Positioned just north of Brisbane, Australia, a small workshop is trying to bring the community spirit back to the motorcycle culture. Sharing info, no looking down on others’ rides and a general feeling of wanting to help out have helped Rocker Classic to be the awesome ‘workshop/meeting place/purveyor of cafe racer spirit’ it has become today. We asked Matt from Rocker Classic to answer some questions on how this came about , and this is what he came back with…
1) How did the Rocker Classic idea come about?
After many years in international freight my good friends and business
partners and I set up a procurement business that included the sourcing
and movement of vehicles including bikes. Like many of our customers and
friends I had ridden bikes since I was a kid but only started riding again
later in life. I fell in love with the café racer scene and all that
surrounds it and was inspired by shops like Dime City and Deus to take the
plunge and buy by partners out and focus on a retail custom bike shop, but
one with my own touch. I wanted something less commercial and more
welcoming and community orientated. A place like they used to be, where
you can just hang out if you want.
2) Who is it that inspires you?
Tough one. I love want others have done…including many of the prominent
custom shops. I find inspiration in helping a new rider build something
they love on a shoestring budget…it’s what we all did. I find
inspiration when I watch a retired guy with a gleam in his eye as he shows
me his Matchless and then swaps stories with the younger guys. I am
inspired by the support we have received. We have built this whole thing
on a small budget (my accountant still thinks I am mad) and we have a long
way to go…but I can’t think of doing anything else. My staff also
inspire me greatly. Without their passion and belief we wouldn’t be here.
I am blessed with some of the best guys in the industry who have much
experience to share but are willing to listen to my crazy ideas as well!
3) Can you tell us the favourite bike you’ve done work on?
1998 Thunderbird 900 we built into a very cool tracker. We love doing
SR’s too but to be honest we just love the process from vision to result
on anything we do.
4) So what would be your favourite bike someone else has built?
We showed an SR we built for Motorcycle Specialities down at the Oil
Stained Brain show in Melbourne last year. There was a fantastic XS650
café racer there that someone had privately built and I thought it was one
of the tidiest builds I had seen for a while, commercial or private. I
also like the bikes coming out of Red Star Garage, although they do mostly
bobbers. Pop Bang Classic should get a mention and Deus still does
consistently good work. Destino Custom Garage put out some awesome
bobbers too. There are plenty more that come into our shop for a visit!
5) What do you see in the future of the cafe racer scene in Australia?
I think the industry is still growing (otherwise I wouldn’t of spent every
dime I had, and more, on this crazy idea – actually yeah I would have).
It is one of the fastest growing areas of the motorcycle scene across the
country and world and I believe the passion and love for making old things
into something new and exciting will be around for a long time yet.
Whether it is the guy pushing a bike together with a bunch of old spares
in his back yard, through to commercial ventures like ours, the shared
passions should see us all still throwing spanners for some time.
6) What would you say is the best part of your job?
My job. I LOVE the interaction with customers who really become our
friends as we go along. I love the fact that we have a place where people
from all walks of life can meet and share the craziness that is Rocker. I
love seeing the bikes we design come to fruition and I love the smile on
the face of the owner as they ride away. It is a fantastic culture and I
am humbled to be a part of it.
7) Can you describe a cafe racer in one sentence?
A café racer is a bike that has had its shackles removed, its lungs
cleared, it’s body streamlined, and it’s heart reminded of what it should
always have been; lean, responsive, powerful and in the end an expression
of the rider.
A million thanks to Matt for taking the time out to answer my questions, be sure to drop in on the Rockers Classic workshop for a chat, for coffee, or to admire some awesome machinery.