The Sydney motorcycle scene
Sydney is a big place, and having such a large geographical area and a population of 4.7 million, there’s plenty of motorcyclists and a constantly growing motorcycle industry to service them. But where are they all? Who’s the best? And which ones have the most interesting array of products to make a visit more of an event than just a quick trip down to the local shop?
Motorcycle Trader has done the hard yards to uncover a selection of hidden gems in Sydney’s northern and inner-city suburbs. What we uncovered is that old-fashion personalised service is still a hallmark of the motorcycle industry.
Find a motorcycle business closest to you and read more below…
– Sydney Motorcycle Wreckers and Workshop, Hornsby
– Victory and Indian Motorcycle, Ashfield
– Surfside Motorcycle Garage, Brookvale
– Better Bikes, Belmore
– Close Motorcycles, Redfern
– Elstar Motorcycle & Quads, Milperra
– Trivett Harley-Davidson, Alexandria
– Gasoline Motor Co, Alexandria
– Motorcycle Transport & Logistics (MTL)
– Scooteria, Stanmore
– Motociclo, St Peters
SYDNEY MOTORCYCLE WRECKERS and WORKSHOP
1/85 Hunter Lane, Hornsby
(02) 9477 1433
The Wreckers part of the SMW name carries over from the business Jay started working for 16 years ago, and purchased not long after. Jay Batchelor and his team of three mechanics are dab hands at bringing bikes back from the dead – like the Honda Monkey Bike sitting in his workshop.
Jay describes his business as an old-school mechanical workshop, and the seemingly endless number of classic, collectible and odd-body motorcycles crowding his workshop and car park are an example of how highly regarded his workmanship is.
“We’ll happily work on late-model bikes – we’ve got the equipment to do it – but we pride ourselves on being an old-school style mechanical workshop,” he says.
“We also do the stuff nobody else wants to do, that’s the strength of our business.
“People often walk into the workshop and are amazed at the rare and interesting stuff we have here.”
“The customer drops off their bike in the morning, and I deliver it to their home once the work is done, that’s the sort of service we provide,” Jay says.
Jay also puts more than his fair share back into motorcycling, supporting a number of riders through various forms of sponsorship and spends most weekends organising father-and-son dirt-bike rides.
VICTORY AND INDIAN MOTORCYCLE SYDNEY
554 Parramatta Road,
Ashfield (02) 9275 2000
Life doesn’t get much crazier than Parramatta Road, Ashfield, but located in the refurbished old Salvation Army warehouse building is an oasis of calm: the Victory and Indian Motorcycle dealership.
Senior sales associate Tom Anderson is a Minnesota native, and his relaxed approach to life seems to have made its way into the buildings fabric.
“It’s a warm and welcoming environment,” Tom explains as he leisurely strolls around the store greeting customers.
“The way we have the shop laid out, we want people to have a comfortable experience when they get here.
“We’ll just offer them a coffee, or a cold drink, and let them wander around and discover the place at the own pace.
“If they are interested, we’ll offer them a demo ride, but it’s an unrushed, no-pressure experience.”
A quick chat with the boys in the spotless workshop reveals they obviously enjoy their work. Between servicing duties, they let their creative energy run wild working on a number of special-order custom bikes.
Even if you’re not in the market for a Victory or Indian motorcycle, you should drop in and say G’day to Tom, and check out how he does things.
SURFSIDE MOTORCYCLE GARAGE
42 Winbourne Road, Brookvale
(02) 9905 4755
Located in Brookvale on Sydney’s northern beaches is Surfside Motorcycle Garage, a fusion of all the things motorcycle riders love: food, friends, motorcycles and motorcycles.
Owners Trevor Love, Rob Staples and their partner in adventure known as ‘The Road Rat’ converted the old run-down motorcycle workshop into a motorcyclist refuge just over two years ago, updating the workshop and adding a motorcycle-themed café. There’s even a large movie screen, which will soon be used for a ride-in theatre.
