Today, two of them, Rui and Luis, whom I meet here in their workshop, continue to lead the music and have thrown themselves into the adventure full-time. At the beginning of this adventure, Luis immersed himself in mechanics, took courses, and developed his network of those people in Portugal who could help him with the mechanical process and manufacturing.
So, going back to that first build and first experience… They chose a Yamaha XS650 base. A fun bike to practice on. When it was released, it caused a sensation on the internet. They then moved on to a Kawa W650 and Triumph Thruxton, for themselves and their friends. Then came the first customer requests. Now, with their identity already so strongly developed, the requests they receive are often 'carte blanche' which allows Maria to reinforce, integrate, and convey their ideas through their customizations. Today, several dozen projects later, the client only sees the result at the end of the creation process, if not to say on delivery. A sign of trust between the client and the designers. This trust, and their reputation, are also reflected in their approach and the scope of their projects. Whereas, at the beginning, they used to customize about ten motorcycles per year, today they only take on two jobs per year.
More advanced, more complex, and more exclusive. This also allows more time to be spent on their side projects – the clothing line, their partnerships, helmets, surfboards... and everything that revolves around the garage. It is above all, a creative expression. An expression that also had to be developed. After five years of developing a clothing collection they have finally found their cruising speed in this section of their business. And this section can no longer be considered a side project because, since COVID, it represents a major part of their income.
And if you're wondering where the name Maria Motorcycles comes from, the reach isn’t too far. Maria is one of the most common names in Portugal. Combined with the desire to avoid clichéd garage names, the fact that they had such a common, simple, country-related name pleased them. And they're amused by the smiles on people's faces; the effect of the unexpected and the surprise, when they tell them the name of their garage. Stepping outside of the ordinary by means of the ordinary.