- Sun Clips
Photos: Cole Bennetts
Words: Emily Draznik
Land, water and sun are three things that Los Angeles and Sydney have in excess. Both cities are deeply rooted in a surf culture and have established two-wheeled subcultures that are experiencing a modern Renaissance of sorts. That being said, it’s no coincidence that the Mad Max series is receiving a big Hollywood-style reboot this summer. In fact, California and Australia complement each other so naturally that a photo shoot with Aussie motorbikes from Sol Invictus and our classic offerings of eyewear was simply a no-brainer. We caught up with the creators and brand-brothers, John and Derek Benton, to help us expand on their signature pieces of drivable nostalgia.
Both John and Derek share a common thread with Garrett Leight; their brand is founded on pillars of quality, design and customization. The motorized stars of the Sol Invictus line include their Café Racer-style motorbike, The Mercury, and its zippy Italian-inspired cousin, The Wasp scooter. Both place value in clean, classic lines and are designed with affordable, high-end technology.
Present day culture has started cycling through its expendable, “on-trend” values that are always leaning towards what’s to come and not on how long it’ll last. John believes that the culture behind motorcycles is a distinguishable counter-culture movement, that of going in the opposite direction of the norm. And thus Sol Invictus always strives to seamlessly blend both the spirit of this culture with a functional quality that people can customize and use in their day-to-day lives.
Vintage bikes are having such a “moment” in present day pop culture that more and more people are being exposed to this transition from four to two wheels. For instance, you can’t argue when zombie-killer Daryl from “The Walking Dead” (spoiler alert) upgrades his signature chopper to a classic racer with a custom crossbow mount. It speaks to this perfect balance between style and function that these bikes can write themselves into more than one apocalyptic storyline.
Which is why people keep coming back and adding their own personal touches to these bikes. Unlike other purchases that someone can make, it’s easy to become consumed with customizing and working hands-on with motorcycles. And this engagement is what has helped shape this movement and the people inspired by it. Which in case you can count us in as diehard converts.