Situated right on the promenade, over looking the English channel, is a real time warp of a shop. Cosmo Classic Motorcycles, named after its proprietor 43 year old, half Welsh, half Greek, Evan “Cosmo” Cosmos, is just like going back in time 30 years or so, prices not withstanding this image of course. The shop and workshop is crammed full of tasty classics, and memorabilia, from the 70s and 80s. All manner of classic machinery, from a pair of ultra rare and expensive Triumph XR75, to the bread and butter Japanese tackle, and a few examples of Latin thinking too, line up in the shop and hang around on the street outside.
Although a big fan of all machines of the period, Cosmo does have a particular passion for the Kawasaki Z1, “I could never afford one back when they were the bike to have” recalled Cosmo “A decent Z would cost thousands even back then so I stuck to running much cheaper machinery, old Brit iron, like Tridents and Commandos, along with the odd Yamaha twin that could be had for under a ton back in the early 80s. I started buying and selling a few bikes to make ends meet and that became the start of my career in the motor cycle industry.” Cosmo classic motorcycles for real started just 8 years ago in an industrial unit in nearby Worthing just a few miles up the coast from its present location, here Cosmo ran as a one man band, repairing and selling machinery but found the location a little restricting.
The premises in St Leonards on Sea, Hastings, a long time former classic bike shop, came up around 4 years back “It was perfect as it offered the opportunity to have a retail outlet, as well as a cracking workshop set up with bags of character” Cosmo said “All of a sudden the business kicked into gear and now the main problem is not selling machinery, its finding replacements for the 4-5 units I sell a week. We are happy taking on all manner of repair work too so expect to see newer machinery sitting alongside the older stuff in the workshop.” Cosmo learned his trade at Merton College in the mid 80s, before becoming one of the top technicians at London Triumph dealer Carl Rosner M/Cs.
It was here that Cosmo worked on the Norton rotaries and also the Hinckley Triumphs, before the experience of latter made him rethink his two wheeled ambitions. “They were just too different for me to cope with” laughed Cosmo, “And I had to get out quick, joining the RAC as a recovery driver for the next 10 years, before taking the big leap into self employment, once again juggling the spanners on the sort of bikes I love. I’ve owned most types since my first bike, the ubiquitous fizzy at sixteen, and I’ve also had a fair few Z1’s once I could afford to own them.” In fact many examples of the Iconic Kawasaki take pride of place in the showroom of the Seaside bike shop and given the opportunity Cosmo will chat about the type till the cows head for the shed.
They are all for sale however, Cosmo has a strict rule on that, and everything has a price tag despite a real longing to own everything there is. When asked about how business is doing in these tough times, Cosmo had no such tale to tell “The classic market is buoyant at the moment, in all areas too with repairs making up around 40% of the business at the present time, with bike sales making up most of the remaining turnover. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of things taking a down turn at the present time, if anything prices of certain models are well on the up.”
20-year-old mechanic, Frank Hobbs, joined the set up 2-years ago, initially as a Saturday boy, before starting full time, having impressed his boss with his enthusiasm and technical skills. Like Cosmo, Frank is a man with a real passion for the modern classic machinery, he owns, and regularly rides an RD250B, although he can’t quite explain why he does so, he just seems to have a real passion for all things from the period.
The shop has a real bike club feel about it, and during my visit, people popping into the shop, and there was plenty, appeared to be more than just customers, Cosmo enjoying friendly banter with them while offering good solid advice to all. The phone hardly stops ringing too as regular, and potential customers alike, from all over the UK, enquire about the bikes and spares in stock. The shop is well worth checking out, there can be few people with the knowledge of, and outright passion for, these machines, and, as Cosmo kept telling me, as I longingly hung my nose over one of a pair of red and white, “Ice Cream Wagon”, GS1000s, he is always willing to do a deal.
Cosmo Classic motorcycles – Tel 01424 437 719
Cosmo Classic Motorcycles Gallery