Arch Motorcycle KRGT-1

Editor Score: 80.0%
Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 8.5/10
Instruments/Controls2.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.5/10
Desirability 9.5/10
Value 4.0/10
Overall Score80/100

Riding an exotic custom motorcycle with actor Keanu Reeves seems an unlikely scenario, yet there I was on the twisty roads in the hills above Malibu aboard a machine bearing the initials of the film star. The KRGT-1 translates into the first production bike from the partnership between Reeves and veteran custom builder Gard Hollinger in a venture called Arch Motorcycle.

Truth be told, when news first broke that Reeves was becoming involved with a high-priced custom bike business, I raised a wary eyebrow. It seemed so very 2007, back in the home-equity-as-ATM age when fancy custom cruisers — most lacking meaningful engineering investment — were being parked in every two-car garage. It was a little reminscent of the Dirico Motorcycles launch I attended in 2009, which boasted the involvement of legendary rockstar Steven Tyler.

Shockingly, there have thus far been no efforts made to produce merchandise like T-shirts and hats. “We’re under-branded,” downplays Reeves in a candid moment.

Here is the custom bike Gard Hollinger built for Keanu Reeves, beginning in 2006 with continued development until 2011, when it became the jumping-off point for the KRGT-1. Surprisingly, it was Reeves who had to convince Hollinger to enter production, not the other way around.

Here is the custom bike Gard Hollinger built for Keanu Reeves, beginning in 2006 with continued development until 2011, when it became the jumping-off point for the KRGT-1. Surprisingly, it was Reeves who had to convince Hollinger to enter production, not the other way around.

So, it was with a measure of relief to see the engineering behind Arch’s KRGT-1 to be more substantial than many of the boutique builders of days gone by, some of which would simply bolt a crate motor into an off-the-shelf frame and add fenders that may or may not have originated from a different aftermarket supplier.

The KRGT-1 uses a powertrain from outside suppliers S&S and Baker, but even here the Arch crew have added their own touches. The Reeves bike seen in the above photo has two drawbacks that needed rectifying. Its fuel tank was too small, and the air cleaner sticking out on its right side significantly impeded legroom. The solution was to use a bespoke downdraft intake.

Air is gulped through a custom K&N airbox (with a purported 40% increase in volume over a typical side-induction system) and injected with fuel to feed the 2032cc S&S Cycle T124 V-Twin motor. Arch claims a healthy 121.5 horsepower and 121.8 lb-ft at the rear wheel. The arched-backbone frame tube is a neat trick of a steel tube inside a tube. The rear section of the frame (in black) is a chunk of billet aluminum.

Air is gulped through a custom K&N airbox (with a purported 40% increase in volume over a typical side-induction system) and injected with fuel to feed the 2032cc S&S Cycle T124 V-Twin motor. Arch claims a healthy 121.5 horsepower and 121.8 lb-ft at the rear wheel. The arched-backbone frame tube is a neat trick of a steel tube inside a tube. The rear section of the frame (in black) is a chunk of billet aluminum.

“We’re building an American brand,” says Hollinger about the choice of the S&S motor. Despite the manufacturer’s small size, Arch and S&S are in the middle of EPA and CARB testing, to ensure the KRGT-1 is compliant with federal regulations. The KRGT currently uses a Yoshimura muffler that is quieter than most aftermarket systems fitted to Harleys but is louder than anything from a major OEM.

The aluminum-billet theme is one that repeats itself, and Arch says it chooses the material because it’s stronger than cast pieces, is lightweight, and it enables an almost unlimited choice of shapes. It also allows for subtle tweaking that is easily repeatable for production. “There’s been very few parts we’ve made that we’ve only made once,” admits Hollinger, who comes across as a finicky guy who demands perfection.

The seat pan and tailsection unit consists of five pieces of billet weighing 18 lbs, a massive machining effort from the 480 lbs of five billet chunks that originated the components. Note the seat-release cable mechanism that is handily mated to the ignition key, a detail touch distinct from most custom builds.

The seat pan and tailsection unit consists of five pieces of billet weighing 18 lbs, a massive machining effort from the 480 lbs of five billet chunks that originated the components. Note the seat-release cable mechanism that is handily mated to the ignition key, a detail touch distinct from most custom builds.

Arch’s CNC machines typically run 12 hours a day, six days a week. Each half of the 5.0-gallon fuel tank begins as a 260-lb aluminum block that gets whittled down to just 3.5 pounds!

You’re looking at a 75-lb block of aluminum that gets machined away until a lovely primary-drive cover emerges.

You’re looking at a 75-lb block of aluminum that gets machined away until a lovely primary-drive cover emerges.

