Price: $85,000 (Rs 64 lakh approx) (price depends on country)
Configuration: 2,032 cc air-cooled, fuel-injected, twin-cam, V-twin
(80 km) and more, i’m salivating with anticipation, waiting to push the sporting potential of the new bike. as you’d imagine, with a wide rear tyre, long wheelbase, and a lazy raked out front end, stability was never going to be an issue.
the initial turn is a little slow, but once past five degrees of lean, the arCH rolls into corners predictably and gracefully. you can then just keep leaning and leading. and unlike most sporty cruisers, i’m not dragging foot-pegs and the exhaust on the apex.
i push on a little harder, lean a little further, and it’s the same result. the arCH delivers with almost sportsbike levels of lean, the stuff Harley riders can only dream about. Put some more rear-set pegs on this bike, drop the bars and you’d have a knee down mid-corner cruiser. ish.
that quality Öhlins suspension holds the heavy chassis extremely well. there is very little sag in the rear shock and because the rear isn’t sitting down as expected, nothing touches the road, even when a few unexpected undulations are thrown into the equation. despite the lack of squat, you can still dial in fistfuls of torque and feel the grip. eventually, without any rider aids like traction control, that fat michelin will break free, but you’d need to be devilish with the throttle or have a cold tyre to do so.
the front 48-mm fully adjustable Öhlins forks are also on the sporty side, while the uprated six-piston isr calipers are sportsbike-strong and free of fade, which is impressive given they have to haul down 244 kg plus the rider. (the brake system itself has been updated for the new model with a new reservoir and twin-channel abs developed in partnership with bosch.)
in the endless twists and turns of the mountains, what impresses me the most, apart from the class-leading ground clearance, is the bike’s ability to switch from one corner to the next without any dramatic counter-steering input or pushing on the pegs. again, the control of the Öhlins suspension helps — you don’t have to pull the bike upright, lift it over the shock, and force it back down the other side — and the ride is far more flowing and effortless than i had anticipated.
at the halfway point we’re joined by arCH co-founders: legendary bike builder gard Hollinger and Hollywood star Keanu reeves. it’s rewarding to hear them discuss the bike, the set-up, and explain the changes they’ve made. gard is the accomplished bike builder, but Keanu isn’t just there for the
publicity; he’s a genuine biker and often used as a test rider. He has clocked up more than 50,000 test miles (80,000 km) and some of the chassis changes, the sporty steering, and increased rigidity from the rear were at his request.
for the remainder of the ride, both Keanu and gard ride with us down the mountains back to Pasadena in la. riding a valuable bespoke bike is daunting enough; doing so under the noses of the men who made it takes things to another level.
Keanu follows my wheel tracks and, as we quicken the pace, he’s still there in those bar-end mirrors, following my every move. the pace is brisk and he’s having fun as we push the legality of our riding. now and then we all give a thumbs-up, we’re all enjoying the road, the bike, and each other’s company.
amidst a cacophony of noise, i can see la rising from the smog in the distance and conclude that if arCH has designed the Krgt-1 to make you feel good, then they have succeeded. in California, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Before flying to LA, my assumption was that the ARCH KRGT1 was going to be a soft, vibey, slightly agricultural cruiser. some power, certainly, but mainly just another custom built with bolton parts. i couldn’t have been more wrong. the level of workmanship and the man-hours that have gone into this bike are mind-boggling. the level of the components, the CnC machine work, the creativity, and craftsmanship are all first class. the pictures don’t do the bike justice (the CnC-machined billet swing-arm and petrol tank have to be seen in the metal).
Producing a bike from scratch and getting it through european and us testing is no easy task. but after years of painstaking testing and re-designing, it’s worked. looks and appeal are subject to interpretation, of course, but i like the style and the polished look and feel. and from images i posted on social media, the verdict is an unquestionable “yes”. for a performance cruiser, the Krgt-1 handles, stops, and certainly has some go. the elephant in the room is its price: at $85,000 (rs 64 lakh) it’s not realistic or achievable for most, simply a poster bike like a dream sports car such as an aston martin or an american muscle car. but, thankfully, i did get to ride it and, thankfully, it blew away my expectations.