Juan Coles, aka Loco Lobo, aka @u2umoto was one of the first motorcycle riders I met when I moved to Utah last September. I had just bought a Harley Sportster and was searching Instagram for local riders to connect with. I discovered Aaron Brimhall, Jun Song, and Juan Coles all on the first day. I reached out to Juan and he told me about the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride coming up that month in Salt Lake City that he was organising. He was very welcoming, and I could tell right away that he had a special enthusiasm for the local motorcycle community. When I went to the event, I recognised Juan right away as he stands out in a crowd. He was riding a pristine black Ducati Sport Classic and was oozing with style. He spoke to the participants with an organised authority as he instructed us on the route and group riding safety. I knew right away that Juan Coles was stepping into his natural born role as a leader in the tightly knit, but far reaching, motorcycle community. Over the past year, I’ve followed Juan’s motorcycle journeys with admiration. I love to watch him fly on any one of his quiver of Ducati’s. There are likely very few motorcycle riders in the state of Utah who don’t know the name Juan Coles. He had an integral part in planning the legendary Motos in Moab,  organised a group viewing of the documentary film, “Greasy Hands Preachers” at a local bar / theater called Brewvies that drew a crowd numbering in the hundreds and has planned and coordinated a new custom build motorcycle show, “The Salty Bike Revival” coming up August 22. I am particularly excited about his leadership in this year’s upcoming Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Interview: Juan Coles, Salty Bike Revival

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We want to know about the man, the myth, the legend: Juan Coles. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m kind of a private person, but I’ll do a little. I was born in Uruguay, South America. I’m Italian and Spanish descent. My mother married an American from Idaho, so we moved to the US. I moved from Idaho to Utah and Ive been here ever since. I have been in the auto industry for 12 years and I currently serve as an Assistant Manager at the Mini Cooper Dealership in Murray, Utah.

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I have a wife named Ana and 3 cats that I joke are my kids. I love camping, traveling, and kayaking. Ive enjoyed studying a variety of martial arts, and you wont find a bigger Green Bay Packer fan in the 4 state area. Were going to the Super Bowl this year, watch! GREEN AND GOLD TIL IM DEAD AND COLD!

 

What is the meaning of your Instagram username?

@u2umoto stands for Utah to Ushuaia Moto. I plan to ride a bike all the way from Utah to Ushuaia, which is in the southern tip of South America. It’s the most southern inhabitable place in the world. Sometime in the next couple years I will make the 25,000 mile journey on a bike with my wingman Tyson Call. I plan on getting either a BMW 1200 GS Adventure or a Ducati 1200 Multistrada for this trip. Both are very capable machines and have different things to offer.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Tyson Call

 

Why do you love motorcycles?

I got my start when I was young riding dirt bikes off and on, but Ive been riding motorcycles consistently for over ten years. To me, riding motorcycles is a spiritual thing. It’s my medicine. If I’m going through a rough time, things get tough at work, or I just need a quick fix, hopping on a bike and throttling down clears my head. It focuses my mind and the world melts away. I can’t think of a time when I was on a motorcycle and wasn’t happy. I’m spoiled to ride motorcycles in the canyons of Utah. If you have a motorcycle and you have not ridden in Utah, I feel sorry for you. We have some of the best roads in the Union. We have some of the most scenic national parks. We have wide open spaces. The Great Salt Flats host the Bub Speed Trials where land speed records are broken. Utah is everything that you can imagine and more. Without being a dick, if you can’t ride in a place like Utah, I don’t even know why you’d have a motorcycle. It’s just an art piece at that point; park it in your living room and forget about it.

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Who has influenced you most in your love for the moto scene? Any iconic idols?

