Welcome to a new series on the world’s best motorcycle shops. We’re kicking off with Deus Milano, because this week is EICMA week—when Milan hosts the world’s most exciting motorcycle show.
EICMA is open to the public for just four days. But that’s enough time for half a million people to squeeze through six giant pavilions, ogling the latest bikes (and the bored models astride them).
When you tire of the maddening crowds, take the subway to Isola, Milan’s famed ‘motorcycle district.’ It’s an oasis of charm in an otherwise unprepossessing city, and the home of Deus Milano—a stylish refuge containing a workshop, a retail store and a restaurant.
The Italian outpost of the Australian motorcycle brand is already a major player on the European bike-building scene, with commissions from Yamaha Europe as well as local riders.
How did it get so far, so fast? Deus co-founder Filippo Bassoli (above) provides the answers.
How long has Deus Milano been going? We opened Europe’s first “Temple of Enthusiasm” on 15 March, 2013. I remember the precise date because it was also my birthday!
Did you deliberately choose the Isola district? Yes, we really like this neighborhood. We spent eight months scouting for the right location, and looked at dozens of places. But we fell in love with this location straight away, which was originally a space for live events.
Who are your partners in this venture? We’re a group of friends and associates. Everyone has retail or motorcycle industry experience. And like the people we employ, we’re all full of passion. That’s the first requirement to work here, and we’ve got a great team.
What’s your background? Before Deus I started an editorial network called Blogo.it. That included the sites Autoblog.it and Motoblog.it, which get millions of visitors every month. They’re two of the most-clicked websites in Europe in their categories.
How would you describe your customers? Variegated and trendsetters. We see people of every age: men, women, youngsters and old timers, and from every social strata.
Take a look at the big communal table in the Café, and you’ll get a snapshot of the kind of people who visit. You’ll find university students, business people, tattooed bikers and locals with kids and strollers sharing the same table. It’s a unique situation in Italy.
What’s your approach to retail? We look for products and objects that are curious, rare and interesting. But the best-selling items in the store are from the Deus Collection.
Has the store been a success so far? Yes, we’re really satisfied. We’re proud of starting a ‘new’ project, a fresh concept, in a very difficult economic environment. Before we opened, our friends regarded it as rather heroic. But now we’re thinking about further openings in Italy and Europe.
What’s your own ride? I’m a ride-a-holic: it’s quicker to tell you what I don’t drive or ride! However, I’ve always loved the off-road scene. At every opportunity I register for an Endurance or Rally Raid event. Lately, I’ve also been on the hook with vintage motorcycles—and of course, being part of Deus doesn’t help these addictions!
My latest bike is from the Deus workshop, based on a BMW R80/7. It’s an old German police bike and I call it Derrick, after the German detective TV series of the same name.
You’re sure to get a lot of visitors during EICMA. What are your hours? We’re open every day, all week long. The store is open until 10pm, and the Café stays open until 1am during the week and 2am during the weekend. In benzin veritas!