The Burn Up Company is more than just a shop, it’s an entire ecosystem of all things cool when it comes to a motorcycle-inspired lifestyle. Like any great journey, the company began in the suburbs of New York, then finding roots in West Palm Beach, FL. While day-to-day antics include vintage motorcycle restoration, and a full service and customization process, it goes much further than that. The team is constantly scouring the country to locate forgotten rides, bringing these older machines back to life one bolt crank at a time. From the badass apparel, to the display bikes, to the piping hot coffee—it’s hard not to make Burn Up Company a routine stop if you live close by. We caught up with shop owner David Plotkin for our latest Sit Down to talk music, gear, and advice for all riders through life.
CYTIES: Let’s kickstart this interview, when thinking about the most exciting project Burn Up Company has been a part of, what’s the first bike that comes to mind?
David: I think the Burn-1 Skycycle was one of the most fun, far-out, creative projects we’ve done today. The components were the perfect balance of what’s already in our wheelhouse, combined with unique aeronautical and automotive elements of that period.
CYTIES: As an avid motorcycle enthusiast, what is your everyday carry when cruising?
David: Seiko Divers watch, bandana, sunglasses (usually Burn Up sunglasses because they’re the only ones that seem to hold up and stick around) my mini flashlight, and my knife.
CYTIES: What kind of music are y’all blasting when building bikes in the Burn Up Co. garage?
David: We have a very electric mix, and I usually try to change it up from day to day. Some days are indie, some days are oldies, rap, reggae, synthpop, you name it.
CYTIES: What is one gadget or item in the garage that our readers wouldn’t expect?
David: Right now we have a BMW I8 in the garage. I think it’s one of the coolest pieces of hybrid technology to come out in a long time. My entire staff and I are BMW fans, and this is just another fine example of the potential of German engineering.
CYTIES: Do you remember where and when your moto love story all started?
David: My love for motorcycles started when I was living in Connecticut. I had just finished my schooling and had a major itch to roll up my sleeves and get into some sort of new project/hobby. I didn’t have enough time, money, or space for cars, so when I learned how affordable a project motorcycle was, I was quickly bit by the bug. I started with one of my garage, and that quickly grew to 10. At that point, I knew I was addicted.
CYTIES: What’s your favorite route to ride in Florida? Any future road trips planned?
David: There’s something about riding along the coast that doesn’t seem to get old. I think taking in the energy from the ocean while on two wheels is incomparable to anything else. The next road trip I have planned is going to be throughout New York State and Connecticut. I’m going to spend some time visiting family and friends, and I think those roads are some of the best ones to explore
CYTIES: When did you shift gears and also start creating apparel?
David: We started creating apparel about five years ago as Burn Up Company’s reputation grew and customers and friends would ask for T-shirts to wear so they could shown their support. That blossomed into us expanding our line for various reasons.
CYTIES: If you could offer one piece of advice for a new rider, or for someone looking at getting into riding, what would that be?
David: Aside from the obvious (safety gear, local roads, etc.) start small, be comfortable, and the rest will follow!
CYTIES: You get to jump out of a plane and parachute down with your motorbike like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 7.. where in the world are you landing and why?
David: I think the next area I’d like to explore on 2 wheels would be in Central / South America. I think the terrain and scenery would be epic.
CYTIES: Do you have any personal idols?
David: I idolize my father as a true renaissance man. Here’s a guy who can build, cook, play virtually any instrument, love, learn, and teach like no one I’ve ever met in my life. He’s always been a major proponent for following my passion and he’s constantly pushing me to better myself. I think I owe most, if not all, of my success to him (both personally and professionally).
CYTIES: The Bikes & Coffee events look epic. Who makes the best cup in West Palm Beach?
David: The Roasted Record, hands down!
CYTIES: Last question — Rep your city. Why is West Palm Beach one of the coolest cities on earth?
David: Talk about a convergence of all types; we have it all here. Every type of status, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc, and we’re all mixed in together doing our thing.
All photos from Vincent Conti