Denton Moto Collective fuels biker scene for locals

Denton Moto Collective fuels biker scene for locals

Denton Moto Collective fuels biker scene for locals
November 14
23:35 2018

By Brennan Dufrene

At an early morning meeting on a chilly Sunday, the roar of a dozen motorcycles echo just outside of West Oak Coffee Bar on the Square. The group of bikers come in to grab a cup of joe at one of their main hangout spots, led by Kacey Close of the Denton Independent Motorcycle Show. 

Denton Moto is a motorcycle shop that specializes in creating custom, vintage motorcycles. Not only is it a business, but it is also a place where creatives in and around Denton can collaborate.

Campos first met Michael “Woolie” Woolaway at Deus Ex Machina, a motorcycle shop in Venice Beach, California, seven years ago. Campos said he was hooked on the idea of a collective from then.

“Imagine a space that is very moto-centric, but not gimmicky — something done well,” Campos said. “You just have this little piece of Americana here, but it’s also so inclusive and so community-centered. That’s what makes Denton so special.”

Woolie’s shop not only included a space for bikers to congregate but also a surfers’ den and a coffee shop. The Deus Ex Machina in Venice Beach brought different communities together in one space, offering them a creative place to work on their crafts and find camaraderie. The atmosphere of Woolie’s space sparked Campos’s goal for the collective: A place where the biker community thrived and could connect.

Campos’ Denton Moto dream, while similar, includes a Denton flair. To start, Campos set out to have a vintage bike, have a buddy of his fix it up and use the future profits from selling it to one day start a motorcycle collective in Denton.

On Nov. 13, 2015, about three years ago to the date, Campos and Denton Moto’s master builder David Morales, 58, met on the side of the road and started talking about the old Honda CB160 strapped to the back of Campos’s truck.

This encounter lasted hours, and Campos realized he had finally found his “Woolie,” a master builder to finally launch his dream with.

“Building bikes just happens to be his passion,” Campos said. “He’s a sculptor, he’s an artist, he’s a musician, he works with electronics. He’s an everything builder. He just has a gift.”

Three years have passed after that initial meeting, and the dream has not changed.

Campos currently has a full-time job at an advertising firm, whereas Morales is a recently retired owner of a medical company. However, the two still somehow find time to make it out to Morales’s backyard shop to work on a bike or two, sometimes for skateboard legend Steve Caballero, and other times for the guy across the street.

Building more than bikes

Motorcyclists laugh and drink coffee in front of West Oak Coffee Bar. Omar Gonzalez

An early customer of Denton Moto, Joshua Robertson, 33, believes in Denton Moto’s vision of building bikes tailored to the rider.

“Before, and above all else in the Denton area, Denton Moto revitalized the ‘built not bought’ belief back to the customer,” Robertson said. “They involve you, your vision and your direct effort into your build.”

Denton Moto is interested in collaborating with creative people from all industries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to create a special type of community that thrives on learning from one another.

Denton Moto works with West Oak Coffee Bar and Andy’s Bar on a regular basis and have had their bikes and goods in Norman Roscoe’s print shop on the Square. Denton Moto also works with creatives like Clint Wilkinson, a local leather goods craftsman and the owners at Deep Ellum Denim to create custom-made pieces.

UNT advertising junior Kyle Davis was initially invited to meet some of the Denton Moto family at Pistons & Paint, Denton’s biggest annual auto show. There, he met Morales and began his journey with Denton Moto.

“To have been able to get involved with such a strong community has been life-changing,” Davis said. “I personally feel incredibly lucky to be involved.”

Picking up speed

A motorcyclist drives down W Oak St as another motorcyclists parks hist dirt bike. Denton Moto Collective has a variety of members with a variety of motorcycles. Omar Gonzalez

Morales is currently working on a 1957 Triumph Thunderbird, a bike he has owned since 2011. The finished product will be for a motorcycle show in California called the Born Free 11, which may bring more of a national spotlight on Denton Moto as Morales continues to build his reputation as a master builder.

“It’s a nod to previously unrecognized builders [on a national scale],” Morales said. “It’s a personal bike I’ve had for years that I’m finally going to finish.”

As they expand both reputation and size, Denton Moto plans to find a space that can embody their creative dreams. As for now, the collective is overjoyed at the success it has encountered in three short years. 

Featured Image: Robert Mims takes off his helmet after parking in front of West Oak Coffee Bar to meet up with other motorcyclists. Denton Moto Collective was started on November 13th, 2015. Omar Gonzalez

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Amy Roh

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