Moto Cambodge is based on the love of building, working on and riding custom motorcycles.
We used to build motorbikes for clients to order – which can be great but is sometimes a long and difficult process – but we’ve changed our model.
We’ve decided now to build our own bikes the way we want to build them, without input, and then sell them here and overseas.
We’re also looking to expand our range of accessories – we do some T-shirts and leather goods but we think we’d like to do more with that, maybe some bags, riding gear.
Our real big interest is expanding the community of custom bikes, and I think we’re seeing that, which is great.
Hangar 44 – our bar in Bassac Lane that we opened in partnership with the New Zealand brothers George and William Norbert-Munns – is an extension of Moto Cambodge.
It serves as our showroom and . . . not workshop exactly, but a place that you come to enjoy and have drinks with your friends and enjoy the sights and smells of motorbikes: oil and leather, grease, rubber and tyres.
It’s a place where we’re able to not only sell the motorbikes but also build the brand awareness and sell accessories like T-shirts, hats, leather goods.
Eventually, some other lines will come, like branded helmets, and we’re also planning some events to take place there with some pretty major brands.
Most of all, it’s a meeting place for all of us. It’s very convivial.
Branderz is a brand management studio. We’re a very hands-on brand management and marketing and communications studio.
We’re small – petite – but I think we have grand capabilities. We recently scaled up to have enough people and support to service one of our main clients.
Just a couple of months ago, we were five people, now we’re eight. I love branding.
I studied marketing and enjoyed certain parts of it, but one part I really like is developing and growing brands. I don’t mean creating logos.
I mean actually developing something from scratch and giving voice to a product or service. Giving it personality.
That’s how we view brands. They speak and walk and talk. We like that process. We’re holistic, that’s how we like to think about it.
Finding motorcycle parts
I handle the communications for Moto Cambodge, and people often ask where we find parts.
As much as I like to help people, I find it a bit difficult to give things away because I put so much work in and so many hours developing relationships and hunting down the tiny shops and vendors.
If I give away too many secrets about where I’m getting things, I end up sacrificing my own trade secrets.
What I can say is Russian Market is a great resource, but I use it about 3 per cent of the time. Don’t focus on Russian Market.
It has a lot of stuff in and around that area, but it’s been tapped out and the prices are going up. Do the legwork and enjoy it.
I use all of Phnom Penh. There are some epicentres of it, like around Tuol Tom Poung, but I also go way deep into Tuol Kork and beyond the airport and across Street 271 into the area around Northbridge.
I go to certain people for certain things, but there is no pot of gold where I go for everything.
The Common Tiger
We used the Common Tiger as the Branderz office for a while and it was great. It’s one of my favourite restaurants.
The seabass sashimi in particular is brilliant. I love it. It has this sweet, savoury nuoc mam sauce.
It’s so good. It’s the quality of the seabass and . . . I can’t remember which Cambodian herb he uses, but it’s similar to watercress, it’s so fresh and light.
The sweet, sour and savoury balance is splendid and the presentation is unsurpassed.
They also have these braised pork ribs with sweet potato chips which are, as my Moto Cambodge business partner Justin would say, “sicknuts”.
It’s crazy good. That and a Cambodia draft is a pretty good lunch. Definitely my favourite spot. And it’s just not as expensive as people think.