West coast bike feel brought to Bangor
Originally from California, Ken Frey, his wife Missy and their two daughters moved to the area to enjoy a quieter way of life. After moving to Wisconsin, Frey decided to open his own motorcycle shop, Driftwind V-Twin in downtown Bangor.
In the past, Frey has worked at the Harley Davidson dealership in La Crosse and S&S Cycle, which is a motorcycle engine and parts engineer and manufacturer in Viola.
It wasn’t that long ago when Frey started toying with the notion of operating a shop out of his own garage, but his ultimate vision was to obtain an old full-service gas station.
He and his wife spent roughly eight months looking for the right location and in 2018, after moving to Bangor, they purchased what used to be John’s Auto Care directly off of Commercial St., which was also the first blacksmith shop in town.
Frey was first introduced to motorcycles by his dad. “My dad has ridden a motorcycle ever since I can remember,” he said. “He’s a man’s man. He is above average at everything I’ve ever seen him do.”
Frey added that his dad is the type of guy who knows how to do just about anything and Frey grew up watching his dad build nearly everything from houses to hot rods, but he would never teach Frey how to do any of those things.
“He taught me by making me go and do it myself,” he said, adding he started working on bikes when he was about 15 years old. “I customized my own bike when I was 19.”
When they moved away from California, Frey and Missy felt that it made sense to start their own shop. Frey was always a Harley guy, he wanted to work for himself and when they saw the building all of the stars aligned.
“I just realized that the things I really loved most about motorcycles and the culture were starting to slip away,” Frey said, adding he felt there was a discrepancy of aftermarket part dealers in the area. “I’m just trying to be a little different and bring a feel of California here and that progressiveness that’s happening out there on the west coast with motorcycles.”
The Freys worked hard to bring the old building back to life, making it operational and useful to their clientele. Driftwind V-Twin offers everyday services such as ordering and installing parts, oil changes, tires, brakes, batteries, other fluid changes and other preventative maintenance as well as accessory and lighting installment, detailing and towing.
“Our clientele is just so easy going,” Missy said. “It’s been really nice because all businesses need to work out their kinks as they’re opening and the community here in Bangor was so excited when we opened up and they’re still excited.”
People are finding Frey for routine maintenance and services, but he will also dive into helping people customize their bikes. Between April and November, Frey won’t take on major projects that require some time devotion to complete, simply because he doesn’t have the space.
“People should be out on the road as much as they can and we need people to be able to come in and out,” Missy said, adding they will refer customers and tow them to local mechanics with more space. “During the summer we focus on preventative maintenance.”
During the winter months, they will start to take on those bigger projects that require tear downs, more space and more time. Frey would also eventually like to sell bikes on consignment for his customers.
“Being a family business, having a sense of community and telling the truth is what we’re about,” Missy said.
With their new business, the Frey’s mission is to be community driven, not just motorcycle driven. Whether an individual wants to get a service done on their bike, grab a cup of coffee or just say hello, they are always welcome at Driftwind V-Twin.