the brand ethos.
The ideal client for Arch is anyone who appreciates what they’re doing, who appreciates unique design, maniacally obsessive attention to detail. It is the experience and journey of the client having their own Arch Motorcycle created for them and becoming a part of their little Arch Motorcycle family.
It will be amazing to see one of the Arch Motorcycles, our favorite being the Method 143, being involved in the future, in the racing world, considering also that they are actually supporting Damian Jigalov in the Italian Pre Moto 3 Championship in Italy.
Gard told us that unfortunately they don’t consider themselves as a race competition motorcycle company, despite some of their roots going back there. Gard was a racer in his youth and there will always be some of that DNA on their motorcycles. Both Keanu and Gard have become fans and admirers of road racing and have been fortunate to have met some amazing and talented folks.
Asking Gard, which ARCH was his favorite, he answered that all their bikes are his favorites, no exceptions!
Forward thinking and engineering artistry has been a foundation of Arch motorcycle. This focus accelerated ARCH in introducing its first concept production motorcycle, the 143 Method.
The Method, the maximum among the ARCH productions, is a full torque beast – 2,343cc V-Twin, S&S engine. Elegant craftsmanship of the body which includes leather, carbon fiber and artfully sculptured CNC-machined aluminum.
A complete breakout in the motorcycle industry, featuring a Carbon Fiber Mono-Cell chassis, this progressively designed machine will be limited to only 23 units.
The Method was created with highly specialized collaborations – such as Suter Industries for the CNC Machined single-sided swingarm with Carbon Fiber cover; Ohlins for the MotoGP inspired proprietary FGRT series front fork with carbon fiber air-Foil; SC-Project for the proprietary full-titanium/carbon fiber exhaust system; and BST Blackstonetek with the stunning Carbon Fiber Turbine Wheels.
The Arch Motorcycles will all also be Euro-4 compliant – which is another huge step in favour of this brand – for it is neither an easy task to meet these regulations, nor is it going to be inexpensive.
For true petrol-heads, as we are at Bike Nation Magazine, weeks later and we still had more questions for the Arch Team.
Alb: Why specifically only 23 of the Method? Why not 43?
Gard: I’d like to tell you it’s “The 23 Enigma”, because of the significance of the number 23… That it’s one of the most commonly cited prime numbers or the lowest prime number consisting of consecutive digits or that a normal human sexual cell has 23 chromosome, that when paired create an embryo… or to pay homage to the American catchphrase “23 skidoo”… you can work to find meaning in anything but the fact is it just seemed like the right number.
Alb: Who are your main competitors? Do you even see them as competitors?
Gard: I don’t view other brands as “competitors”, I think we’re all in the same boat, we’re all creating motorcycles and a lot of cool stuff has been done, is being done and is out there in the world. I think we’re fortunate to be able to be a part of that and hopefully we’re adding to the collective in a way that will inspire.
Alb: We know how you and Keanu met, but how did the all Team come together?
Gard: Building a great team always takes some time. Ryan Boyd was the first and for quite a few years the only member on the team, in fact he and I did most everything ourselves the first 2 or 3 years with only the help of some outside vendors for 3D modeling. Along the way we’ve found some great additions to the team and the recent rounding out of our design team and process have made a huge difference.
Alb: How many order have you gotten and from where in the World? Will we see some Arch Motorcycle on European roads soon?
Gard: One of our major goals for the coming year is to have the KRGT-1 and then the 1s, both be Euro4 Homologated and certified. Fingers crossed that there will soon be Arch Motorcycles on European roads and roads all over the world.
Ryan Boyd, 37 years old from Colorado State, is the R&D Manager, the Wizard that like in the movie Fantasia, let the CNCC machine dance and make it happen each single piece composing ARCH Motorcycles, and in particular the Method 143.
Alb: Which are the challenges on industrializing the motorcycle from the concept to completion?
Ryan: The main focus, for us, while industrializing the motorcycles is to first establish the main clearances needed for assembly and serviceability of the bike… i.e. air gap, wire channel, fastener clearance… etc. Then the next goal is to figure the strongest, yet lightest layout for each part, this involves wall thicknesses, fastening points, gusseting, reinforcement ribs and so forth. Then the focus turns to how to manufacture each part, likely how to machine it in house, this is the part when I obsess over the fit and finish of every part that we utilize in the motorcycle assembly.
Alb: Where do you test your bikes? Which aspects do you consider, handling, torque?
Ryan: We test the bikes in numerous different environments, all of them real world.. We commute on the bikes on the freeways, we test them in the hills of southern California such as Santa Monica and Angeles crest areas. We have done long trips up the coast on Pacific Coast Highway. The bikes have also been known to turn a few laps on the race tracks- Button willow, Laguna Seca, chuckwalla, willow springs, just to name a few. We want to have as well rounded bikes as possible.