The impressive display of collectable motorcycles spread throughout the café includes Wayne Gardner’s Castrol 6-Hour Honda, a Bob Marley-themed Vespa and a Honda CBX1000. There’s also an equally impressive collection of bikes for sale and a workshop full of historic and exotic machinery.
If you want a genuine BMW Dakar competition bike, or a full-carbon turbocharged Hayabusa, you can buy one here.
“We like to describe ourselves as a high-quality engineering workshop that does motorcycles,” explains business owner Rob Staples. “The mission of our workshop is to keep everything running, no matter how old it is.”
Despite having no trouble filling the place, the boys also host regular bike shows in the car park and are in the process of obtaining a liquor licence for evening events. A word of advice, make a visit a day trip.
605 Canterbury Road,
(02) 9718 6668
Better Bikes is one of Belmore’s landmarks. After almost a quarter of a century, it’s still run by the man who started the business, Roland Slopianka.
Other than its association with Ural sidecars, Better Bikes deals exclusively in the sale of pre-owned motorcycles with a wide range of brands under the one roof.
Business manager Rob Gimbert says his team is always on the lookout for bikes. “We purchase private sale bikes, do trade-ins, buy other bike shops’ trade-ins and we also import bikes,” he says.
Being German, shop owner Roland specialises in BMW – especially the older models – and he sources a lot of bikes from Europe. “We like things which are a little left of centre, like the selection of models from the 1970s and ’80s we presently have in stock.”
A team of technicians test and prepare all the bikes for sale. “As per MAA guidelines we offer a warranty on bikes less than five years old, and have travelled less than 30,000km,” Roland says but he puts his reputation behind all the bikes he sells, warranty or not.
“Because a large percentage of Better Bikes’ business is selling to buyers sight unseen, the last thing we want is an unhappy customer, and a costly issue in another state,” he says. “It’s much better to have everything thoroughly checked here before it goes out.”
A Google search of better bikes will reveal an impressive five-star review rating.
15 Regent Street, Redfern
(02) 9319 6811
Soaring real estate prices and urban sprawl has put a slow and forceful squeeze on the once-prevalent inner-city motorcycle shop. Close Motorcycles is the one shining beacon of light to service Sydney’s growing population of city motorcyclists.
Spend five minutes at the 15-year-old store and you quickly realise partners Andrew Close and Daryl Faddy are not going anywhere anytime soon. There’s a constant stream of city-based bike owners arriving to have their motorcycles serviced and repaired.
Andrew Close says being a Honda and Suzuki dealer suited their location perfectly, due to the range of mid-capacity models each offers.
“I’d say 99 per cent of the new bikes we sell here are LAMS bikes, but only about 50 per cent of the buyers are learner riders,” he said.
“The mid-capacity bikes are perfectly suited to city commuting as well as getting out of town on the weekend.”
“Because we are only a short walk from Central train station, customers can drop off their bikes early in the morning and still get to work on time,” he says. “We look after the lot, from scooters through to big-capacity sportsbikes.”
Close Motorcycles also has a second workshop in Marrickville, which services the inner west and also handles accident repairs.
Close Motorcycles also stock a large range of accessories, from tyres and oil through to helmets and protective clothing. If you ride a bike and live in the inner city, Close Motorcycles should be in your speed dial list.
ELSTAR MOTORCYCLE & QUADS
22/244-254 Horsley Road, Milperra
(02) 9772 1555
Finding a small company selling affordable Chinese dirt bikes and fun quad bikes is just a Google search away, but it’s when back-up service or spare parts are required that things can quickly turn pear-shaped.
Elstar Motorcycle and Quads is a local company which has been importing Chinese-built dirt bikes, kids quad bikes and farm ATV machines for more than a decade.
“We’ve been in business now for 12 years and probably have a spare parts inventory valued at more than $100,000,” company director Eric Cai explains.
“Because a lot of Chinese bikes share similar components, our spare parts will suit a wide range of Chinese-built motorcycles, and we are happy to help owners of other brands of Chinese motorcycles with advice, spares and repairs. They can contact us through the web page if they have any questions.”
