If you’re a fan of the movie Speed or The Matrix, it’s quite possible that you are also a fan of Keanu Reeves. This Lebanese-born Canadian actor is also known for his starring roles in Point Break, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the more recent John Wick.
He has an affinity for playing both the goofy, good-natured guy and the super cool action hero, but in real life, Reeves has been described as “down-to-earth” and “elusive.” That hasn’t kept him out of the spotlight, though. Throughout his career, he has earned several MTV movie awards and multiple nominations for best actor. He has also been ranked one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people in the world and he’s even got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But what does Keanu Reeves have to do with motorcycles?
Keanu Reeves has been a motorcycle enthusiast since he was 22 years old. — photo courtesy Interview Hub
A lot, actually. The now 50-year-old is an avid rider who’s logged thousands of kilometres behind the bars of his favourite bike, the Norton Commando.
“Riding your bike is one of the greatest things you can do to clear your head and just feel the speed and the motion,” said Reeves.
Unlike the many other riders out there, Reeves didn’t get into motorcycles until he was a young adult. As a teenager growing up in Toronto, Ontario, he was more into playing ice hockey than anything (he is, after all, a Canadian—eh).
“I started when I was 22,” said Reeves. “I was filming in Munich, Germany, at this film studio, and this young girl had a gorgeous (Kawasaki) Enduro motorcycle which she would drive around. One day I asked her to teach me how to ride it. So I started to ride that bike around the stage when she wasn’t using it, and when I got back to Los Angeles, I got the first bike I saw that was similar. . . . ”
Over the years, Keanu Reeves has owned all sorts of motorcycles, from sport bikes to choppers to cruisers. — photo courtesy Interview Hub
His next bike was a canary yellow 1971-ish Norton Commando. He then bought a 1973 Norton Commando—on which he can still be spotted bombing around the streets of L.A. today.
Nortons aren’t his only passion. Over the years, Reeves has had everything from Suzuki sportbikes to Harley-Davidson cruisers in his stable. And lately, he has turned his attention to choppers.
The birth of Arch Motorcycle Company
Eight years ago, Reeves walked into a custom shop in L.A. looking for a sissy bar for one of his bikes. That’s when he met Gard Hollinger, a motorcycle builder with years of experience under his belt. The two got talking and eventually they decided to start Arch Motorcycle Company.
Last fall, Arch Motorcycle Company came out with its first production motorcycle, the KRGT-1, which is based on the bike that Hollinger built for Reeves shortly after they met.
Not quite a full-on chopper but not a sport bike either, the KRGT-1 is a mishmash of different designs. At the heart and soul is a massive 2,032-cc V-twin engine that produces a claimed 121 horsepower—more than enough ponies to get its rider from point A to point B in a hurry.
Keanu Reeves has owned only two cars in his life. His daily driver is a motorcycle. — photo courtesy Interview Hub
Apparently Reeves likes to go fast. Or does he?
“I don’t go as fast as I used to,” he said. “I don’t have a sense of fear, it’s just that I’ve had enough accidents, a ruptured spleen, a lot of scraped skin and road rash that I don’t really feel the need to test the limits as much. I also don’t use riding a motorcycle as a way of getting rid of anger or frustration the way I used to. When I was younger, I used to get out on the road with the bike and just go as fast as I could and basically let it all out on the road. But after enough wipeouts, you begin to think that that’s not a really good frame of mind to be in when you’re riding a motorcycle at high speed (laughs).”
For more information about the collaboration between Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger and their newest creation, see the website for Arch Motorcycle Company.
Listen to Reeves and Hollinger talking about how they met in the following video:
See the new KRGT-1 in action: