by Dennis Martin | As Found in Thunder Roads Magazine Volume 2 Issue 12 July 2007
The doors at Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC first opened back in March, 2005. At that time the husband & wife team, Jan and Reine Knobbe, took a chance in creating an affordable shop with a service that cannot be compared to any other. Now, almost 2 1/2 years later, their reputation required an expansion. They are already thinking of expanding again. Jan and Reine have been married now for 23 years and with their children, Marie and Jake, all grown up, the timing was right. Marie is away at college. Jake works at the shop and is going to paint school.
Jan went to college at Ranken and received an Associated Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has been a mechanic for 30+ years and is experienced with motorcycles, cars, tractors, you name it! He built his first motorcycle when he was 17 years old while dating Reine. After they got married, and had the kids, the motorcycle hobby had to take the backseat for a while. But when at a family reunion in 2000 they got on Reine’s cousin’s bike and the passion was rekindled. Jan once again was working on their friend’s motorcylces in the garage, but still a hobby. Then in 2005 they took the leap and opened up to the public. Reine went to SLU and became an Occupational Therapist. She now runs the store front and the business end of everything. Reine admits that she is not the person to talk to about the mechanical side of the business, that is Jan’s department. She makes a real effort to know each of their customers by name when they walk in. In the store front they have anything from dew rages to leathers. There is always something new coming in.
Their staff consists of 4 full time employees and 1 apprentice. They have designed and created 4 custom motorcycles from the ground up and countless extreme modifications to customer’s motorcycles. Their main focus of the shop is service and builds/rebuilds. Normally scheduled maintenance is 2-3 days. Naturally an engine rebuild takes a bit longer. If you have a project that requires parts to be ordered from venders, they don’t want your bike until everything is at their shop. The goal is to keep you riding until the customization is ready to start. They will make sure that if someone wants new bars, forks or anything that will change the ride of the bike, that it will fit the rider. Customer satisfaction is number one. They pride themselves on getting a bike in on Tuesday and do what ever it takes to be sure the work is done for riding on the weekend. Jan will test ride any bike that has been serviced or built, to make sure everything is performing as expected. This is truly a One-Stop Shop. Anything you want or need, they can do it at their place. The only thing they haven’t tackled yet is painting. They trust and rely on Doug’s Custom Paint and Restoration in Troy, MO. Eventually they want to get into warranty work for all of the major manufacturers.
They are setup with countless parts venders. They will always look for the best quality that is available. Jan tests products on his own bike before he will sell it at the shop. If you only want Harley products, they have it. If you want to try others products such as AMSOIL, they are knowledgeable about most everything out there and can talk to you about it in detail.
With everything they have accomplished, one thing that they are very passionate about is lending a hand to help community organizations have fund raising events. If there was one thing that I had to point out, they both are very humble. They owe most of their success to their friends, customers and employees.
The shop is located in Moscow Mills, Missouri at 141 Moscow Springs Plaza. This is near the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway C. At the time of the interview, there was some serious road construction underway in that area. I would suggest logging onto their website at www.chariotsoffirecustoms.com. There is a detailed map to get to the shop. Next time you are looking for a place to ride to, stop in and see the shop. It is a very nice ride to Moscow Mills from just about anywhere. Their hours are Tues. Wed Fri 11-7pm, Thrus 11-6 pm, Sat 10-3pm. They have organized a Thrusday night dinner ride that leaves the shop at 6pm.