Customers can browse the website for the entire Elstar range which includes motorcycles, accessories, clothing and performance parts and dealer locations.
The next product to be available from Elstar is one Eric has designed himself – a motorised drifting trike.
“People are already selling this type of machine online, but we have access to a great motor for the three-wheeler and, of course, all the spare parts,” he says. “We will also be supplying a kit allowing people to convert their own pedal drift trike to a motorised one. It will come with all the parts and brackets required for easy installation.” If your kids want a toe-in-the-water try at dirt biking, Eric is your man.
75-85 O’Riordan Street,
Alexandria (02) 8338 3900
Trivett is a name most would associate with prestige cars, but the large automotive group has also been involved with Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the past eight years and the multi-level premises in Alexandria is as impressive as any of its luxury-car showrooms.
The main showroom area displays the 2015 Harley-Davidson range, while level one is home to the extensive parts and accessories department, including ride and street wear. The basement level is home to the ultra-modern and spotless service department, including a dyno.
The dyno is also used to initiate new members into the 100hp club. Any customer wanting to join is given expert advice on the best performance parts to fit to their Harley-Davidson, and the dyno sheets will confirm the target has been reached.
Operations manager Robert Barrie is understandably proud of the work being undertaken by his 23 staff, including 11 technicians and apprentices.
“Trivett Harley-Davidson is a one-stop shop for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts,” he explains. “Customers have the ability to choose from a huge range of new, demonstrator and used motorcycles in various colours and specifications, plus an equally wide range of lifestyle products and performance parts for their new motorcycle. We pride ourselves on providing a unique customer experience and as a one-stop shop for all things Harley-Davidson.”
“Also, being part of the Trivett Automotive Group, Trivett Harley-Davidson customers benefit from access to very competitive finance rates, which is a unique advantage we have over other Harley-Davidson dealers.”
Another aspect of the Trivett Harley-Davidson dealership that sets it apart is the level of customer care and flexibility for service customers. With the showroom being open seven days a week, owners can drop their bikes in for service, or collect them, on a Saturday and Sunday. Adding to this is the availability of service loan bikes; all new-bike purchasers are offered a complementary service loan bike on their first service should they require
alternative transport (booking essential) there is also shuttle bus back to Central Station.
It’s working-class Harley-Davidson, meets prestige Trivett service. It’s well worth your time to take a look and see what Harley-Davidson has become.
GASOLINE MOTOR CO.
88 Bourke Road, Alexandria
(02) 9698 4433, 1300 GASOLINE
Gasoline’s large showroom and combined workshop is full of custom bikes being lovingly hand built to a customer’s dream specifications. There’s also a collection of restored bikes from the 1950s through the 1980s, an impressive collection of Italian scooters, and a few random surprises scattered around.
The impressive open-plan layout is a unique concept which has the Gasoline crew working on a custom bike in full view of customers while they browse the showroom floor.
Owner and creator, Jason Gasoline, says, “Our focus is custom motorcycles, retro scooters, and customer service.”
“We don’t want to be looked at as a t-shirt company, we will remain focused on the customisation of quality motorcycles in Australia.”
Gasoline has come a long way since the business opened its doors 21 years ago with five Vespa scooters to sell, and an espresso machine to make coffee.
“That was literally our business,” Jason said. “We took a lease on premises in Crown Street Darlinghurst, and started with absolutely nothing.
“No one in Sydney knew what a Vespa was 21 years ago. People would walk into the shop, point and ask what is that?”
Two decades later the team is recognised as a leader in motorcycle customisation, christening each of its creations at the point of idea conception.
Tomahawk I, II and III, Gold Digger and Lucille are just some of the well-known custom projects to be brought to life at Gasoline.
For customers wanting to design their own creation, Jason keeps a selection of Yamaha SR and Kawasaki W800 models on the showroom floor.
“The Braaap Mercury is also becoming a very popular base for a custom café racer. We are doing a load of custom work on that bike at the moment, so we stock them as well,” he says.
