We spoke with Josh Sirlin, creative director, curator and owner of the Black Bear Brand. The brand has had a long history in America and has now been revived after laying dormant for many years. Josh has a passion for motorcycles and the brand he has resurrected. The more we looked into the products Black Bear Brand are making, the more we were impressed. Grab a drink and have a read…
How did you get into motorcycles?
Thinking back I always had an affection for them… but in some odd way I can’t make sense of now; they felt out of reach. It’s really weird looking back at this and the fact it took me until I was a so called “adult” before I rode one and then was on a fast track to buy my first bike.
First time on a bike: I was in Panama doing a freelance odd-job creative project for a resort Travis Pastrana was starting with his Red Bull team manager Hayes Wheels. The resort wasn’t open yet, it was quite and I was one of the only ones there along with Hayes and a handful resort employees. One of Travis’s bikes was there; the bike he ended up crossing the pool in Nitro Circus Live The Movie. It wasn’t working… but over a few days of me nagging one of the employees I convinced him and one of the local kids to try to get it running so I could ride it. And they did! This is where and how I got my first taste and the motorcycle bug; wearing shorts, flip flops, ripping the beach on Travis Pastrana’s bike in Panama.
What’s your fondest memory on a motorcycle?
Riding my 1948 Panhead for the 1st time… never rode a Harley, a foot clutch, a jockey shifter (or a bike with no front break). I found my bike and despite everyone telling me I was crazy to get this bike when I saw a picture of it I wanted it and went deaf to anyone that said anything in conflict of me getting it.
The bike was in TX (where I found it) and I got it transported to Washington. The transporter couldn’t get their truck into narrow streets to my house so they off loaded it a mile away, on the side of Main Street. At that time I had never even kicked over a bike so I had to push it all the way to my house (it was also raining)!
The next day is the most memorable day on a bike for me.
I was by myself. I had hand written directions from the guy I bought the bike from on how to kick over the bike (still have them)! He wrote on a scratch paper and paper clipped them to the title that I got from the transporter; he called it the starting ritual… and I call it my “hand shake” with the bike.
It was a Sunday; I was all by myself. It took me about an hour to finally get it kicked over and after I did, with a huge grin on my face, I put on my helmet and just rolled out of my drive way and down the steep