Two-wheelers for lovers and for James Bond

Although many motorcyclists have their machines refined by hand, custom bike providers have concerns. Mellow Motorcycles from Friedberg, too. However, the reason for this is not the corona pandemic.

Gem: Flo Hubert and Mellow Motorcycles have made a name for themselves internationally.

Et was something of an accolade for the young Mellow Motorcycles team. When the converted Triumph Thruxton R was rolled into St. Paul’s Cathedral last summer to be at the center of the service in honor of the 60th birthday of the ’59 motorcycle club, a big step towards international recognition was achieved. The sky-blue beauty on two wheels, known as the “Phantom Blaze”, was a highlight at the celebration of the Association for the Support of Young Motorcyclists founded by the Church of England 60 years ago under the auspices of the English royal family.

Mellow Motorcycles is based in Rosbach near Friedberg. The fine forge for customized motorcycles, so-called custom bikes, resides in a sober building in the industrial park. She shares the premises with the subsidiary of the British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph. Flo Hubert is the boss of both companies. The businessman and marketing specialist founded the company Mellow Motorcycles in Heilbronn in 2016. In 2018 the opportunity arose to take over the Frankfurt branch of Triumph, with which he moved to Rosbach. In May Hubert opened a branch of Triumph and Mellow in Dietzenbach and expanded the range there to include two-wheelers from the Japanese brand Yamaha. The corona pandemic was to blame for the fact that the opening of the “Big Bang” branch, originally planned for April, was missing, as Hubert says. But now the offshoot is beginning to bloom.

The business with motorcycles is booming – at least with series bikes. Despite or maybe even because of the Corona crisis. Instead of investing money in their vacation, says Thomas Trapp, owner of the Harley Factory Frankfurt, his customers put their money in a piece of heavy metal from Milwaukee.

At times bought completely empty

The registration numbers for motorcycles in Germany have made a big leap forward after the end of the first lockdown in spring. According to the motorcycle industry association, 182,000 motorcycles had been newly registered in Germany by September – more than in 18 years. “2020 was our most successful year so far,” says 41-year-old Hubert. “At times we were completely empty.” He sold 250 two-wheelers to customers, significantly more than in the previous year, when around 160 bikes from Great Britain were sold. Business is also going well at Harley Davidson on Wächtersbacher Strasse in Frankfurt. Around 350 motorcycles are sold there annually, including 2020. The machines with the powerful V-engines no longer come from the United States, but are assembled in Thailand. This is how Harley Davidson avoids punitive tariffs. There are already 150 pre-orders for the coming year, says Trapp.

The Harley Factory also relies on the Custom Bikes card. “Hardly a Harley rolls out of the store without changes,” says Trapp. Other mirrors, indicators, footrests: the possibilities seem limitless. Other tanks, airbrush paintwork, chassis or even frame modifications are tough. Under the name Thunderbike, Harley Frankfurt offers almost everything that is possible. Many Harley riders want an individual bike, and some of them a unique one, for which they can already spend an additional 30,000 euros and more.

The Mellow custom forge thrives above all on its international reputation. Bikes from Rosbach have won many prizes. Triumph became aware of Mellow when Hubert and his team won the prestigious Glemseck 101 sprint race in 2017 with a converted Ducati. Triumph commissioned Mellow to convert one of their machines for the 2018 race. The Phantom Blaze was created in hundreds of hours of manual work. The sky-blue lightning bolt not only won the Glemseck 101, but also the entire “Sultans of Sprint” racing series. The Phantom Blaze has 142 hp, 1200 cubic centimeters, two cylinders with a compressor and additional cooler, it is a modern classic, very British, but of almost Italian elegance. Around 80,000 euros are in the bike, which is owned by the Triumph headquarters and is one of the gems of the factory museum in Hinckley.