We want to start our 2014 interview series with a very special rider. Our fellow biker Matteo Gottardi, italian by birth and american by choice tells us about his adventures, passions, rides and more.
Matteo Gottardi W.R.K
MF: Ciao Matteo, as you know we always ask this first: tell us about your first motorcycle!
MATTEO: I grew up in Italy until I was 9 and spent every summer over there after moving to the US. My entire Italian family from my Grandfather to my Aunt rode so as a teenager I would always take out his 70’s Lambretta and her Piaggo to meet friends- I guess you could say riding has been part of my DNA for quite some time. The first bike I ever bought myself was a Vespa for the ease of getting around NYC but that was short lived… I’ve been a Triumph man ever since.
MF: You are the founder and Creative Director at W.R.K. How has your passion for motorcycles influenced your work?
M: Functionality and purpose are guiding design principles for me in my own menswear line W.R.K and when I am designing for clients through my creative studio the WRKSHOP. I truly believe that clothing is one of the most valuable tools an individual has when approaching everyday life so I have a very practical and purposeful perspective when I create my garments that is heavily influenced by my being a daily rider. I am constantly incorporating design details such as articulated sleeves, water repellent fabrics, snap out liners, throat latches, etc. in my clothing, all things considered important when riding but that also translate into everyday wear. My W.R.K Touring Jacket is a perfect example of this in that it is inspired by my love of riding, performs when I am on my bike but also works seamlessly with daily life in New York City.
MF: Tell us about your best or unforgettable ride.
M: In 2010 I took two weeks off of work and headed to South Africa with a buddy. We rented two BMW 650 GS and rode North from Cape Town. There was no plan, just the road and what we came upon along the way. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
M: I have a custom 2006 all-black Triumph Bonnie. I got her in 2005 and did most of the work on her myself. I started by painting her flat black with my brother and then it just progressed from there, I was hooked. I added Norman Hyde exhaust, inverted black tourer bars, a brown sixty leather seat and coke bottle grips, an air box eliminator, a bobbed front fender (removing the rear), added mini-bullet aluminum signals, progressive shocks… the list goes on. I call her Naomi because she is Black, British and mean. She’s my girl.
MF: Painful question…What do you think of driving in NYC?
M: A few descriptive words come to mind that I’m pretty sure I cannot list here. Some of the more PC ones to paint an accurate picture of the experience- POT HOLES, KAMIKAZE CAB DRIVERS, BIKE LANES!!!! Gotham definitely presents a daily adventure for the riders of her streets.
MF: Harley, BMW, Ducati, Triumph, Honda, Suzuki. There are so many bikes: What fascinates you the most?
M: I have to side with the Brits. I love old British engineering and have a real affinity for vintage Triumphs. To me there is something very pure and purposeful about their aesthetic and lines. I love the look of an old Bonnie’s steel frame, straight twin engine and old-school leather bench seat.
M: I’m not really one to give advice but I do have a personal mantra- Work Hard. Live Honest. It pretty much says it all.
MF: Where is your favorite places to ride in the USA?
M: I have ridden up and down a lot of the East Coast; Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Maryland and Florida to name a few spots. A favorite ride that comes to mind is surprisingly one I took with friends to Cleveland, OH. I know it sounds a bit random but the straight shot across the twisties of PA with no helmet law… It was solid to say the least.
MF: The motorcycle ride of your dreams.
M: I would head to Europe. Starting point would be my grandfather’s cabin in the Italian Dolomites and I would make my way from there down the Croatian coast. Next summer.
M: I try to do as much work on my bike as I can myself or by looping in one of my friends that ride. If I am in a tough spot- and it happens, my go to guy is Hugh Mackie at Sixth Street Specials. The man is a legend. His spot in Alphabet City epitomizes what Great Britain’s motorcycle heyday was all about as he specializes in working on classic British bikes. The shop is a true testament to the Triumph and there are always some killer ones parked outside that when I see them, completely reminds me why I love to ride.