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.
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.
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 brought their HDaze 1 to Rockerbox in Milwaukee, a 48cc homage to a 1917 Harley.
NMC Co-owner, Brendan Fox (people call him “Fox”) zipping around Rockers Reunion in Indianapolis on NMC’s custom SuperX.
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.
Above: Matty Bennett riding the National Moto SuperX at Rockers Reunion Indy.
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.
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.
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.