Keanu’s love for motorcycles is not new. He discovered his love for two wheels while shooting for a film in Germany when he was 22. The first motorcycle he ever owned was a Kawasaki KLR600, this bike was stolen but it already ignited the fire. Just when he returned to Los Angeles after the shooting in Germany he bought a classic Norton Commando .Keanu got into habit of buying motorcycles for short durations when shooting and selling them when the shoot was all done. The list of motorcycles he’s owned is composed of an ’84 Harley Shovelhead, Suzuki GS1100E, 1974 BMW 750, Kawasaki KZ 900, Suzuki GSX-R750 and a Moto Guzzi too. After having cloaked thousands of miles on every motorcycle he rode built a passion for Keanu to start his own motorcycle customization project that led him to Gard Hollinger.
"Someone called and asked me if I was interested in building a sissy bar for Keanu Reeves," Hollinger recalled. "I said, 'No, but I'm happy to meet with him.'" While within a short time Hollinger received a 2005 Harley-Davidson from Keanu for customization purposes and that was a start of the friendship between Keanu and Hollinger. Keanu came to motorcycling later in life but Hollinger was a lifelong rider. Not only a rider but a mechanic and a designer as well .He grew up in Los Angeles riding dirt bikes and worked in the San Juan Islands, had a motorcycle shop in Seattle, and making bobbers and choppers as a “fabricators for hire” and then finally started his own Ziggy Harly Custom Motorcycles in Canoga Park. As both discussed about bikes in general it became clear that both shared a passion for motorcycles and a vision, and that was the time when KRGT-1’s was born.
Initially KRGT-1 started off as another custom bike for Keanu but as the bike came into finishing stage Keanu got struck by the idea that KRGT-1 should be made for others too. Hollinger dismissed the idea about making more of KRGT-1 but finally, Reeves told him "I want you to stop telling me why we can't do this, and start telling me how we can." Once the design was under construction both agreed on what KRGT-1 would actually be and do.
"We didn't want a bike that would just look pretty sitting in your living room," Hollinger said. "It had to be comfortable and reliable."
"It had to go into extreme lean angles and really take care of you," Reeves said.
KRGT-1 looks like a rough-hewn road warrior showered in shiny chrome .The Heart of the beast is a 120-cubic inch V-twin capable of generating 121 horsepower and 121 pound-feet of torque, now completed and launched. Each KRGT-1 is handcrafted and requires hundreds of hours of labor. It takes 60 hours of work alone on the two-section gas tank to turn from 600 pounds of solid aluminum into the sinuously-crafted 21-pound final product. At a recent test run on the track at Willow Springs International Raceway near Lancaster, Hollinger said, professional motorcycle racer Danny Eslick took the KRGT1 up to 138 mph. Reeves and Hollinger have decided to build not more than 100 motorcycles a year, while they plan to expand their line to 2 different Arch models.
"There's a general attitude that no motorcycle should ever cost $78, 000," Hollinger said. "But that's the kind of person who's never going to buy a Roll Royce. We never set out to make something affordable."