The past 16 months have been very difficult, the pandemic spread together with lockdowns and curfews... The good news is, 2021 shows clearly some hopes to get back to a normal life. This is also the case for the Classic Riders. Last months we launched our 41st community, in Los Angeles, lead by our friend Richard. LA is definitely on the right track to become a cool Moto hub on the West US coast. First with the opening of the Bike Shed but also with the arrival of BAAK Motorcycles.
I had the pleasure to spend a bit of time with Laura, representing BAAK USA in LA to gather a little more infos about her, the project and the motorcycle world in general !
Dominque Dutronc: Hi Laura, how are you ! Can you introduce yourself, where are you from, where do you live and what you do ?
Laura: I’m originally from the South of France and moved to LA with my husband two years ago. After spending 3 years in Paris we were looking for new challenges and my husband decided to open a company in LA. Few month after we arrived, we started to work with Remi Reguin the French founder of BAAK motorcycle to open a workshop in LA. And I’m now the director of the US branch of BAAK motorcycle
Dom: Can you tell us a little bit more about BAAK and the new venture in the US ? What are your current challenges (appart from COVID) ? How do you make a french brand attractive in the US ?
Laura: BAAK was born in 2012 in Lyon, France. BAAK's founder, Rémi Reguin, is a young entrepreneur who started customizing motorcycles in his grandma’s garage in 2008. He is a freedom lover who is deeply convinced that harmony and balance are what make sense in life and in bikes. So when he decided to quit his job as an optician and store manager, it was not only a matter of business ambition. While Rémi was tooling around in his garage, he worked on all types of bikes. But he noticed that, in the custom motorcycle field, there were no companies offering classical and ageless projects: the bespoke bikes. BAAK has taken up this niche.
Since almost its creation, BAAK sells parts all around the world and the US was the biggest export market. The brand is not a new comer in the US but we now need to attract more customers for full projects. The custom culture is much more important here in the US compared to Europe, you have a lot more people wishing to make their ride (being a motorcycle, a classic car etc…) unique to their needs or taste. Over the last few years the demand for full custom projects from American customers was more and more important. But because of DOT regulation you cannot build a brand new motorcycle in Europe and shipped it to the US, it has to be build in the United States. Thats why Remi and I decided to open a workshop in LA: to build full custom projects. All the parts design and manufacturing stays in France so if you want to orders parts online nothing will change (but we are working to offer US$ prices on our website).
However we are now capable to build your dream bike in our beautiful LA’s workshop.
This mix of French craftsmanship and « savoir faire » with US inspirations in term of style is I think what makes us attractive to our US. Our expertise, attention to detail and use of noble materials is what has been recognized by our customers and we intend to continue that way.
Today, BAAK calls both Lyon and Los Angeles home. These places inspire us to tap new sources of inspiration and influence. And from one country to another, our teams never stop searching for new dreams to fulfill.
Dom: What motorcycle do you ride, why you ride and when did you start ?
Laura: The shoemaker children are always the worst shod! I don’t own a motorcycle for the moment.
For the time being, we use the showroom bikes: a Triumph T120 modified with a Tracker style and our amazing Royal Enfield 650 INT « Gallinella ». I love the Gallinella it’s so easy to ride and since we change the wheels with 17’ for the front and the rear (instead of the factory 18’’) this bike that was already easy, became the perfect ride for me. We are actually working on a Triumph Bobber and I think this one could become my favorite…
I have been a pillion for more than 10 years, always riding on the back of my husband’s Bonneville. When we moved to LA I knew it was the right time for me to start riding on my own. Not necessarily to commute but more to ride on the week end and also to be able to go on road trips with friends.
And between you and me, do you know a better way to learn riding than on a BAAK’s motorcycle?
Dom: Laura, why do you think communities are important, especially in the motorcycle world ?
Laura: My husband was one of the first member of a French rider group called the Dandy Riders and we met so many people, people you wouldn’t meet if it’s not because of a shared passion like motorcycle. It can open so many doors on both the professional side as well as the personnal. You create with people in your community friendship that last long time and resist the distance and all challenges life throw at you. This is so enriching and here lies the great importance of communities.
Like we used to say with the Dandy Riders: « Ride to be together, be together to ride »
For BAAK it will also be a key of success because the riders community like Classic Riders are the best way to find customers and prescribers sharing our values, using our parts and enjoying them.
Dom: Can you tell us what is the best motorcycle trip you did and the next big one you are planning ?
Until now, I didn’t get a chance to go on a motorcycle trip in the US but I would love to spend few day in Sequoia park and Yosemite with a couple of friends, just camping in the middle of the forest and exploring the roads and fire road out there.
There are so many beautiful road just in California I cannot imagine all the possibilities the United States can have for riders like us. I guess time will tell but I’m sure we’ll soon have amazing opportunities to go and explore the west coast all the way up to Canada and we are thinking on doing a cross country trip to meet our customers in different cities along the road and ride with them and discover amazing roads and people.
Thanks a lot Laura for your time but mostly your passion around motorcycles ! If you wish to know more about BAAK, you can find their Facebook page here, their Instagram account here, their Youtube channel here or simply send a mail to Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org