The goal of practicality seems an odd focus for a radical custom bike such as this, but Arch has several surprises. “We wanted it to be a rider, not just a bar-hopper/profiler,” says Reeves. And so the triple clamps – billet, of course – are fitted with a steering lock. Gauges include low-fuel and neutral lights.

Riding With Keanu – Arch Support

The KRGT-1 is an impressive and imposing motorcycle, stretching some 68 inches between its axles and weighing some 600 lbs fully fueled and ready to ride. Making it more manageable than it might seem is its scooped saddle, low to the ground at 27.8 inches, and its surprising narrowness – no air filter poking outward at your right knee. The handlebars are placed fairly forward, providing a fists-punching-the-wind stance that can be altered depending on bar-riser blocks or alternative bars.

With a pair of 1016cc cylinders pounding at a 45-degree angle between the knees, it doesn’t take a Fabio Taglioni to realize vibration will make its way to a KRGT-1 rider. And there is some serious thudding going on when the Twin is revved out.

Don’t think Reeves is just a celebrity poser on a motorcycle. He rides the canyons more adeptly than most.

Don’t think Reeves is just a celebrity poser on a motorcycle. He rides the canyons more adeptly than most.

Then I stopped riding it like a Ducati and instead surfed the bountiful torque pulses found much lower in the powerband and wasn’t bothered by vibes for the rest of the day’s ride. The 124 cubic-inch mill is rubber mounted to the frame at the forward end, and the connector from the mount to the engine case is the only H-D part on the entire motorcycle. The rear cylinder head uses a bushing as an attachment to the backbone frame. Meanwhile, the Baker Drivetrain six-speed transmission proved to be smooth and precise; and the clutch pull fairly light.

The KRGT-1’s handling manners are much better than I was expecting from such a stretched out bike with a 30-degree rake and 5.0 inches of trail. A key aspect to its surprising performance is the stiffness of its chassis. A hard shove on the bars of such a long motorcycle almost always reveals flex of some sort, but the Arch divulged none.

So, while the KRGT-1 can’t be considered a sporty bike, its cornering performance goes beyond what its specs might lead you to believe. The stable chassis invited aggressive cornering. I tested both the mid-mount and forward-mounted footpegs, and not once did the road scrub a peg. The mid controls were preferable for when railing canyon roads, but the forward pegs seemed a better match for the KRGT.

The Arch KRGT-1’s swingarm is also constructed from billet, the five pieces getting shot-peened and anodized before assembly into an 18-lb component that resists flex.

The Arch KRGT-1’s swingarm is also constructed from billet, the five pieces getting shot-peened and anodized before assembly into an 18-lb component that resists flex.

The Arch also surprised by its exemplary ride quality, especially at the rear, where a wide 240/40-18 Michelin Commander tire resides. Fat tires always run counter to performance aspects, but the feathery BST carbon-fiber wheels offset the extra weight of the heavy tire . Hollinger spec’d a 210mm tire for the KRGT-1, as fitted to Keanu’s prototype, but that size was no longer offered in the 18-inch diameter he prefered, so a 240 bun is what made it through to production.

A 43mm Öhlins fork efficiently soaks up bumps delivered to the 120/70-19 front tire, while the rear end is damped by a specially built Race Tech shock and rising-rate suspension geometry. Arch also brought along a KRGT-1 equipped with an Öhlins shock, but I actually preferred the bump-absorption qualities of the Race Tech damper.

In addition to the fully adjustable suspension, the Arch also adapts to its rider via eccentrically adjustable toe nubbins on the foot controls and the handlebar mounts. I preferred the 3-inch bar “risers” that placed the bars closer to a rider than the 2-inchers.

The KRGT-1 is a sportier horse than it appears.

The KRGT-1 is a sportier horse than it appears.

One area the Arch comes up a bit short of its lofty intentions is its instrumentation. Sourced from MotoGadget, the gauges’ red-on-black dot-matrix-y readouts are a far cry from the full-color TFT instrumentation of modern high-end bikes. Also, the sweep of the tachometer only reaches halfway across the screen due to the relatively short rev range of the T124 motor, and there is no gear-position indicator.

But, really, the above is one of the few complaints I have about the KRGT-1. Aside from its price, which is listed at $78,000. That might not seem extravagant if you roll with A-list celebs, but it’s a pretty penny to those of us who are trying to eke out another few hundred miles from the shagged tires on the bike in our garage. Arch hopes to sell 50 of ‘em before moving on to a new model.

Silver 2

 

Personally, I think the KRGT-1 nicely bridges the divide between cruiser and sporty bike, and its sultry and exotic appearance is sure to gain attention from gearheads and the uninitiated alike. Whether you can make a case for it or not depends largely on the size of your bank account.

