Designer Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada with Francisco Alí Manén. / SUR

Personalised bikes bound for Dubai

Motorbikes. Francisco Alí Manén's company Lord Drake Customs is about to open its third outlet in the Middle East and it already has bases in Vélez-Málaga and Miami

EUGENIO CABEZAS

Not even a pandemic has been able to slow down Vélez-Málaga businessman Francisco Alí Manén and his customised motorbike business, Lord Drake Kustoms.

The growing number of customers for his personalised bikes in the Middle East has led him to embark on a new adventure in the area. Alí is setting up a shop in Dubai, which is due to open at the beginning of next year providing a showcase for his creations and his brand.

"Thanks to an agreement with global company Rimpolish, which is opening new facilities in Dubai, we will be able to have our bikes and serve our fans and future customers in person," Alí explained.

The businessman already has an outlet in Miami, Florida, which is where he started his business in 2008. The company grew quickly and by 2013 orders were coming in from all over the world.

Such was the growth, especially in Europe, that Alí decided to open a second workshop in his hometown of Vélez-Málaga to meet the demand from Europe. Here he manufactures motorbikes for customers from all over the continent, the Middle East and Australia.

"Unlike our facilities in Miami or Vélez-Málaga, in Dubai we will only have a sales and customer service showroom, but we will not be manufacturing; for logistical reasons we have decided that, initially, the bikes that go to the Dubai shop will continue to be manufactured here. We will only build very special orders there," he explained.

The company is currently building three new bikes to go to Dubai, two of which have already sold. They will be there for the opening of the Dubai shop.

"There are already two others finished and on their way to the United Arab Emirates," the businessman added.

Competitions

Covid-19 interrupted customised motorbike competitions. "We hope to be back in 2022," said Alí, who is the current runner-up in the Harley Davidson custom motorbike world championship.

Alí Manén has also been European champion and runner-up four times and has twice been named in Japan as one of the ten best Harley Davidson Sportster Scrambler customisers in the world.

He is also three times winner of the most prestigious motorbike modification contest in the world, the Rat's Hole, held in the USA, where he has won first and second place in previous events.

Among his clients are well-known names including music stars such as Alejandro Sanz, Adam Levine, James Valentine (Maroon 5), Tom Kaulitz (Tokyo Hotel) and Axel Sjöberg (Graveyard), The designs range in price from 15,000 euros to 120,000 euros, "But there are bikes that can cost more than 200,000 euros," Alí explained.

Charity work is also important to Alí and he has recently signed an agreement to raise funds for Malaga-based NGO Fundación Olivares, which fights against childhood cancer.

A customised Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 model will be raffled by the foundation this Christmas. The auction will get underway virtually through the company WindUp on 15 October and the bike to be auctioned will be on display on that day in La Noria gardens, the foundation's headquarters in Malaga.