Motorcycles have been Jesse Loesch’s passion since, as he tells it, his height determined whether he could reach the brake or the shifter.
“My father had me on a motorcycle when I was just a couple years old,” he said. “I don’t know if there was ever a long period of time when I was without motorcycles.”
Today, Loesch is the owner of Cycle Refinery, a South Congress Avenue-based motorcycle retail, repair and restoration business he opened in February 2016. After spending seven years working in New Jersey as an aircraft mechanic for the FBI, Loesch and his wife moved to her native Austin in 2015, where Loesch decided to turn his longtime hobby of restoring vintage Japanese and British motorcycles into a full-fledged career.
“There was nobody in South Austin that was catering to that [motorcycle] crowd,” he said.
In Austin, Loesch discovered what he called a “close-knit, accepting community” of motorcycle enthusiasts. By opening his shop, Loesch said he was able to share his knowledge of motorcycles by not only selling parts and accessories but also through repairing and restoring bikes and holding maintenance classes.
“I felt I struck a nerve,” Loesch said. “There’s this whole generation of people who either had these bikes or wanted these bikes as kids, and now they are in a position where they have expendable income and can afford to have them in their living room or to actually ride them.”
A self-taught welder, painter, fabricator and machinist, Loesch said he took what he learned while working for the FBI in the aviation sector and applied it to motorcycles.
“I vowed to never sell anybody a project,” he said. “I don’t consider it a restoration unless I go through every nut and bolt.”
In the future, Loesch said he envisions reserving space for a motorcycle museum and coffee shop. He said he has almost outgrown his 2,000-square-foot space and foresees a move in the near future. Still, Loesch said he plans to remain in South Austin.
T Clock Inspection
A variety of motorcycle parts and accessories are offered at Cycle Refinery.[/caption]
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation created this mnemonic device to guide a motorcyclist’s pre-ride safety check.
Tires & Wheels: Check tire pressure and treads. Make sure spokes are tight and intact and that brakes have a firm feel.
Controls: Check levers, cables, hoses and throttles.
Lights & Electrics: Check brake lights, taillights, headlights, lenses, reflectors, battery and wiring to ensure no fraying, pinching or corrosion.
Oil: Check oil and fluid levels, and ensure there are no leaks.
Chassis: Check suspension, chains and belts, fasteners, the steering head and swingarm bearings.
Kickstand: check the sidestand and centerstand for correct retracting and no bends or damage
A variety of motorcycle parts and accessories are offered at Cycle Refinery.
4402 S. Congress Ave., Austin
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Closed Sun. and Mon.