Alb: All the components for Method 143 have been designed with an eye of the exclusivity, i.e. proprietary frame, wheels, exhaust. How were the interactions between all the developers of the different components, you just give them the all project with the specification for each single of them to fit in the overall design, or they came to your factory with a rough version and did the final adjustments there? I am asking this because of the tailored bike that ARCH manufacture.
Ryan: Historically we had done the majority of the CAD design work in house at arch and now with the vintech partnership they will be handling most of the CAD modeling with direct input from Gard and myself. We usually work through a design, and if it needs to be produced by a vendor we work closely with them on our design so that it meets their manufacturing practices ok. Whether the part is made in house or by a vendor we still try to achieve the highest levels of quality possible.
Alb: On the final product, how did you make all these different components fit together from all over the world?
Ryan: This is one of the benefits of building the bike completely in the 3d world. We can check fitment and compatibility before we even manufacture a part on our end, ensuring a seamless fit on the end product.
Alb: How important was using Vintech to visualize the final product?
Ryan: Vintech is vital to our new process at ARCH, the partnership and design power that they house has allowed us to shorten the window of time in our process from concept to reality.
Alb: You are the one that sees each every piece come to life. What is your background?
Ryan: I was a General Motors mechanic for 14 years in Colorado, during my time as a mechanic I developed a passion for customizing cars, trucks and motorcycles. I opened a shop in Colorado where I taught myself all of the skills to make the parts necessary to complete my customers builds, general fabrication, tube bending, mig/tig welding and most importantly manual and cnc machining.
Alb: We know you are from Colorado, from talking about me doing Pikes Peak, how did you end up with this company in California?
Ryan: I actually made a handful of parts for Gard for the original Krgt-1 at my shop in Colorado, we ended up having our bikes in a show together in Las Vegas, I think we had a mutual respect for each other’s design process and work… A few months after the Las Vegas show Gard asked if I would come run the manufacturing for ARCH- Currently I am almost 6 years into my employment with ARCH, still handing the manufacturing.
Alb: Which is your role in the entire process of creating a new bike? Did you provide inputs, or you try to make every piece happens and fit?
Ryan: Both- I provide input into the process on how I feel the bike should look or feel, generally based on manufacturability of components. When it comes to making the parts I feel that is where my skill set is really utilized. I work closely with the cad modelers so that they understand my manufacturing and aesthetic preferences-then- I program and manufacture the parts in our Los Angeles facility. I assemble, wire and test the bikes as well.
Alb: Designers give you a concept that maybe just does not work in practice, what do you do?
Ryan: It is pretty rare that we have a concept that we cannot make a reality, we have a pretty good feel for what is possible right out of the gate, that being said… If we do hit a speed bump such as this, we simply make the necessary adjustments to achieve our original plan and keep moving.. Keeping the original vision..
Heith Cofran is the Director of Sales and Marketing for ARCH. Heith has a long past in the motorcycle industry, before join Arch was PR Technical Media Communication for Alpinestar.
Alb: Which is the Arch’s plan for Marketing, and in which part of the World have you seen potential?
Heath: Arch has a focus on expanding our brand to passionate motorcycle enthusiasts. These clients tend to have an understanding for the attention to detail and an entrepreneurial background. We plan to expand our Arch owners globally at a steady pace. Recently we have inspired three new motorcyclists to ride, where the KRGT-1 was their first motorcycle. This kind of passion excites us, and we know there are more people out there similar to this. Right now we have owners on five continents, and as soon as we finalize the EURO4 compliance, we know that number should double easily. The European market has massive potential for us, and we are giving that a significant focus. With our recent Arch Europe distribution partnership with Suter Industries, we believe this will assist us in meeting this goal. We understand the Asian market, as well as the UAE, also has considerable potential for growing the Arch brand.
Alb: Will you create in future a line of apparel for the owner of the bike, to maintain the exclusivity status, or you will have an open market approach for it?
Heath: Arch has focused on creating some minimal apparel that is exclusive to our owners but at this time we do not want to produce apparel for the public.
Alb: How do you consider the maintenance and servicing aspects, when you distribute your bike outside California?
Heath: Because we are building our customer base all around the country and the world, we work with the customer to locate and engage a suitable service center and then fully support them technically. The bike is very well designed mechanically, very well tested and assembled and we have had few instances of warranty repairs necessary, in any cases either warranty or service related things have worked very smoothly and quickly.
Alb: Any future plan to create an Arch Motorcycle Owner Group?
Heath: Arch currently spends a reasonable amount of time and efforts with our Arch owners. It’s not an owners group “club,” but focused efforts with our owners. We offer exclusive experiences with our current Arch owners, inviting them to events, rides, meals, and tours throughout the year. We have plans with our partners at Michelin for some global activities for Arch owners in 2018.
Well – top quality, exclusive collaborations, a once in a lifetime motorcycle – and of course a pinch of Hollywood stardust – comes with a price tag.
An Arch Motorcycle will set you back anything from USD 80 000 and upwards.
But then who doesn’t want to save the universe and be Neo for a day.
Images Courtesy of: Simon Hammerson, Britt Sivertsen, And Outlaw Sports Images