Last month I poked fun at the transformation many motorcycle shops have gone through from old skool grease & oil aroma-filled halls of intrigue to cold, sterile, corporate boutiques. So you can imagine my surprise when I rolled up Glenridge Ave. in Montclair, NJ and saw a vintage motorcycle in a storefront window. The store could not be big enough to be an actual motorcycle shop and yet it had the name “Montclair Riding Co.” emblazoned upon its façade along with the tagline “Life Is A Beautiful Ride.” Could this be an actual “cool” moto-boutique?!
Upon entering I met owner Sy who explained to me why he opened his retro-infused moto-shop a few months ago in artsy Montclair. “Well, my wife and I live in Montclair and we love the town for a start. Secondly, we love motorcycles and have a deep appreciation for similar shops that have popped up in places like Brooklyn. But although it is not geographically far from NJ, getting to Brooklyn can be a tortuous journey. Our thought was that there must be cool moto-people in NJ who would love to have a store like ours closer to home.”
Enter: Montclair Riding Co. whose slogan is “Stocking a mix of modern-classic moto apparel and accessories” So if you are looking to get your oil changed, this is not the place. However, if you want a bad-ass handmade leather facemask from France or a unique helmet, wallet, t-shirt or one-of-a-kind leather jacket, man– have you GOT to get here. One of my favorite items is their Wheelborne Fuel/Beverage Bottle Bag for $60.00. You can add water or fuel to this stylish waxed canvas-clad bottle holder. And if you buy their companion tankbag it is made to attach right to it. Never be stranded again if you choose fuel, nor be thirsty if you choose water. Just don’t mix the two up! You can call The Montclair Riding Co. at 973-233-0002 or surf to montclairridingco.com to learn more. But for sure the best experience is to simply pay a visit to MRC in person and say hello to Sy now that the riding weather is starting to break.
In keeping with the retro theme… I have Facebook friend Eric Campbell to thank for reminding me of the 1985 TV show Street Hawk that admittedly I never really got into back then, but have now binge-watched and finally come to appreciate. ABC’s Street Hawk only ran for one season (13 episodes) and is cheesy as hell. But weak storylines and 80’s special effects aside, what the show’s creators did to a stock Honda XR500 to transform it into a futuristic, all-terrain combat-moto is impressive. Street Hawk is supposedly capable of speeds up to 300 mph but I must admit that its high speed (hyperthrust) feature is really hilarious to watch. Hyperthrust supposedly allows the bike (via sped-up film) to make tight intersection turns at 200+ mph. It’s a real hoot to watch, especially if you ride.
That said, there are some positives to Street Hawk… Firstly, it’s a show about a sick, all-terrain, motorcycle! Secondly, the musical theme was composed by the legendary Tangerine Dream. (trivia bit- a modified version of the song appeared on TJ’s album Le Parc) Another cool aspect is that Winfield Special Projects made all the body panels and special effects for the bike. Winfield creations have found their way into more than 20 Hollywood films, including Bladerunner, Robocop and The Last Starfighter. Most notably though, Winfield created the flying version of the Delorean time traveler for Back to the Future.