Co-founder Gard Hollinger grew up in Los Angeles during the tail end of the mid-century modern movement, bombing around the Hollywood Hills on dirt bikes past buildings seemingly dropped from outer space. In fact he spent his formative years living in such a structure; a Lautner-designed piece up on Mullholland known as the Garcia House.
His intro to the motorcycle world came in the form of the famous Purple Taco mini bike, the dream machine for an 8 year old growing up in LA. This was followed naturally by more proper dirt bikes and a successful stint racing them.
Of course along with the racing in those days came the fixing, and so Gard became well-versed in the inner workings of motorcycles and deeply interested in how they were built.
A self-taught designer, engineer and fabricator, he draws inspiration from things more than people, and art and architecture as well as classic rides from the past. To this day the elements of those early years still show up in Hollinger’s work, from the raw and seductively simple components of those 70’s 2-strokes, to the future-facing cues and polish of modernist design. At the core his signature style exposes the machinery of the motorcycle, each bike curated with a blend of Smithsonian precision and street-rod ingenuity.
And while Gard rides fast he’s never been known for the speed of his builds. In fact his style of work could be called “re-work”, in that he is forever stepping back and looking, polishing, and perfecting until every piece fits the puzzle.
The Arch KRGT-1 is the culmination of all that’s come before for Hollinger. A studied blend of retro-modern design and performance. The ultimate test of craft and imagination.
Co-founder Keanu Reeves has logged tens of thousands of miles on all manner of motorcycles, all over the world. He came to bikes a bit later in life than Gard, but has been making up the miles by getting around almost exclusively on two wheels. In fact, he’s only ever owned a couple of autos – a vintage Volvo and a contemporary Porsche.
His first motorcycle was a Kawasaki 600 Enduro, followed by the beginning of his Norton affair and the first of many he’d own over the years. Often away from home and his Norton’s, he got in the habit of buying a bike when filming on location and selling when the shoot was done. He’s owned a Suzuki GS1100E, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1974 BMW 750, a Kawasaki KZ 900, an ‘84 Harley Shovelhead, and a Moto Guzzi.
All those miles on all those bikes build an enhanced appreciation for what makes a motorcycle great. Real-world performance, the sound, the feel, and the look… all together it delivers the elusive and complete riding experience. For Reeves the search for that experience led naturally to a desire to modify bikes, and with a particular project led him to Gard.
As the two talked about the project and motorcycles in general it became clear that they shared a vision; equal parts form and function. Conversations turned into sketches and 3D models; the vision became bigger and bolder. An entirely new bike came into view, molding the retro and modern design elements they both love and passion for riding they both share into a new shape.
Moving forward Keanu continues to be the voice of the long-time everyday rider bringing that feel, sound and vision to the Arch experience. Look quick, and you’ll see him out there riding.