For years we have admired our friends at Revival Cycles for their incredible craftsmanship and the unequivocal passion that goes into everything they touch. Further proof of their handiwork is the interior of their new retail shop that opened underneath the South Congress Hotel and was built out by the Revival team itself. The impressive amount of detail that went into every inch of the space (down to the helmet converted into a light fixture in the fitting room) is something that we recommend you see in person, but we tried our best to convey it through photos. This past week we asked Tim, the Brick & Mortar Manager, and Alan Stulberg himself a few questions about the workshop and the retail space.
Was there someone or something that inspired you to work with motorcycles?
ALAN: My dad. He was building vintage Triumphs when I was a kid and I wanted to be like my dad.
TIM: I’ve always really liked motorcycles but I just started riding recently. About four years ago. When I moved down to Austin I saw everybody on scooters and motorcycles and said “You know what, this is a cheap form of transportation,” and I went to get my scooter license but they said “We don’t have any scooters. Do you want to try a motorcycle?” and they put me on a motorcycle. I was like you know what, keep your scooter. I’m hooked, and I haven’t turned back since. I just got back from a 5,000 mile trip on my own for ten days, from here to the Oregon coast and back and I’m just obsessed. I’ve only been riding about four years but I love it.
What would you tell twenty-something you if you could give him advice about what’s to come?
A: Do what you feel like doing and don’t worry about what everyone else wants you to do.
What are some things you love about being located on South Congress?
T: We really love the hotel and all of our friends that we’ve met who have helped us secure this place obviously. I feel like South Congress is the heart of Austin, especially for shopping but you kind of have everything. You have the view of the capitol from here, you have the connection to downtown and South Austin, and then no shopping malls. Its just beautiful shops, and small business really thrives in Austin I feel and we are right in the thick of it which is awesome.
What is one thing you wish you were better at?
A: Seeing the future. I wish I was better at knowing when I was letting my emotions drive me versus my experience.
What is one thing you wish you could add to the space?
A: [FOR THE WORKSHOP] A test track. That’s exactly what we need.
T: [FOR THE BRICK & MORTAR] If there was some way I could add a 1930’s motorcycle toy where you put the quarter in and the kid goes on it, that would be awesome.
What is a detail of the retail space that you love?
T: For me, it’s the warmth of the space. We have an aesthetic very true to Revival and you walk into the space and you immediately think Revival, and its warm and cozy and there are so many accents where people go “I can see you guys in this space. I can see your touch.” I think it’s not just one specific thing. It’s all the things coming together like a stew. It tastes better all together, and that’s what I feel like this space is. It’s the culmination of us, and what’s really great is that everybody at the shop built it. We were all here, whether we were cleaning or putting wood up or burning wood or here until 3 in the morning sanding, we all had a hand in it which is really awesome because that just speaks volumes to our team.
Do you feel like your customers are people who have known about Revival previously or are they newcomers?
T: We definitely get a lot of people who are following Revival but we get a lot of tourists just from being on the strip here with the hotel. We are constantly educating people about Revival and then turning them into fans. I kind of have my spiel. I go through how long we’ve been around, I tell them about the custom bikes, I tell them about how we have the tank form, about our Handbuilt Show and I do a lot of educating so I’m hopefully turning people into Revival fans, but I feel like tourism and new customers are definitely a bigger part of our business right now, and that’s part of why we opened. So we could be more apparent to the Austin community and say “Hey, we’re here,” not just in a nondescript warehouse on the East Side. We wanted a place where people feel at home and not in a pressured sales environment but a place where we would want to go shop. Some people we are turning on to riding but a lot of people come in with their own story and say “Oh, I’ve got this bike,” and they tell me about their riding or how they got into motorcycles or their dad’s bike. One guy came in and was talking about his bikes and how his grandfather was General Patton and gave him all these bikes. Everyone has a crazy story so its been really cool to hear everyone’s connection to motorcycling and their past because everyone gets excited like a little kid when they walk in here which is cool.
What is one thing most people don’t know about Revival?
A: [ABOUT THE WORKSHOP] That everyone that works there works really, really hard and gets paid probably less than half of everybody they know. No one there accepts a ten-hour work day as good enough.
T: [ABOUT THE BRICK & MORTAR] A lot of people think we are just a retail shop and we just put nice bikes in the windows and we are so much further than that. We build the bikes , so we educate a lot and tell people that we build them, but that’s kind of the biggest thing right now that we are trying to tell customers. We’re not just this place that’s trying to capitalize on motorcycling and being cool and having a bike in the window. You know, you open any fashion magazine and they have spreads where its somebody posing next to a motorcycle and it has nothing to do with motorcycles at all. They’re just going “Oh that’s cool! I’m going to jump on that bandwagon,” and we’re not jumping on a bandwagon. This is our lives. We want to keep doing motorcycles and stay out of cubicles. We’re trying to convey the validity and legitimacy of our craft to people.
Why was HELM chosen for the shop on South Congress?
A: I like the boots and I like how they’re made and I like the story and I like Joshua.
T: Because they’re beautiful boots with an attention to detail which comes across in our builds as well. Very nicely crafted, and made in the U.S. There are a lot of other boots out there that are ok, but they don’t have the style and the soul that HELM does. You can have a beautifully crafted boot but if it doesn’t have good style then who wants to wear it? It’s a package of all those things, like that stew. You have all these ingredients and once they come together in a perfect form, then you have a beautiful product and that’s what we wanted. Plus we love supporting our friends.
What is something you wish people would ask you more often about Revival?
A: I guess about how they’re actually made. Everyone seems to be concerned with what they look like but not how they get to that point.
IG: @revivalcycles & @shoprevivalcycles