Craft Moto co-owners Caleb and Cody Knobel are almost 11 years apart and have totally different personalities, but when you put a motorcycle between the brothers, their relationship becomes symbiotic.
While Cody, 25, takes the bike apart and builds new parts, Caleb, 36, supports him by ordering parts, helping with the build and making sure their design stays true from start to finish.
“If we were a band, Cody is the lead singer shredding the guitar up front and I’m the drummer in the back keeping it all together,” Caleb said.
Watching them work on a bike feels almost invasive. The brothers have a strong bond with their machines – and with each other. They’ve tapped into that connection to design and build custom motorcycles since Craft Moto opened in the spring of 2018 at 410 Jefferson St., Suite A.
Building the bikes was done easily. The challenge was to learn not to step on each other’s toes.
As a teenager, Caleb taught himself how to build motorcycles using spare parts, supplemented by the money he earned mowing lawns and shoveling driveways. Years later, Cody’s passion for tinkering with parts found in their father’s garage inspired him to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Colorado State University.
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But in 2016, Cody took a page from his older brother’s playbook and bought an unwanted bike to fix with his roommate.
“We bought a bike, a real shitty bike, ripped it all off and just learned from there how to do it,” Cody recalled. “The whole time I was doing this, I was doing things and all I could think about was this bike.”
He kept thinking how wonderful it would be to wake up every morning, bring a cup of coffee to the garage, and work on a bike. The brothers quickly understood that they shared this dream and that their differences could help them achieve it.
For Caleb, who already owned HEART&SKIN Tattoo Studio, the next step to sharing their mechanical art with the community became clear. They got certification and a dealer license, rented space, and started building their first homemade bike in April 2018.
They called it Champagne. With lime-green accents and a floating seat, it was tough and chic — “like a bottle of champagne in the hands of a fighter,” reads the description on their website.
Designing and building motorcycles “is also an art, and we’ve embraced it as an art,” Cody said.
“That’s what’s so cool about this medium,” Caleb added. “It’s functional…but it’s also a place where all of these things intersect: art, transportation, individuality and fashion, all in one small center.”
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Caleb, who has a newborn at home, said fostering a business in its early stages is akin to raising a child.
“The business opens, and it’s there, and you’re like, ‘This is amazing,’ and then, just like a baby, all of a sudden your business starts crying and it has all these needs to wake you up “, did he declare. noted.
“I’m stressed and he’s stressed, and it gets to this point where you start turning to each other and you’re like, ‘Wait a second. This can either kill us or bring us closer. Because “At the end of the day, we’re working on this really sweet thing. Let’s grow it together.”
It’s been the most rewarding part of the last year and a half the brothers have spent growing their business, Caleb said.
“Yeah, we made some nice bikes, but I think our relationship together has deepened a lot,” he said. “If this company does it, great, if not, fine. But our relationship will last forever.
Mary Gilliland recently completed her internship at the Coloradoan through a partnership with Poudre School District’s SWAP program, which works with Easter Seals to help students explore careers through paid work opportunities.