There’s a few. In terms of performance, I admire “The Doctor on 46,” Valentino Rossi. He is a surgeon on a motorcycle. Watching him is amazing. I would love to meet him one day. I admire all those crazy kids who race The Isle of Man, known as the world’s most deadly motorcycle race. Many people die on that course so its probably the gnarliest race on the planet. In addition to that, Ive always enjoyed watching the DAKAR race where motorcycles and every type of vehicle you can imagine, including semi-trucks, race through the deserts of either the Sahara or South America. I went to Argentina this year to watch it in person which was amazing! Unfortunately, like in many intense races, we lost a fellow rider. In terms of moto-adventure, which is just as close to my heart as racing, I was influenced by revolutionary Che Guevara and the Motorcycle Diaries. He rode a Norton 500cc with his wingman all through South America in the 1950’s. Back then you didn’t have GPS or all the technology that you do now. He had balls. Another influence, some people joke about, was Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on “Long Way Round,“Long Way Down,” and “Race to Dakar.” When they went around the world on their BMW GS’s it inspired me to want to ride all the way to the tip of South America.  

 

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Kaycee Landsaw

 

I know you collect motorcycles. What are the year, make, and models of all your bikes?

Currently in the stable, I have a 2007 Ducati Monster S4RS 1000cc Testastretta. It was the first bike I bought with my own money and shes still my favourite. Its burly, fast, and probably the most ridiculous bike you could have as a first bike. At 150 horsepower with ample torque, it will stomp 90% of the bikes out there. All of my “Ducks” have Termignoni exhausts.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Kaycee Landsaw

 

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Tyson Call

I have a red 2007 Ducati Sport Classic S, a 2008 Ducati Sport Classic and finally, I have a 2015 Ducati Scrambler Classic. I also have a 1980 Honda CB750, which is kind of a garage project, but I’m going to do something fun with it.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Max Daines

 

Tell us about your favourite riding gear and moto brands?

I have about nine different helmets. The one I’ve been rocking most lately is my lone wolf helmet. It’s a Gringo, by Biltwell, but it is special because I had it custom hand painted by Custom Lids out of Malta, a little island off the coast of Italy. The wolf is my spirit animal. It was given to me when I was young at a reservation by a shaman, and it has had a lot of meaning in my life.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Mark Weaver

I have several riding jackets as well, but my favourite is my Belstaff jacket. Ugly Bros makes a good, solid riding pant. I have quite a few pairs. My favourite riding boots are my Elsinore Johnny Black Icon 1000’s. It sounds silly, but I prefer different gear for different bikes.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Tyson Call

 

Why Ducati?

If you’ve never ridden a Ducati, I challenge you to do it… but do it sober! You need to be completely focused. Ducati’s are raw, visceral, unforgiving and jarring to the senses. It doesn’t matter how good of a rider you are, youd have to have time in the saddle before you can unleash the beast. For example, Valentino Rossi, who rode for Yamaha, jumped on a Ducati and said he felt that the bike was trying to kill him. When you get dialed in to a particular bike, it can be hard to transition into another. He couldn’t get comfortable with the Ducati and went back to his roots. German bikes are surgical and precise. Japanese bikes are very balanced, easy, and simple. Anyone can ride a Honda. A Ducati, on the other hand, requires everything you’ve got. I like the challenge more than anything. After you get tuned into the spirit of Ducati, you are ruined for every other motorcycle. You can’t ride anything else. If you do, you’re bored out of your mind and youd just assume walk instead.  

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east, max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab, Photo by Max Daines

I remember being with you on a group ride consisting of mostly Harley’s and after a couple miles you got impatient and zoomed on ahead of the rest of the group.

(laughs) Yeah, Ducati’s don’t like to go slow. You just get in your zone. It’s almost dangerous to ride in a group of Harley’s, because they ride so different. Ducati’s stop faster, turn harder, and go into corners hot. Ducati’s bend physics. Gravity bows to them. The world peels back and its more like being on a spaceship than a motorcycle. Once Im too old to ride the Ducati, Im done riding. Thats it. For this reason above all, I dread getting old.

 

Can you comment on current trends in motorcycle culture?

