That is the mantra, nay battle cry, in the Indian Larry Motorcycles shop. The storefront is sleek; 1/3 museum of Indian Larry the legend, 1/3 showroom of some of the sweetest bikes in the world and 1/3 a merch shop for those who aren’t lucky enough to acquire an Indian Larry custom bike but still want to be a part of the lifestyle. One of the cooler shirts is of Larry’s neck tattoo:
“In God We Trust
Vengeance Is Mine.
Sayeth The Lord
Behind the showroom in Brooklyn is the workshop full of twisted metal and bikes at various stages of gestation, pages torn out of smut rags then taped to a wall and awesome graffiti murals, hands that are so calloused wearing work gloves would be redundant and those same hands creating the most enviable bikes on the road.
“Question everything,” says partner Shane McMahon, yep, that Shane McMahon. “Life goes so fast that you should stop and question why things are a certain way. That’s the credo we live by around the shop and what we want to put out into the world.” That’s the same lifestyle that Indian Larry, the man, lived by.
“Indian Larry was a character,” says Bobby Seeger, a partner in Indian Larry Motorcycles and the man running the show day-to-day. “He was somebody who wanted to entertain people and he pretty much did it at all costs [including eventually his life when he blacked out doing a motorcycle stunt]. He was crazy—he robbed banks as a kid, made bombs and then he moved on to making motorcycles. One of the things with Larry is that he always wanted to build motorcycles that were light and fast so that they could boogie in and out of cars around New York City.”
Those kind of machines weren’t on the road and Larry questioned everything, then made his own. “The brand is real and it is raw,” McMahon says. “It’s got that great attitude of hard work and creativity that resonates with a lot of people.” While looking at an Indian Larry custom bike you can’t help but get the feeling that you are staring at an urbane sculpture wrapped around pure muscle—almost like Siegfried & Roy’s gilded cage for their white tiger.
“I think a guy like Liberace would even approve of these bikes because there is some wham and glam but yet you can get out and boogie on these things,” Seeger says. “We just build every motorcycle with the love we would if it were our own bike.”
Still, almost 12 years after his death, Indian Larry motorcycles are being custom built from the ground up and being put on the road to weave through traffic and entertain.
Seeger says, “In the style of bikes that we have been continuously building I believe that Larry’s soul and passion lives on.”
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