Our Finding Your Local series showcases motorbike shops and destinations. From the Antipodes to the English Isles, the Americas and the land of the northern lights, we uncover the tales behind the owners, rider advocates and trail blazers building the next generation of motorcycling communities.
Walking into a quality motorbike shop is like walking into a favourite local pub. There will be your regulars hanging out at the counter – talking shop with the team like they’ve been friends for, well, ever and customers who drop in on their way home – just to see what’s new and say hi.
On weekends, an eclectic crowd of newbies will mingle comfortably with experienced riders, listening to hairy tales of slippery corners and the back end that got away. Around the entrance to the service workshop others will linger with feet perched on tyres, asking questions of this make or that, safe in the knowledge that there’s no judgement here – just a shared love of bike craft.
In today’s every changing landscape, it’s a welcome respite to find the classic bike shop still exists.
Whether you’re in full leathers, or a 9-to-5 commuter, the team at Northside Motorcycles in Sydney welcomes riders and pillions with a knowing nod.
“If you’re here, you’ve got an interest in bikes and that’s all we need to know,” says Bill Schreier, Northside’s new proprietor. “No matter your experience, you’re amongst friends.”
Against the backdrop of change that Covid19 has brought, Northside has been a constant to many.
“Whether you’re looking for your first bike with not an ounce of motorcycle knowledge to your name, or you’re an experienced rider hunting down your dream bike, there’s no bravado to our service,” said Schreier in his lightly Southern accent to the nods of his team both young and err… young-at-heart.
“We want to build the bike community, not limit it to a few.”
This approachable persona encapsulates the team at Northside, and from Bill’s perspective, comes from the lifelong love of bikes, adventures and scraps.
Growing up in a small town in Alabama, Bill was on his first bike at age 10, a “puke green” 1977 Honda Express.”
“At the time, everyone lusted after the latest BMX and motocross was everything, but I was glued to Dirt Rider Magazine.”
Yet during university his bike days were put on hiatus. “I moved from Memphis to Houston to Singapore before I could get my hands on a bike again.”
While living in Singapore he toured Australia with his soon-to-be wife on the back of his motorcycle, but corporate life kept him moving with little room or time to fill a garage.
“When we moved to Australia, I knew I needed to do something I was passionate about.”
So of course, he and a mate sourced a couple of bikes and set out to circumnavigate Australia in 30 days.
“Highlights from that trip are many,” recalls Bill, “but the regions from Timber Creek to Drysdale, and the Karijini national parks in the North-West corner of WA were spectacular. “A bike gives you a view of Australia that most people don’t get a chance to experience.”
But it wasn’t always smooth trails.
Soon after this epic trip, while out on an enduro ride, Bill landed hard and crushed his wrist, needing a complete rebuild.
“It was during my enforced rehab that I spent more time in my garage,” said Bill, “tinkering where I could on the bikes. When I need parts, I would head into Northside to see the team.”
“I’d inevitably spend hours there, once or twice a week, talking bikes, gear, racing, and dream builds. It was like a second home.”
“When the opportunity arose to become the owner of Northside, I knew it was right for me.”
It’s only been a few months on the other side of the counter, yet Bill appears a natural.
“The team has got some big plans for this place but at our core remains friendly, trust-worthy service.”
So, what’s top of the list for life-after-Covid?
“I can’t wait to get our group adventure rides going. We have some great back country rides in mind.”
If you’re northside in Sydney, ready to stretch out of your Covid19 hibernation, drop into Northside Motorcycles and meet your new local. It’s home to premium bike brands, – Triumph, Motoguzzi, Aprilia Blackbird Motorcycle Wear, servicing, finance and more.
Not on the north shore in Sydney? Here’s who we’d recommend.