Looking from an outsider’s perspective, Bali seems like a far-flung destination that’s all about white sand beaches, surfing spots, and yoga retreats. Right? Wrong! Having recently visited Bali ourselves, we found something we didn’t expect: a flourishing motorcycle culture that’s as vibrant and diverse as it is back in North America or Europe. PANDO MOTO felt right at home, having discovered Bali’s amazing motorcycle roads, jaw-dropping scenery, and an incredible custom bike scene. During the trip, we connected with Malamadre Motorcycles, a custom motorcycle builder designing unique, one-off machines blending function and style so seamlessly we just had to know more.
Dirk Goetz, the heart and soul of Malamadre, came to Bali in 2015. “I never expected to end up building bikes and opening a business here, if I’m honest. I came to Bali to surf and relax: I was a manager at an automotive company at the time, a suit and tie guy if you can believe it, and I knew I wanted something different. I came to Bali to disconnect, but after six months of partying and relaxing, I realized I needed to do something.
I had no idea that there was such a robust custom culture here in Indonesia, and Asia in general. The motorcycle traditions here are deep, the locals are very much into bikes. Indonesians love customizing everything – bikes, cars, houses, everything has to have a personalized touch here. Motorcycles, especially the smaller ones, are tremendously popular here, so people buy them and customize them. There’s also a large community of expats and travelers from Western countries that live here and love riding motorcycles.
So when I saw the scene here, plus the beautiful landscapes, the amazing weather, the phenomenal views – it all just drew me here, and I built my first bike. Back then, I wasn’t thinking of going into business with custom builds, but one day, I saw a guy outside a shop ogling my bike. He asked me where he could get a custom motorcycle like that, too, so I built one for him, and Malamadre sort of took off from that”, Dirk told us.
Most of his customers in Bali are expats and travellers who want something more than a scooter to explore the island. For Dirk, however, it’s all about blending art and function.
“Personally, I love classic motorcycles, café racers, old racing bikes, I’m not into sports bikes or scramblers. My vision for Malamadre is going international and converting people’s dreams into reality. Every single one of our motorcycles is a unique piece of art, and every bike we build is different; but they’re also affordable, which is rare in the custom bike scene. I want to bring this to more people around the world”.
When Dirk isn’t working on creating yet another two-wheeled masterpiece, he’s always up for a chat or collaboration with other moto-minded entrepreneurs, including PANDO MOTO. “I met you guys through a mutual friend, Brad Longworth, who’s a photographer and was shooting here in Bali. Marius visited our shop one day and got a bike, and we started talking. I believe I modeled for some of the PANDO photoshoots, haha! I love PANDO MOTO gear – although here in Bali, it’s hot year-round and most people just ride in jeans and T-Shirts, I think safety is very important and I appreciate that PANDO gear is both very high quality and also looks great. I think it goes well with our bikes – the style, the attitude, it’s all there. Everyone has a history, everyone has their big “why” of what they do, and it’s always cool to meet entrepreneurs who are creating something unique and exchange ideas”.