Barn Find: Union Motorcycle of Nampa, Idaho

Union Motorcycle custom bike workshop
Sometimes, usually towards the end of a hard week, I daydream about the kind of motorcycle business I’d like to own. Somewhere out in the country, where the pace of life is less frenetic, and the commute is a leisurely ride through twisting backroads. And thanks to reader Jeff Barker, I know that such a place exists.

It’s called Union Motorcycle Classics, and it’s in the small town of Nampa, built on the Oregon Short Line Railroad in Idaho.

Montesa Cota 25
As these images show, it’s a bucolic world straight from the pages of Shop Class as Soulcraft—one of my favorite motorcycling books—and a far cry from the edgy urban vibe of most custom motorcycle shops.

According to Jeff Barker, there’s a growing custom scene in the wider Boise area, and Union is at the forefront. It’s what you might call a full service shop, offering regular maintenance and parts as well as restorations and customizations. On the Union website you’ll see a small but tantalising mix of custom bikes, including a Norton Commando, a Ducati 900SS and a quirky Yamaha RD60.

Custom Norton Commando
Recent renovations include the lovely 1974 Montesa Cota 25 shown below, and in case you’re wondering, the 1961 Triumph Tiger Cub in the final shot isn’t a resto job: they decided to leave the cosmetics of that one untouched, to preserve the patina. Just like the lovely aged finish on the walls of the old red barn that Union calls home.

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Triumph Tiger Cub