+ Highs

  • Torque monster
  • One-of-a-kind (well, 50…) cruiser
  • Keanu luster
– Sighs

  • Premium price
  • Relentlessly explaining billet
  • Keanu luster doesn’t include Keanu
Arch Motorcycle KRGT-1 Specs
MSRP $78,000
Engine Type 45° Arch proprietary S&S Cycle T124 Twin Cam air-cooled V-Twin
Engine Capacity 2032cc (124 ci)
Fuel System Downdraft EFI
Transmission 6-speed
Final Drive Chain
Frame Steel/Aluminum cradle frame
Front Suspension Ohlins inverted 43mm fork, fully adjustable
Rear Suspension Race Tech single shock, fully adjustable
Front Brakes ISR 6-piston radial-mount monoblock calipers, twin discs
Rear Brakes ISR 4-piston monoblock caliper, 298mm disc
Front Tire 120/70-ZR19
Rear Tire 240/40-ZR18
Seat Height 27.8 inches
Wheelbase 68.0 inches
Rake 30°
Trail 5.0 inches
Dry Weight 538 lbs
Fuel Capacity 5.0 gal
  • 12er

    uh, good luck? Though I’m sure 50 should sell.

  • DickRuble

    On one hand, it looks better than the original Arch they announced about a year or two ago. On the other hand, it is still an unrefined, boring motorcycle whose only virtue is that it is mostly made of billet aluminum. Which probably means that the tank won’t dent.. it will crack.

  • Dale B.

    At least they put the mid mount pegs in the right place.

  • jake318

    Impressive build . The ARCH uses all top tier components. The ISR 6 piston calipers are Phenominal To put in perspective , ISR 6 piston calipers are on par with brembo 4 piston 3500$ units .They didn’t go cheap with the suspention either, Going with quality Ohlins inverted front forks transforms a wallowing cruiser into a capable canyon carver. A Harley CAN be made into a good sport engine it just takes ALOT of displacement, high ,performance intakes and quality internals. 120hp with 120lbs torque will make for a GREAT ride .

  • jake318

    BTW im NOT a HARLEY guy . I love unique High performance builds and have a stable of 12 unique sport bike builds and 3 high performance cruiser/touring builds. EXAMPLE 124ci Procharged Harley Road glide .Using the Best suspension(ohlins inverted forks front= Bitubo piggyback race socks rear) Top Tier Ohlins brake components and Bitubo steering damper on my Road glide made it a whole new ride . The Arch is a cruiser build with same philosophy .

  • SRMark

    I do like the bike with the more rear-set pegs. It’s seat is a bit much but even it looks good. I still ride a Buell S2 from time to time and wish Erik had this much of a flair for style. I think I’ll start buying a few more lottery tickets.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Good to see celebrities doing cool things like this, instead of wasting their money on hookers and blow.

    It would be even cooler though, if a wealthy enthusiast, or perhaps a group of them, got alongside Eric Buell and helped with their funds to push forward cool American motorcycles that least a few of us will actually buy.

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      Happens every day. Friend of MO Kaming Ko is a prime example with EBR.

  • Old MOron

    “Keanu luster”?

    If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

  • Earl Shives

    Good for Keanu. Hope him much success in his endeavor. I’m not much interested however, seems like a bike with a bit of a personality dilemma.

  • Tod Rafferty

    The blue Beemer in the corner is a more effective mechanical matrix. For far less.

  • frankfan42

    WHOA- (had to do it)Kudos to Reeves in helping to bring a motorcycle to market that otherwise would not make it. Way above my pay grade, but I surely appreciate the passion, hard work and conviction it took to make this happen. Well done.

  • Blue Gum

    Looks like a good start for their brand, the first product is always the hardest to get right and they appear to have succeeded.

  • Old MOron

    Hey, look! Somebody actually parted with the $78,000, and here he is on Mulholland Highway.
    Or is this what Keanu looks like nowadays?

    http://shop.rockstorephotos.com/p510745991/e17603a75

    http://shop.rockstorephotos.com/p510745991/e1cb63632

  • matt

    In the spirit of – if you don’t have something
    nice to say… – but I’ll say it anyways, who is he building this bike for? The styling is pretty choppy, like it was a
    mathematical formula to bring out elements of sport bike and cruiser, what you
    end up with is a hodge-podge bike that appeals to neither crowd. Of course I am setting aside price, because
    this will be a novelty item for A-listers that roll with Keneu, but it’s a
    complete miss on just about every element a real motorcycle enthusiast would
    consider to be important. This is
    reminiscent of the Confederate Motorcycle Company which I believe Brad Pitt was
    behind.

  • Steve Smith

    I don’t care what it is or who is behind it,NO bike is worth $78,000! That’s just obscene!
    Typical Hollywood types. Out of touch with the REAL world!

  • Tony Puerta

    Ducati Diavel is all over this thing in every aspect and for $57K less.