Getting lost in translation with Franco Augello.
WORDS Gregory George Moore IMAGES Luciano Consolini
Here at Iron & Air, we try to represent an international motorcycle community. The same oil runs through all our veins; the sentiment transcends language barriers. At times this pursuit can be challenging, but more often than not, borders and distance are by and large a technicality.
Technicalities, though, can be funny.
Take Franco Augello's description of his work, for example. When translated into English, his description comes out as: "I find scrap iron and cuddle them until they become Motorcycles Sumisura." It's one of the better descriptions we’ve encountered of a man building a motorcycle, and it gave us quite a chuckle. To hell with lost in translation!
Franco, otherwise known as Moto Sumisura, is from Milan, Italy. As with many passion projects, Franco’s shop is rooted in humble beginnings. It was something he did in his spare time, but he dreamt it could be more, and eventually made the leap. Before Sumisura became his full-time pursuit, Franco worked in fashion, television, and communications. We can’t say what pushed Franco to abandon his other professional endeavors to pursue building motorcycles full time, but many of us have at some point been at that fork in the road, faced with the choice of uncertainty or security. It takes grit to chase down your passion, and we'll say this, we're very glad Franco decided to do just that.
Sumisura essentially means "made to measure" — a carryover from Franco's many years in the fashion industry. He is fascinated with the way a suit is custom tailored to the individual and imbues his motorcycles with a similar inclination. So far, Sumisura’s focus has been vintage BMW R series parallel twins, and a couple of K series customs. Franco even manages to lighten the visual heft of the K series, no easy feat. But we have a soft spot for the old R series airheads, and Franco’s are exquisite. They exude class. His affinity for detail is immediately apparent with a plethora of minute details to reward the observant eye.
His bikes have an understated and quiet beauty to them. The logo embossed in the leather seats, his taste in materials, the tank badges, and the muted color palette all project style and minimalism. It's at once masculine, pragmatic, and chic. Sumisura's motorcycles are as prepared for a night on the town as they are for a day leaning into the Italian countryside. In a word, Sumisura’s motorcycles are handsome; German ingenuity and Italian flair coming together in perfect harmony. We're going to keep a close watch on what rolls out of Franco's shop next.
Special thanks to Luciano Consolini for the incredible photographs. Follow Luciano here.
Originally featured in Iron & Air Magazine Issue Fourteen.