Everyone is getting excited about a venture back into the dirt. That’s where I got my start. Flat tracking, racing, and playing in the dirt is what people are getting excited about. A lot of people are either buying trackers and scramblers or converting their current bikes to something more dirt worthy. Im having a lot of fun with my Ducati Scrambler.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Mark Weaver 

 

I first found you online when I moved to Utah and learned about the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. What role did you play in that event?

I found out about the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, an international charitable motorcycle event raising money for prostate cancer research, online and discovered that Utah did not have a chapter. So I contacted Mark, the founder of the event from Australia, and he helped me set up the Salt Lake City ride. The first year was a success, considering we only had a month to put it together. We had 55 riders. I’m partnering with Jun Song, Max Daines, Kaycee Landsaw, and Tyson Call this year to assist and promote this year’s event, which will be on Sunday, September 27th. The website is now up to register.  

 

What motivated you to start organizing group motorcycle events?

I wanted to share my love for motorcycles with others. In my opinion, the motorcycle is the perfect vehicle. I just want to share that passion with friends and people within my influence. For the better part of a decade, I mostly rode alone. For the most part, motorcycle riding is a solitary experience with your only company being the music in your own head. Its my nature to be more of a loner, but it’s been interesting to start incorporating other people. Most leader types are lone wolves and prefer solitude. I am a natural leader in many areas of my life. There are a lot of risks involved in group rides when you get a bunch of people together with all different levels of riding experience. My skill level as a rider, teacher, and leader has gotten to the point where I can help and contribute to group events. It takes skilled riders to organize events in order to reduce the risks as much as possible. I started my motorcycle events company, “Loco Lobo” (Crazy Wolf) to continue planning events for our community.  

 

You were the brain child behind Motos in Moab along with Salt City Builds. Tell me about the planning/organizing process from conception until the event. Was the event what you expected? Was it successful? What are your plans for next year?

It started out in Rev’s garage over at Salt City Builds. We were having a beer and talking about a group motorcycle camping trip. Jun, Tyson, and I had recently been to Moab on a ride we called Cafes East and we felt that it was such a unique, scenic location and needed to happen as often as possible. We started kicking around a couple names and landed on “Motos in Moab.” It was supposed to be about 20 of our friends, but to our surprise it exploded. We welcomed the direction it wanted to take and decided to run with it. It was crazy, insane, there were unforeseen challenges, but it was a success. Getting kicked out of Pack Creek after the first night was a blessing in disguise. We ended up getting the best possible venue anyone could imagine. We have a couple exciting things lined up for next year. I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to spoil it. But, let’s just say there will be some additional elements involved, like soccer. We’re still working out the details, but the Nelson family is working with us to provide three huge plots of land where we will be able to accommodate over 1,000 people. It’s going to be insane. We were overwhelmed by all the sponsors we got for the first year, and we anticipate more next year.

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You partnered once again with Rev from Salt City Builds to create and organise the Salty Bike Revival coming up August 22. In your own words, what is the Salty Bike Revival? How did this idea come about? What will this event be all about? What are your hopes and expectations for the SBR this year and in years to come? What is special about the SBR? How will it be different or similar to other bike shows?  

