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We Visit National Moto+Cycle Co.

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We were drawn to this cool li’l shop when we heard about their motorized bicycles that were inspired by ol’ board track motorcycles and vintage racers. At the southern end of the retail/residential neighborhood of Broad Ripple (SoBro), National Moto+Cycle Co. sells pedal-powered, electric and small-engined bicycles. Here’s a look inside their shop in Indianapolis.

A National Moto custom.

When we pulled up to their Open House, front and center was the NMC SuperX (pictured above), a model they offer to the masses with a 48 or 66cc two-stroke.

The Wilkinson Bros cafe racers outside National Moto+Cycle Co.

Looking for a parking space for our cafe racers, Matty Bennett, owner of NMC, waved us onto the city sidewalk and right up into the action. It was a cool crowd, bicycle fans of all types, motorcycle people and even a gathering of music lovers (next door, Luna Music was celebrating Nat’l Record Store Day).

Matty Bennett with a National Moto custom.

Matty Bennett brought their HDaze 1 to Rockerbox in Milwaukee, a 48cc homage to a 1917 Harley.

Brendan Fox riding a National Moto custom.

NMC Co-owner, Brendan Fox (people call him “Fox”) zipping around Rockers Reunion in Indianapolis on NMC’s custom SuperX.

Pedego bicycles at National Moto+Cycle Co.
A line-up of electric Pedego bikes inside National Moto+Cycle Co.

Outside, a healthy display of quality bicycle brands filled the sidewalk; Pedego, Stromer, VANMOOF, to name a few. Inside, vintage-inspired helmets, messenger bags, goggles, tires and seats sit on the shelves next to creative decor (some of it is memorabilia from the owner’s past). Also among the product offerings were bicycle-themed pillows and tees.

Pedego bike at National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

At National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

Pillows at National Moto+Cycle Co.

Eye protection at National Moto+Cycle Co.

Bicycle seat at National Moto+Cycle Co.

Fold up bike at National Moto + Cycle
As graphic designers, we dig these fold-up instructions.

Helmet at National Moto+Cycle Co.

Helmet at National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

 

A National Moto+Cycle Custom

Matty Bennett riding a National Moto custom.

Above: Matty Bennett riding the National Moto SuperX at Rockers Reunion Indy.

Inside the shop at National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.
Bicycle art with transparent bits and pieces by artist, Ben Orcutt.

Inside the shop at National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

Electric power at National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

Van Moof at National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

Moped at National Moto+Cycle
Matty and Fox have a lotta friends into two-wheeled transportation, including the owner of this Puch.

The scene outside National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.

The scene outside National Moto+Cycle Co., Indianapolis.
We know that look.

National Moto+Cycle Co

Decor at National Moto+Cycle Co.

The basement at National Moto+Cycle Co.

This is where the magic happens: Downstairs, Matty and Fox tear down, rebuild, paint and assemble their bicycles and motobikes. Of course this li’l blue Honda catches our attention. It’s been in Matty’s family for years.

Matty Bennett's li'l Honda.

The mission of National Moto+Cycle is to “embrace the historical leadership and spirit of the National founders.” When folks dig deep, they’ll learn of an interesting, storied past that dates back to 1900. The first iteration of the brand created electric vehicles in Indy, then started producing combustion engines in 1905. National dialed in their engineering well enough to win the Indy 500 by 1912.  Now, as stewards of the name and logo, Matty and Fox employ current technology to their bikes, but with respect to National’s roots in the bygone era of racing heroes and transportation innovators.

The shop at National Moto+Cycle Co.

As we motorcycle around the city of Indianapolis, we run into the guys from NMC often. Lucky for us, we get to see the works of art that continue to emerge from the small basement workshop in SoBro. These guys are doing cool things not only for cycling and motorcycling in the Circle City, they’re keeping alive the spirit of racing and the fascinating time when bicycles evolved into motorcycles.

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