Action star Keanu Reeves is known for immersing himself in every detail of his roles, and now he's doing the same with his new business venture — making motorcycles.
With his partner Gard Hollinger, Reeves has redefined the American-made motorcycle with Arch Motorcycle Company, which the duo co-founded in 2011. Starting at $78,000, the company's bikes are handcrafted dream machines that have become cult favorites for their combination of elegant design and workmanship, and monster power and handling.
While the company's unmarked brick factory in an industrial park near Los Angeles International Airport seems a world away from Reeves' Hollywood career, the 51-year-old star of "The Matrix," "Speed" and "Point Break" says motorcycles have long been one of his chief passions.
"For me, riding is a kind of freedom. Just the sound, the feeling of it. The connection to the road, to riding, to the environment, to the journey."
Reeves has been riding motorcycles since he was 22, and almost always takes two wheels to his movie sets. But he never planned on going into the motorcycle business. In 2006, he brought one of his Harley-Davidson's to Hollinger, an L.A. chopper guru, to customize the seat. Hollinger refused to fix the seat, and instead wound up designing Reeves an entirely custom-made motorcycle.
"Four years, later we had a motorcycle," Reeves said. "And we looked at that bike and [I] was like, 'That's an amazing machine. It rides amazing. Do you wanna start a motorcycle company?'"
At first Hollinger demurred, recalling other fleeting vanity projects by Hollywood celebrities. But Reeves insisted they could build something big — and lasting.
"I said, 'Listen, man, we're gonna die. You know? We're gonna die,'" Reeves recalled. "'Let's build something. This machine is incredible. What you've done is amazing. Let's try.'"