A Wilder Business

11/15/2013 Update! Recently expanded Moto Shop featured on NatGeo program “Let It Ride”!

National Geographic Channel has a new entry in the parade of custom motorcycle building shows, “Let It Ride.” It is focused around Zach Ness, the grandson of custom motorcycle king, Oakland-raised Arlen Ness. This young grandson along with his experienced crew builds custom bikes from scratch or with the seed of an old motorcycle. Time will tell how Zach treads in the trendsetting designer boots of his granddad.

In the 6th episode, “I Know What Girls Like”, Zach and crew attempt their first sport bike build (with a beat-up Yamaha base) “on behalf “ of the now 6000-ft Moto Shop, which has elbowed some more space from the building. See Zach banter with Wilder-of-few-words-and-many-wise-looks and the gracious and mirthful Aleks. Some great shots of Moto Shop were squeezed in there and the segment ends with a satisfying cruise at Thunder Hill. Find the episode info here: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/let-it-ride/episodes/i-know-what-girls-like/. Be warned; it also features a segment on creating very…um…feminine makeover on a Harley Dyna.

Arlen Ness is one of the best-known builders in the world of custom motorcycles, and one might argue the king of quirky designs, including his famous painting style. Above is the “Mach Ness”. Photo by Michael Lichter

Arlen Ness is one of the best-known builders in the world of custom motorcycles, and one might argue the king of quirky designs, including his famous painting style. Above is the “Mach Ness”. Photo by Michael Lichter

1/9/2013:

Quirkutopia has spawned many an unusual business idea; brilliance born from the hearts and minds of true Quirks.

Meet Wilder and Alexandra Grippo, both raised in the hills and niches of Sonoma County and having been bitten by the moto bug. They both ride and even race a bit.

Meet Wilder and Aleksandra Grippo, both raised in the hills and niches of Sonoma County and having been bitten by the moto bug. They both ride and even race a bit. Photo courtesy of Moto Shop

Wilder and Aleks have started a business that doesn’t aim to sell you anything, nor do anything much for you. Hey, that’s not good capitalism, you say! Oh, but wait. This hard working and fun-seeking pair instead offer you the chance to learn – to fix your own motorcycle! We recently visited the Moto Shop location in South San Francisco.

The Moto Shop in it's sweet warehouse in South San Francisco.

The Moto Shop in it’s sweet warehouse home in South San Francisco.                           Photo by Heather Granahan

This is a different kind of motorcycle shop – it’s a 4,000 sq.ft. do-it-yourself shop where you can work on your own motorcycle(street, dirt, or scooter), or take a class and learn how to do it yourself. They provide really organized fully equipped workstations with all the tools and resources to help you fix and maintain your moto.

Lots of lifts, light and ventilation make it downright pleasant to work on your moto.        Photo by Heather Granahan

Lots of lifts, light and ventilation make it downright pleasant to work on your moto. No more hard-assing it on the cold ground.                                                                             Photo by Heather Granahan

The space is a lofty old warehouse with industrial trusses and one giant wall covered in street art. They invited a team of local street painters in and the result has authenticity and punch.

Here are a few clients bikes stored against the wall of art – a privilege available with a monthly repair station reservation.

Here are a few clients bikes stored against the wall of art at Moto Shop– a privilege available with a monthly repair station reservation.                                                                                  Photo by Heather Granahan

Alex’s professional graphic arts business adds a visual sensibility to everything Moto Shop.  Photo by Heather Granahan

Aleks’ professional graphic arts business adds a visual sensibility to           everything  Moto Shop.               Photo by Heather Granahan

You reserve the stations by the hour or day for a very reasonable cost. At your fingertips the possibilities are endless: oil change, carb rebuild, exhaust install, tire change, heated grips install, engine swap, chain replacement – you name it, you can do it. 

If you don’t know where to begin, take a hands-on clinic and learn how. There are instructors (both genders, by the way) who can be tapped for one-on-one individual coaching, too.

Getting some one-on-one coaching at Moto Shop.

Getting some one-on-one coaching at Moto ShopPhoto courtesy of Moto Shop

Soon, Wilder and Aleks hope to expand Moto Shops in new locations as the clamor is building from other burgs in ‘topia. South San Fran is actually a cooler neighborhood than some people might think…but we want a Moto Shop in Sonoma County, too!

Wilder’s late dad Bill Grippo was a master saddlemaker and leatherworker and the sign for his old business “Horesepower” hangs in the Moto Shop, seemingly foretelling his son’s interest. His European-born mother is an active artist living in Mexico.

Perhaps growing up under a “Horsepower” sign rubbed off on Wilder in some way…

Perhaps growing up under a “Horsepower” sign rubbed off on Wilder in some way… Photo by Heather Granahan

Just past the Horsepower sign is the Moto Shop lounge area where moto heads kick it with some grub and sometimes  have movie nights – moto-themed, of course. Connect with  Moto Shop on FaceBook ( http://www.facebook.com/BayAreaMotoShop?ref=ts&fref=ts ),  or the web (www.bayareamotoshop.com )  to get in the loop. Or moto your hiney down there, better yet.

How about movie night in the Moto Shop lounge? Or just grab a bite and hang out; it’s riding-boot friendly

How about movie night in the Moto Shop lounge? Or just grab a bite and hang out; it’s riding-boot and dog friendly .        Photo by Heather Granahan

South San Francisco has a cool old downtown neighborhood, a hidden corner of the Bay Area.

South San Francisco has a cool old downtown neighborhood, a hidden corner of the Bay AreaPhoto by Heather Granahan

Take a break from monkey-wrenching and grab a bite at Ed’s Diner in South San Fran.

Take a break from monkey-wrenching and grab a bite at the timeless Ed’s Diner in South San Fran. Photo origins lost in time

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One response to “A Wilder Business

  1. godelieve Uyttenhove

    bravo Wilder and Aleks! Godelieve (Gabrielle’s mother)

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