Once again, proving my oft quipped “Motorcycling is the best way to meet people, wherever you may find yourself in the world”, rings true again.
It’s been a little over one year since we arrived back here in Brasilia, and this is how my arrival has unfolded. While being dragged around shopping with my wife, I meet a fellow rider in the shopping mall. I had on my Royal Enfield t-shirt. A stranger and now friend spoke to me in Portuguese asking if I was a rider. Not that I knew then what he said, as I replied my usual and well-learned Portuguese phrase:”Desculpe, mas eu não falo Portuguese,” yet in a friendly manner, he switched effortlessly and fluently into English (not such a common thing here).
“Do you ride an Enfield?”, he asked.
“Not yet, but I will be soon.”, I replied.
And after a brief chat, we exchanged WhatsApp details – or ZapZap, as it’s known here in Brazil; with a promise to meet up for a ride. It took us nearly a couple of months before we could make good on our promise, since as life often does, the odd spanner got caught in the works, on family, or simply timing does not sync. Finally, when we made a time to meet up, Helder suggested going to his local moto hang-out, Kluster Moto Hub and Community.
Kluster, I was to learn, was set up and run as a loose co-op focusing on skill-sharing. For me, as an ex-pat Kiwi-aka-New Zealander living in Brasilia, Brazil, not yet having met too many moto riders here, this was just what I needed. Helder and Kluster have sure been the remedy to that minor problem. Since I don’t speak a lot of Portuguese yet, a harsh language to learn (but I am slowly adding words and phrases to my vocabulary), I was even more pleasantly surprised to find that many of the regulars at Kluster spoke a little English, or a lot more than I spoke Portuguese. I could not have found myself in better company and language or not; we all converse in fluent “Motorcyclese”.
And this is where I met Zeduardo aka Zed, co-owner of Kluster Moto Hub and Community”, with whom I got around to having a sit-down and a good chat about Kluster and how it all came into being such an excellent place. I found myself welcomed into its friendly and welcoming environment full of moto culture mementos and other memorabilia, all linked to Zed’s previous life as a geologist, travelling and working worldwide. I eventually suggested writing an article for Bike Brewers about Kluster and how it all began.
Zed, like myself, started hacking around on motorbikes at age thirteen, and it has now grown into a full-on passion. His first bike was a 50cc two stroker, a scooter that he and a friend bought with their combined funds. Zed and his friend soon found that keeping an old motorcycle was not easy, a constant drain on their pockets. So after a short adventure of hiding the moto from their parents at friends places and other hideouts, they had to sell their first venture into motorcycle ownership. All of this was done without the permission of Zeds parents, like a lot of us who started riding at an early age but come hell or high water, we were gonna be motorheads.
Zed tells me, once he started university, he had a scooter that brought him to and from his classes, all without a licence. His first legal bike was a 125cc Suzuki Bergman scooter and the perfect way to get around the streets of Brasilia. Not long afterwards, he finally got his licence and the beginning of a lifelong addiction to motorcycling.
Kluster is a great community; a place where people can get together and work on their bikes, a unique opportunity as a place for people to get creative, to be supported and to be taught how to work on their motorcycles, doing simple jobs like learning to do an oil and filter change, adjust a clutch, bleed brakes or change brake pads.
There’s enough space there for people to get even more adventurous and take on a full-on customization project. Or take on a motor performance upgrade, as I will be doing with the help of my mate Helder in the next few weeks. I will be sure to do a write up for you all once the work is completed.
The customization scene here in Brazil and before the world wide web gave us all an eye into the world; Brazil had a uniquely tropical style of customization born from the isolation and the years of the dictatorship (a story for another time). But once we had the internet, the Brazilian motorcycle scene opened up with new models and larger displacement engines to play with. And of course, all that inspiration coming out of Europe, the United Kingdom and the US really set the creative juices flowing.
Motorcycling in Brazil mainly was based around the use by poorer Brazilians as their primary mode of transport and working vehicle, and it still is today. Brazil’s cities and towns are awash with thousands of guys and girls who make their living working from their motorcycles. Small motorcycles are relatively cheap instead of car ownership in Brazil, which is quite expensive.
Mostly, the customization scene is mainly done by people from more professional occupations, lawyers, doctors, corporate individuals, and the middle class in general. There is still quite a divide between the rich and poor here, but not as much as it once was. Most motorcycle riders here work in delivery or use motorcycles as the primary mode of transportation for the family. And customization is very low on their priority list and way out of their budget. Something we in the West take very much for granted. Life here in Brazil will soon wake most people up to the privileged lives we live as even our poorest people live reasonably well in comparison.
Kluster has a membership program that, for R$75.00 a month, gives you full access to the tools and the motorcycle lifts to work on your moto, and some focused workshops are offered like learning welding and fabrication or basic motorcycle wiring, or spray painting a tank or the frame and other parts that you might need paint applied on your project.
The team comprises Zed and his partners André Gusmão, Victor Mayer and Hérique Marque. André is a long time friend of Zed’s, and they have been working on Kluster together from its beginning. And again, a friendship forged from a love of life on two wheels. Victor is the workshop Cafe manager. Hérique aka Eric, is Kluster’s front of house man and the first friendly face you’ll meet on arrival. He speaks English and Portuguese.
Kluster Moto Hub and Community is more than just a place for motorheads, it’s a home away from home, and it’s all about friends and family. It is also home to a tattooist, Marcelo Munster; you can find him on Instagram @marcelomunster if you are looking for some of that old school cool ink to go with your moto mania passion.
The pandemic hit Kluster hard, as with many small businesses here and in the world. But thanks to cool heads, good management and a loyal community, it has survived and looks set to thrive as it moves forward with new projects and the steady growth of new members.
Indeed Kluster has been a lifesaver, a great place to meet up and make new friends; long may Kluster rein as Brasilia’s number one moto hang-out and community.
So if you’re passing, call in, meet the crew, shoot the shit, grab a coffee and a snack, get ya bike washed while ya kick back on the plush leather sofa and make new friends.
You can make contact via;
- NORTE – SOF NORTE QUADRA 05 CONJUNTO C LOTE 13 SOF NORTE – ATRÁS DA LEROY, DF-003 – Zona Industrial Norte, DF, 70634-530