Driving his own matrix
Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves loves speed. He also has a special sense of style. The star of the Matrix series has established his own perspective on two and four wheels, inspired by
Keanu Reeves loves to drive fast, a passion he can afford to indulge with any high-powered sports car. As a matter of fact, if he wished to, he could own an entire fleet of supercars. After all, Keanu Reeves is the star of the three highly successful Matrix films, which have grossed over $1.7 billion worldwide.
But his heart belongs to
How did he get to be a one-and-only-one-for-him
When asked as a child what he wanted to be when he grew up, nuclear physicist made the list, along with race car driver, inspired by watching motor sports on TV. Reeves was turned on by the shapes of race cars and their sound. The fantasy of being a race car driver was not merely the stuff of a teenager’s imagination. Reeve’s sister dated a race car driver, and he enjoyed some high-speed cruises through southern France as a passenger. Oh yeah, last on the list was actor.
He bought his first car when he was 17. It was a British racing green Volvo 122, which he called “Dumpy” because it was exactly what the name implied: there were bricks jammed into the interior to hold up the seats. But at least it got him from Toronto to Los Angeles in 1985. The Volvo’s time was up just as Reeves was discovering motorcycles. He loved their sound as well as their speed, and the simple pleasure of riding them. His favorite was a 1973 Norton Commando, which he bought in 1987 and still owns.
At around this time his acting career began to take off: from independent films to movies aimed at teenagers to the acclaimed My Own Private Idaho with River Phoenix. After that, the blockbusters Point Break and Speed earned him significant and long-lasting notoriety. The velocity in Speed was a mere 50 mph that had to be maintained by Sandra Bullock, driving a booby-trapped Santa Monica transit bus while Reeves—playing an LAPD bomb squad expert who got himself onto the bus—figured out a way to get the passengers off safely.
Reeves had indulged his love of motorcycles by buying a bike every time he filmed on location, then selling it on site when he finished the gig. However, over the years, several motorbike crashes reminded him of their limits—as well as his own. After Point Break and Speed, he was ready for something with four wheels. Having ridden in
He settled on a black 911
“The Sled,” as Reeves had named the car because it was sleek and fast, was one of the last of the air-cooled engines, and therefore, he theorizes, a target. After a period of mourning, he was ready to buy another car. But the new one was not going to be just “any” 911. Reeves approached
These negotiations took place at the same exact time Reeves was trying to customize one of his motorcycles, a Harley-Davidson. Perhaps a custom seat would work? The folks at a high-end seat shop steered him to Gard Hollinger, a renowned bike customizer in the L.A. area. But Hollinger said that redoing the Harley was not his style. His honesty appealed to Reeves. After all, how many people in southern California ever say no to a movie star who is ready to write a check? Reeves and Hollinger began talking about creating a new motorcycle. Here too Reeves remained true. The
They founded the Arch Motorcycle Company to design and build the motorcycle of Reeves’s dreams. Reeves took delivery of his new 911 and had to go on location to film the action movie John Wick. In the meantime, Hollinger’s work on the new bike culminated in the KRGT-1, a beautiful machine with custom-designed performance in its suspension, riding, ergonomics, and handling that may warrant a new description: Performance or Sport Cruiser. The KRGT-1 is exceptional, but not intended as a one-off: Reeves and Hollinger are prepared to build as many as one hundred such bikes a year.
The actor compares his beloved motorcycle creation to his sports car. For one thing, the KRGT-1, like the
By Lawrence Dietz
Photos by Axel Köster