What is the definition of a “fine bouquet”? If you’re from the Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, the term is inherently understood to mean the characteristic aroma and fragrance of a fine wine. And it’s something the folks there know very well. The Riax Baixas is one of the premier wine-producing regions in Europe where the local varietals are known for their peachy notes and their lemony-pepper after-tones.
Um, ya, so that’s all fine and proper if wine’s your thing. There is, however, a group of artists and engineers lurking about the tangled vines and rolling hillsides who have a slightly different take on what constitutes a fine bouquet. To these uncompromising visionaries the aromas of petrol and grease are the order of the day and the only aftertones that get them salivating are the smokey notes of an overworked spot welder.
Welcome to El Solitario Motorcycle Company.
Founded by fashion designer Valeria Libano and motorcycle addict David Borras, El Solitario is a sanctuary to a group of artisans who wish to push all creative and mechanical boundaries that currently exist within the world of custom motorcycles.
In fact, the word “custom” may be somewhat of an understatement when referring to the bikes that enter the world after being shaped and molded by the El Solitario crew. Their desire to create highly original, character-crammed works of usable art exceeds virtually all expectations of reasonable men and women. Every inch of every creation is worked and then re-worked until it is ready to be blessed and released into the wild.
As I poured over their portfolio of bobbers, bruisers and cross-breeds I was struck by how many times I found myself saying things like, “I really dig how they fashioned that headlight bucket?”, and “Damn, look at the details on those brake levers.”, and “What did they model that tank after?”. It is so very easy to get lost in their highly-fashioned and well-thought-out minutiae.
In fact, I can’t help but liken each of their works to a pointillist-style painting. When up close it’s easy to get caught up in what appear to be seemingly unrelated fantastical details – all beautiful in their own right. However, when you step back a few strides that’s when the magic really happens. That’s when the whole of the artist’s concept comes into focus and you marvel at the how all those great details gelled to produce that final product that’s staring back at you in all its grit and glory.
Simply put… these folks design and build superb, character-filled, emotionally-charged bikes. Period.
Having lived in Spain for a spell, I’m very familiar with the drive, the pride, and the ethos of the Spanish people. The folks at El Solitario Motorcycle Company have proven to be no exception to that rule. These admirable qualities are one of the reasons I’d enjoyed the adventure the first time and it’s the main reason that I’ve been plagued with the idea of returning one day to explore the country the way life intended us to – on two wheels.
I can tell you one thing for sure. My first stop will be to visit the guys and gals at El Solitario to gather a sampling of their mouthwatering new projects.
And yes, I’ll be sure to document.
Article written by Iron & Air contributor Greg Coutu of Cafe Racers of New England.