Building your own motorcycle grants access to a worldwide club of fellow like-minded fools. There’s an unseen bond, brokered in sleepless nights, bloody knuckles, and the torment of looking for that one elusive gasket. I’m going to continue to explore this world and write about the people I meet. In a previous post I talked of visiting Deus in Sydney. On this trip to Hong Kong, I reached out and asked to meet with brothers Ben and G that own Angry Lane Motorcycles. I love exploring.
I erroneously assumed the address of “19F” was a unit number. Thoroughly lost and wandering down an alley looking for a number 19, I found an old man who simply pointed up in the sky when I showed him the address. The 19th floor. A motorcycle workshop on the 19th floor? No way.
Exiting the elevator, (the second elevator that I tried, because of course the first one only had floor 18 and 20) I was further convinced that someone was screwing with me. There was nothing. That was until G, with a huge smile on his face, opened a completely nondescript white door and welcomed me to Angry Lane Motorcycles. Stealthy doesn’t even begin to describe their setup; it puts all those NYC speakeasies to shame.
Clarification: Motorcycles go in the elevator with people when it’s time to ride. G and Ben think that is normal. I approve.
I walked into a bikers dream. I actually giggled, clapped and sort of danced an awkward jig. Ruby helmets, rare Japanese parts, screen-printing, bikes in progress, finished bikes, apparel, prototype parts, vintage race parts… a wonderland!
G explained that amongst other careers that took him around the world, he worked for a Japanese leather race suit manufacturer and built bikes in his spare time. One day, frustrated that a top Japanese supplier only sold to registered companies, he decided that the simple solution was to become a company. It seems easy when you put it like that! Angry Lane was soon born.
There are not a lot of top quality bike builders in Hong Kong (parts are a pain to get – something us in the US take for granted), but there’s wealth paired with style – a rare combination. Subsequently, Angry Lane have benefited from fun clients that are helping push some really cool builds. With the foundation set by building great bikes, G’s background in leather and Ben’s design skills have naturally pushed them toward the booming motorcycle apparel and accessories market. They have been working hard and I saw prototypes of some droolworthy upcoming products. Just look at that jacket.
What Hong Kong lacks in parts availability, it more than makes up for with the nearby mecca of manufacturing that is Shenzhen / Guangzhou – everything you could ever dream of can be manufactured 45 minutes from Angry Lane.
Leaving G and Ben, I pondered this thought for a while. It’s quite a unique position the guys are in. I tend to focus my efforts to stay Made In USA, but the reality is that we all look for affordable parts as well. A $700 CB350 simply can’t always justify billet USA parts. G and Ben have the possibility to innovate some one-off parts for customer builds, but then jump to production pieces very easily in the future. In fact, the biggest hurdle for successful Asia manufacturing is the necessity to be there at some point in time to find a reliable partner for what you need. It’s a little left field, but I think Angry Lane could fund some future projects by working to help some of their bigger peers with local knowledge paired to built-in passion for the motorcycle culture. It was a great day learning from more members of the bloody knuckle club and further fueled my enthusiasm for what’s happening with motorcycles right now. Next on deck for Angry Lane is a BMW R80 café with full fairing. I can’t wait for the e-mail from G telling me it has rolled into the elevator for the first time.
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