Four months ago, two of the most highly respected builders in California joined forces and opened a store on Los Angeles’ famed Melrose Avenue. Called For The Love Of Motorcycles, it’s quickly become a haven for anyone who … do we need to spell it out?
The men behind the West Hollywood store are Roland Sands and Powerplant Choppers’ Yaniv Evans. Not the most obvious match, but they’re good friends—despite working in different sectors of the custom scene.
The location is perfect: Melrose Avenue was the birthplace of Southern California’s punk culture, and it’s always attracted the edgier, independent retailers who would never go to Rodeo Drive.
In the window is the ‘No Regrets’ bike that won the second Discovery Channel Biker Build-Off. Dedicated to the late Johnny “Chop” Vasko, it was probably the first custom Harley to feature Öhlins superbike forks.
So what’s the story behind this unusual new venture? We got the answers from Roland Sands himself.
How do you and Yaniv Evan know each other? We both build motorcycles, so we got to know each other through custom bikes. I think we met in 2008 at a show in Beverley Hills. Then we both ended up in Japan for the Mooneyes show, and spent a lot of time there together, drinking and getting in trouble.
Where did the idea of the store come from? It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. I have a small store at my Los Alamitos location that does really well. So we thought, if we do the same thing but bigger and in LA, we should kill it. Our Los Alamitos store has very little walk-by traffic, but Melrose is all about that.
How did you find the location? Yaniv had an opportunity, and I was looking for a location. He called me one day to see if I had any interest. It was something I’d wanted to do for a few years—and with our apparel and hard parts offerings, it just made sense.
What are the most popular products in the store? We sell a lot of RSD jackets and apparel as well as motorcycle parts. Powerplant does really well with their own P16 label t-shirts, hoodies and vintage stuff. It’s a great mix, there’s something for everybody. That’s what we wanted it to be, “for the Love of Motorcycles,” for anyone on two wheels.
There’s a very nice Husky in there too … The Husky is a ’74, my personal vintage motocross racer. I inherited it from a friend who passed away and it’s become one of my favorite bikes. It’s fast and has upgraded suspension, so it works a little better than stock, but it’s still frightening to try and go fast on.
Has the store lived up to your expectations so far? It’s still a baby, so we’re still figuring things out—what works, and how to make it better. It’s a learning curve for sure. But motorcycles and bike fashion aren’t going anywhere. As more people fall in love with two wheels, we want to be there to satisfy their craving for great riding gear.
Are you building bikes in the shop, or doing mechanical work for customers? Yes, tons of that stuff. Both Yaniv and I do that job every day, this store wouldn’t exist without the bikes.
Neither of us started this business because we thought motorcycles would be cool. We did it because we love motorcycles, and wanted to share what with do with like-minded people. The products are an extension of what we love and an excuse to keep doing it.
If you find yourself cruising down Melrose, pop in and take a look. Okay, riding along LA’s coolest boulevard on a bike is probably something most of us haven’t ticked off the list yet, but we can all dream.