The Salty Bike Revival is a celebration of everything motorcycles in the hand built scene. It’s a culmination of builders, photographers, and artists in the motorcycle community who will display their art. There will also be some local live bands at the event. It’s an art gallery for motorcycle aficionados. Motorcycles are art on wheels. A lot of love, time, sweat, tears, and creativity goes into motorcycles built by hand. The hand built motorcycle scene has exploded. I believe it started with the revival of the café racers that became popular in England in the 1950s and 60s. The chopper culture was simultaneously exploding here in the states through Harley riders and motorcycle clubs. I am very nostalgic about café racers. I am excited to see the revival of hand built motorcycles trending in the scene. For riders who would have never been able to afford brand new sport bikes, it allows people to build their own motorcycles by reviving vintage bikes. The Salty Bike Revival seeks to provide a venue for builders to display their art in Utah. There is a big show in Austin, TX called The Handbuilt Show. There’s another in Portland, OR called, “The One Show.” There are many others, but Utah hasnt had something to that caliber and we aim to try. Similar to Motos in Moab, Rev and I conceived the idea in his shop. Rev and I partnered our strengths to host Utahs SBR. We have only gone after Utah builders, photographers, and artists. It is an event made for us and by us.  I used my business and leadership experience along with Rev’s knowledge and connections in custom motorcycle builds and community. We are able to help each other and feed off of one another’s momentum and energy. Rev’s team consists of his brother Sethis Clark, his girlfriend Courtney Marriott, and Samantha Maclin. On my side, my wife Ana is helping me along with my wingman, Tyson Call. Eventually we will grow and expand, but this year we are featuring Utah talent.  

 

What sponsors and entries are you most excited about?

Several actually. I’m very excited about our national sponsor Ural Motorcycles. They are a Russian bike manufacturer. They make fun bikes with a side car, equipped with a reverse gear and a two-wheel drive option. They’re great for off-road riding and Utah is a perfect place for them. For a short time we had Ducati USA on board, but unfortunately some logistics prevented them from being able to provide a few Scramblers for the show this year, so Im putting my own in it. Hopefully they will make it next year, as that would be a huge goal achieved and a feather in my cap, because my heart beats to the rhythm of a Desmo. Biltwell signed on to provide helmets for our Artist Alley. Harrison Eurosports, the local European bike dealership is participating and Im very excited to get their sponsorship as well. We have also partnered with Iron & Resin and they are making us some killer merchandise for the show. A ton of local sponsors have stepped up and its exciting and humbling how many sponsors have signed on to support us our first year; I hope to make them proud. There a lot of builders putting together some amazing bikes for the show. I don’t want to give any of it away. I will say that although some of the bigger shops are providing some really nice builds, I’m most excited to see what some of the people come up with who are building bikes in their own garage. I’m really impressed what people can do with limited tools who don’t have a shop with all the equipment, but find creative solutions to build their motorcycles. These guys take time on their days off away from their families to give a little bit of love to their passion. The Salty Bike Revival will be at “The Fallout” in downtown Salt Lake City.

ninetynineco, ninety nine co, weareninetynineco, nco, custom motorcycle culture,juan coles, lobo loco, loco lobo, u2umoto, salty bike revival, salt lake city, salt citiy builds, distinguished gentleman's ride, utah, united states, ducati, ,custom motorcycles, cafe racers, motos in moab, cafe's east,  max daines, kaycee landsaw, mark weaver, moto collab,Photo by Max Daines

 

Do you have any other event ideas up your sleeve?

I do have ideas for future events in the works. Loco Lobo will continue to get motorcycle riders together. But, youll have to wait for them to be revealed in the appropriate time. Stay tuned, same Loco Lobo time, same Loco Lobo channel!    

 

Did I miss anything? Is there anything else you would like to comment on about yourself or the moto lifestyle?

It’s a fun passion. It’s spiritual and exhilarating. There are worse hobbies, though I’m not sure there are more expensive ones. Its my hope that through these events, we can bring every kind of rider from all types of bikes and all walks of life together. Its my hope that more and more people will ride bikes. If we get more people riding motorcycles, eventually drivers will start seeing bikes and it will reduce the risk for riders. We just lose too many to checked out drivers. It breaks my heart. When you ride a motorcycle, you’re fully involved in your environment. But, it’s easy to be distracted when driving. The more motorcycle riders we get out there, the more lives will be saved.

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 I think I speak on behalf of the entire motorcycle community when I say, thank you Juan, for all that you do. I often say that motorcycles bring people together, which is true, but without people like Juan Coles making things happen we would never see the full scope of our cult community thrive like it does in Salt Lake City.

– Mark Weaver