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Born to ride and restore

Posted: March 31, 2013 10:00 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2013 10:03 p.m.

Brandon Moore, owner of Steadfast Cycles, displays his vintage Triumph leather jacket and some classic British motorcycles ready for restoration.

For the last 12 years, Canyon Country resident Brandon Moore has operated a shop with a revolutionary idea: to put British wheels on American soil.

At his shop, Steadfast Cycles in Canyon Country, Moore and his employees work to repair and restore vintage British motorcycles to their original conditions.

A longtime motorcycle enthusiast, Moore grew up in Sylmar before moving to the Santa Clarita Valley 23 years ago.

He said last week his move was anything but coincidental.

"You have all the canyon roads up here; it’s really just a destination for motorcycle riding," Moore said. "It’s just perfect for someone who likes to ride."

Moore has firsthand experience with those canyon roads, having commuted by motorcycle into the San Fernando Valley for a time by traveling along the winding roads near Highway 14 and Interstate 210.

But he did not always think he would roll into the motorcycle field, originally apprenticing as an electrical mechanic.

After a time, the memories of dirt- and street-riding as a kid proved to be a siren call.

"Life is short," Moore said. "I wanted to do something I really enjoyed."

But why was Moore attracted to the idea of working on British cycles in the first place? To paraphrase the 1967 film "The Graduate," the answer was one word: Plastics.

"British motorcycles have very little plastic on them," Moore said. "They’re all nuts and bolts, which makes them fun to work on."

But his interest in the British brands goes beyond the professional realm; it’s reflected in his personal ride: a 1972 Norton Commando.

"When you ride a British motorcycle, you just feel the road more," Moore said. "They have a different personality."

While today’s motorcycle landscape is dominated by Japanese manufacturers, such as Honda and Yamaha, the middle and early parts of the 20th century were firmly in the British realm.

Due in part to their military applications, British motorcycles rose to major prominence during the two world wars.

In the aftermath of World War II, British manufacturers such as Triumph, the Birmingham Small Arms Company and Norton became increasingly popular in both Britain and abroad, with residents of the United States purchasing them en masse.

Now it is up to enthusiasts like Moore to keep British wheels churning.

"I opened this shop because I fell in love with British motorcycles and wanted to always be around them," Moore said.

Though he tries to pass along that love to his two sons, age 7 and 9, Moore said the message hasn’t quite stuck as of yet.

"I think they get kind of bored when I try and show them things, to be honest," Moore said with a laugh.


On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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