Five minutes with… Jimmy Goode
Jimmy Goode is the founder of Kustom Kommune, a DIY workshop that started in 2013 in Melbourne. Jimmy’s journey with motorcycles started out as a hobby but with determination and passion, it turned into something much bigger. He shared his story with eric.
Hi Jimmy. Tell us a bit about yourself and explain how you got into motorbikes?
I grew up on a farm in country South Australia, so my earliest memories of riding is mucking around on AG bikes around the farm, but I actually grew up with horses more than bikes. I didn’t have that much interest in bikes as a kid, I was more into cars in my teen years and used to race them.
I was particularly into Japanese imports and had everything from a Nissan 260Z to 180SXs, Silvias – I went through a lot of cars! I’d organise group buys of parts from Japan and could work it out that I could ship a car over in a container almost for free while still getting a good deal for my mates, so I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur with that kind of thing.
When I was about 20 years old, I moved from Adelaide to Fitzroy, thinking I’d be able to find a place with a four-car garage for all my pride and joys. Obviously, that didn’t happen – I could barely find a place with a single garage – so in the end I sold all my cars and after a while decided it was the perfect time to get into motorcycles instead.
Do you remember the exact time when you said to yourself ‘that’s my first bike’?
Yeah, I do it was right around my 22nd birthday. I was walking down Elizabeth Street in Melbourne which was motorcycle mecca at the time, and I spotted an all-black Vstar 650 in one of the dealers.
I was just getting into the whole custom and cruiser scene which was a really exciting time for me, and I didn’t even have my bike licence, but I loved the Vstar so much that I went in and bought it there and then.
It was my birthday present to myself, but I had to go and get my licence the next week and then went back to pick it up, and the rest is history!
What’s your current ride?
I’m a serial tinkerer so I do have quite a few bikes at the moment, and most of them are in various states of disarray!
I recently picked up a Ducati 749 Dark Edition which is not the typical bike that I’d go for. I never got into sportsbikes – I was much more into customs and cruisers – but this was a good opportunity, so I went for it. When I rode the 749 for the first time it I was like “Holy S#$t!” as it was another world for me.
Other than that, I have a 1972 Yamaha XS650 which I’m re-customising and is currently on the bench being worked on, and I also have a part-build BMW K100 which I have a real soft spot for.
As I got the 749, I decided to go for another sportsbike so I just got myself a GSXR750. The plan for that is to customise it in full endurance racer style, with an XR69 style kit and big twin headlights.
A bike that was close to my heart for a long time, that I just sold, was a Magni MH1. I had it sitting up on a stand in a shop for years hoping to restore it one day, but it never happened. I think in 10 years those bikes will be super collectible, it was my pride and joy for a while but I’m happy it’s going to a good home now.
Bikes are obviously a huge passion for you, but when did this passion turn into a career opportunity?
I never actually set out to create Kustom Kommune as a business, it came about more from necessity than anything else. When I was into cars, I always had a place to work on them, but when I moved to Melbourne that wasn’t the case.
I didn’t have the network in the motorcycle scene in Melbourne, so I started chatting to my mates about renting a warehouse somewhere where we could work on our bikes. The reality of that was a bit scary for some of them, but everyone I talked to said what I wanted to do was an awesome idea.
I started doing research and found a guy in Vancouver, Motomethod, who had one bay in his shop where his customers could work on their own bike. To me that was an awesome idea and I wondered why there weren’t more places like this where people could come together and share their knowledge and passion.
In the end I couldn’t find anything like that in Melbourne, so decided to create it myself! In 2013 I started a crowdfund for the project and managed to raise 36 grand and as word started to spread about the project, it just snowballed. Tool companies offered me free tools for the workshop, and I had builders saying, “I’ll do your fit-out for free if you give me a membership” and it turned into this big community helping to make it happen.
We got donations from 19 different countries and messages of support from all around the world. This really helped us stay motivated and get it off the ground, and its continued to grow since then.
With all the time and energy you’ve had to put into Kustom Kommune, do you still get much time to enjoy a ride?
Not as much as I used to, but yeah it’s still great getting out for a ride.
I love the fact that when you’re out riding, it’s just you and your machine – a very freeing experience – but whenever you pull over at the end of the ride, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re riding, people will always come over for a look and a chat.
Motorcycles in that way are a beautiful contradiction; they are quite individual, but they bring us all together.
You featured in a shoot for eric. How was that as an experience?
That was good fun and actually, as it happened during lockdown it gave me a great chance to get out of the city and do some riding. At the time I had an R18 on loan from BMW Motorrad which I didn’t ride much up until that point, so the filming with eric meant I got to take it out on some of the nice roads around Melbourne.
It’s not the first time I’ve been used as a professional rider, but I always enjoy that side of things as it’s a nice diversion to my day job and gets me out of the office and on the road!
Your passion for motorcycles has become an incredible adventure for you, but what is your single favourite thing about being a rider?
As much as I love the bikes and the riding, without doubt my favourite thing about motorcycles is the community.
As I said earlier when you’re out riding it’s just you and your bike, but by being a biker you have an instant in with a whole community of like-minded people.
As you get into your thirties, making new mates can be hard – especially in a big city – but if you ride a bike, you’ve instantly got a huge network of mates out there!
For anyone thinking about getting into riding, I have to say that it has something for everyone. You can ride solo and enjoy the pure thrill of riding, but on the other hand if you’re up for it there’s a big passionate community that you can tap into, and it’s absolutely awesome.
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