You’ve searched the web, watched the moody videos, and discovered that your street tires don’t like wet grass. You’ve decided you need a scrambler—but how…
An industrial designer by trade, Matthew Roberts is Creative Director of Speedtractor Industries in Tokyo. His career began in the 1990s, designing and building carbon composite dune buggies and electric motorcycle prototypes—at a time when Australia couldn't seem to care less. Sidetracked by promotional work for Ducati and Volkswagen in Japan, he relocated there in 2005 and now lives with his wife and two daughters.
For Roberts, customizing was borne from necessity nearly 20 years ago. (“Has anyone riding a stock XS500 ever attracted the right kind of attention?”) He currently boasts a personal stable of more than ten motorcycles, any of which (he claims) could have their value doubled with a new set of tyres.
In 2012 he made “The most frightening yet perversely satisfying decision” to leave corporate communications, and head back to motorcycles full time.
When not working on designs, Roberts busies himself racing vintage motocross, penning articles on the Japanese custom scene for the likes of Sideburn Magazine, and annoying his wife and kids by playing with motorcycle parts on the tatami flooring.