Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin

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Dream job as a motorcycle blacksmith

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-best

Peter Dannenberg didn’t enjoy his work anymore and has fulfilled a lifelong dream with the Urban Motor manufacturer

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

Ten years ago, Peter Dannenberg pulled the rip cord, left his marketing agency and opened a motorcycle manufacture. Urban Motor is now known far beyond the borders of Berlin.

Peter Dannenberg was unhappy. He had just married and the birth of his son was imminent. But the work in his marketing agency no longer fulfilled him. So he turned his life around, sold his shares in the agency and started all over again in a completely different industry: He opened his own motorcycle manufacture.

That was almost ten years ago. Today it shines again. No trace of frustration left. With his shop Urban Motor has he fulfilled his dream. The name comes from Latin and means something like “city movers”, explains the passionate motorcyclist.

His motorcycle forge is located in the southeast of Berlin. The furnishings in the loft-like exhibition room are nostalgic and modern. In the middle are a number of old motorcycles, completely overhauled and equipped with the latest technology. They look modern, but also somehow retro.

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-motorcycle

The motorcycles at Urban Motor look old, but are technically state-of-the-art

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

Motorcycle enthusiasts come to Urban Motor who have no time for their machine, some also have two left hands, but the necessary change to buy a completely refurbished 20 to 30 year old “new vehicle”. But Urban Motor also has a completely normal workshop. Up until two years ago there was even a man in his late 80s who used his old Honda had rebuilt themselves to their customers.

Peter Dannenberg describes the work of his four-person team as mechanical craftsmanship. The metal is still being worked on here. Diagnostic equipment and software are rarely used. Instead, you can find all kinds of utensils for turning, milling and manufacturing in the workshop. Even sheet metal, benches and holders are processed here by hand or made entirely.

"I’ve always followed my mechanics"

Gas-laden air rises in your nose as soon as you enter Peter Dannenberg’s shop. Strange, the founder doesn’t have any oil-smeared hands. “We are a master company, and everyone should do what they are trained in and what they are good at.” The 51-year-old is responsible for marketing and business. He doesn’t screw himself and therefore doesn’t get his fingers dirty.

It all started with old BMW motorcycles – and a lot of skepticism from Dannenberg’s environment: "You can burn your money there too," many said. But the success proved him right. "It’s the year 2018, everyone wants a motorcycle like this." However, the high point has already been exceeded, everyone who wanted one has now had one, adds Dannenberg.

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-urban

Uwe Hanzsch is working on an enduro. Modern aids are rarely used for repairs

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

At first, however, he had no idea about the motorcycle business. He had just been a customer in various workshops for years. He didn’t have a favorite workshop, he just had his favorite screwdrivers: "As some people follow their doctors, I always followed my mechanics when they changed companies."

At some point his idea of ​​his own manufacture was so mature that he asked his two favorite mechanics, Henry Schulze and Uwe Hanzsch, if they wanted to be part of Urban Motor. To this day, he is amazed that both had agreed directly: "Alcohol and delicious food probably played a big role back then," he adds with a wink.

It all started with a motorcycle magazine

But the philosophy that all employees act on an equal footing and that they only work as a team was also convincing. Even the trainee, Viktor Behrens, who started as an intern a few years ago, is allowed to live it out here.

A trust that pays off: He has already implemented two motorcycle projects of his own. At Urban Motor you are not just a mechanic in a motorcycle workshop, but also a creative head and lateral thinker.

Dannenberg’s passion for motorcycles began at the age of 13. The trigger wasn’t the father or the crazy uncle with a BMW. A simple motorcycle magazine that a friend brought to school was enough.

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-shops

The Urban Motor success story began with BMW machines. They are still her greatest passion today

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

When the long-awaited motorcycle license was obtained, the first motorcycle came straight away, a Suzuki GS 400, built in 1978. Dannenberg only bought the first car in his late twenties. “For me, the car is pure pragmatism. But motorcycles are passion, ”says Dannenberg.

And where does he prefer to ride a motorcycle?? Definitely not in Berlin, not even in Brandenburg, replies the native of Hamburg: “Roads that go up and down, with right and left curves, in mountainous landscapes.” Nevertheless, he actually tears off most of the kilometers in Berlin city traffic, every morning to work and back home in the evening.

No more than eight complete conversions per year

To this day, Urban Motor only builds motorcycles that the team is interested in: "At the moment we can afford that because the books are full," says Dannenberg, knocking on the wooden industrial cable drum with the words "toi, toi, toi" that serves as a table.

In addition to day-to-day business and contract work, the team tries to implement at least one project of its own every year. “You have to inspire yourself, that usually has nothing to do with street legal,” says Dannenberg.

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-best

The well-rehearsed Urban Motor team: (from left) Peter Dannenberg, Henry Schulze, Uwe Hanzsch and Viktor Behrens

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

The team then sit together until late at night and develop, tinker and weld. This is how their most popular custom bike to date came about: In 2013, the guys from Urban Motor were the first in the world to convert the then new BMW R nineT.

Another spectacular project was the sprint racer they recently built. A futuristic racing motorcycle for a drag race. The motorcycle impressed not only with its speed, but also with its unusual design.

Roaring engines and gasoline stink

It is currently touring Europe and is shown at various trade fairs and art exhibitions. The sprint racer was also the most complex project in Urban Motor‘s history to date: "And that even though it didn’t even have indicators or electronics," says Dannenberg.

However, the team does not manage more than eight complete conversions per year. More than 200 working hours are invested in each machine. So it’s not surprising that customers have to wait around twelve months for their handcrafted bike.

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-motor

Retro flair and yet modern, the showroom fits perfectly with the look and feel of the Urban Motor brand

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

They have shipped motorbikes to many countries around the world. Only in Switzerland not yet, the high costs for the acceptance process are to blame.

With Urban Motor, Peter Dannenberg has fulfilled his dream, all the more astonishing that the motorcycle plays a subordinate role in his private life. But it has never really revolved around a single topic for him, he explains. Besides, he now has a family. And motorcycle holidays with children are not that easy to manage.

But then he sees himself as a petrolhead: “A roaring engine and gasoline stink totally turn me on,” says Dannenberg, beaming and looking happy.

Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin-berlin

The hype about the so-called Cafe Racer does not pass by Urban Motor. Here is a Honda conversion

Source: Jan-Titus Willebrand

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5 thoughts on “Urban Motor, one of the best motorcycle shops in Berlin”

  1. Nice that the Lord has found happiness in his job. Congrats! But under a motorcycle blacksmith I imagine a little bit different, that is someone who builds the motorcycles himself, own design and production, of course you have to buy a good engine.
    But this is simply a motorcycle workshop that also does tuning and other conversions. So nothing special. This constant hype is slowly becoming exhausting. Please don’t always cover normal things, people and companies with this hip nonsense. That’s getting boring.

    Reply
  2. Why do these really great, super individual conversions all look the same? And what does mean "technically up to date"? Will Mr. Dannenberg plant the old cucumber ABS? Catalyst? Or at least an injection?
    Sorry, but the motorcycle magazines are full of oh so stylish, totally customized, mega individual conversions. I can no longer see all the ox-eye indicators, shortened rear frame and quilted bench seats. Oh, and certainly not matt finishes.

    Reply
  3. You can see it on the Honda. Comstar wheels and double disc of the cb 900f on a 750 k7. And then the fork was exchanged, the rear frame cut off, that’s the latest state (for the 55-year-olds).

    Reply
  4. Brave in times when only a few get a motorcycle license. At Sunday meetings, the average age is estimated at 60 years.

    Reply

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