Gasoline also recently became an agent for Ural sidecars.
Motorcycle Transport & Logistics (MTL)
1300 769 991 or 0401 414 776
Motorcycle Transport Logistics (MTL) has been in the motorcycle industry for more than 15 years and its business is exactly as the name suggests – it transports motorcycles servicing almost anywhere in Australia. MTL is run and operated by Tony who is a fully qualified motorcycle mechanic – a veteran of 20 years in the field.
“We live, love and breathe bikes!” Tony says. “All our staff have a passion for motorcycles and know how to treat and handle your motorcycle while it’s in our care.”
With scheduled transport runs to and from Sydney on a weekly basis, MTL travels along the East Coast all the way to Cairns, Brisbane, Newcastle, Central Coast, Albury, Melbourne – and all places in between. It has fortnightly runs to Adelaide and it transports to Perth, Darwin and Tasmania each week.
It’s a fully insured service which includes accidental damage. All transport is fully enclosed.
Other services include insurance claim transportation, motorcycle storage, motorcycle crating (for interstate and overseas) and even an inspection service for prospective buyers who can’t do the inspection themselves.
150 Parramatta Road,
(02) 9557 8500
When you’ve been around for 15 years and have around 5500 customers on the books, you must be doing something right.
Scooteria, located on the fringe of the inner-city in Stanmore, has a focus on the top end of the scooter market with Vespa being its premium brand. Its sales of Vespa/Piaggio have made it Australia’s number-one dealer for the last 10 years in a row.
Scooteria boss, Wens, puts this down to the businesses’ approach to customer care but acknowledges that location is also a factor.
“We’re just a few kilometres from the university and hospital precincts where there’s a big market for practical commuting solutions,” he says.
“For many of these buyers, scooters make sense. With automatic transmissions, new riders can focus on road skills without having to concentrate on things like co-ordinating the clutch, gearchange and throttle. It makes scooters a safer option for many city users.”
While Vespa rules the roost at Scooteria, there’s a range of brands available including Piaggio and Sym to accommodate individual budgets. Scooteria is discerning in its product range to ensure customers get maximum reliability and its in-house service centre is staffed by qualified, highly experienced mechanics committed to keeping the customer base safe and mobile.
Scooteria also has a complete range of helmets, clothing and scooter accessories, making it a one-stop shop. Helmets include the fashionable Momo and RXT open-face range and women customers often can’t believe how stylish the GoGo Gear range of safe riding clothing is. You can check it out at www.scooteria.com.au.
As Greg Shoemark explains on page 34 of this issue, it’s actually cheaper to own a car and a scooter than it is just to own a car by itself. Now you know where to get the scooter!
95-97 Princes Highway,
(02) 9557 7234
Motociclo is a small and highly specialised family run business. It’s become an iconic shop to visit for the European and classic motorcycle owner who demands nothing but the best in sales and service. Since opening its doors in 2004, owners John and Nicole have enjoyed 11 years of considerable success and have built a substantial reputation for their expertise and quality of service.
“We are proud to be specialised agents for two unique motorcycle brands, Moto Guzzi and Royal Enfield,” Nicole says. “These two historic brands complement each other and we have always had a genuine interest and passion for them. We also sell other brands such as Skyteam Ace 125 and Cleveland Cyclewerks motorcycles.
“We also provide service and repairs on mainly European and classic motorcycles. We’re now very well known for our expertise with Moto Guzzi,” she says.
With a long background and a passion for the ’50s and ’60s classic motorcycle culture, Motociclo also imports and retails many reputable and authentic products. These include great traditional products such as Halcyon goggles and bar-end mirrors, Lewis Leathers UK, Ace Cafe merchandise, US Engineer boots, Bell Helmets and Australian-made oilskin jackets.
Bike parts and accessories also feature heavily. Motociclo imports and stocks Agostini, Tommaselli, Mistral mufflers, Napoleon mirrors, Norman Hyde, Dell-Orto and much more.
To check out Motociclo’s little haven, visit 95-97 Princes Hwy, St Peters.