Meet Philip Pantelides & The House of Moto
One of our great friends Philip Pantelides is no stranger to a good adventure. With his huge love of bikes and horology, the 2019/20 lockdown saw him and a rag-tag band of mates start a community that's growing around the world - The House of Moto. We caught up with Philip to find out more...
VW: Hello! From the looks of it, you’ve a long history of love for motorbikes! When did you first jump on a bike, what was it and what’s kept you going since?
PP: I’ve always been fascinated by classic cars and motorcycles from a young age, mainly the design and romance but also the sense of adventure they bring. Seeing some of my idols like Steve McQueen and Bob Dylan riding on Bonnies certainly helped! I got deeply into bikes after a stint living in LA. It was the start of the cafe racer scene, I’d visit places like Deus in Venice and I was hooked.
When I came back to the UK I wanted a classic Triumph Bonneville but knew little about maintaining an old motor. So I decided to buy a 1971 Honda CB450 which shares the same DNA, but with Japanese reliability.
If you asked a kid to draw a motorcycle they’d draw something that looks like a Bonneville - it’s a timeless design. I still have the CB450 and it comes out on special occasions like the Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride and Malle Mile (where it beats all the Triumphs of the day! Honda know how to make a great engine)
What’s kept me hooked is the constant evolution and creativity that comes from customisation and also the community. You can’t beat riding out with your mates on a bunch of custom bikes. I’ve recently got more into off-road riding and enduro, every time I go out it’s an adventure.
VW: So, you’ve currently got three bikes - Triumph, Honda & a cheeky Husky, have you a favourite of the three and - money aside - what would be the fourth to top the collection?
PP: My favourite has to be ‘Black Betty’ my custom Triumph T120. She’s been a labour of love and is really my perfect bike. I’ve done about 30k miles on her including some trips to the mountains across Europe - she’s not a garage queen.
I did have a 4th, until recently, which was a custom Honda dominator adventure bike. I wouldn’t mind another adventure bike I could also take off-road. It would be something like a Yamaha T7, Triumph Tiger 900 or the Ducati Desert X. When I’ve got more space to tinker I’d love a classic Triumph Bonneville.
VW: You’ve also mentioned you’re a ex-closet horologist, a fan of beautiful watches - what’s in your watch collection - as most do, do any carry great memories or stories?
PP: Ha yes. I had to rein it in a few years ago as I thought I was spending too much money on watches. Ironically vintage watches have skyrocketed in value since!
I’m obsessed with watches for the same reason as bikes - timeless design and engineering. I’ve got a few vintage watches including Omega, Universal Geneve and Benrus. Most recent acquisition is a Tudor black bay 58 - a modern classic. I wear my Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic the most (including when working on the bike) and it has the battle scars to show it. I’m currently after a Rolex Explorer II as it best represents my adventurous nature.
One watch that carries a lot of meaning is a Seiko diver I bought in Tokyo on my honeymoon. I dragged my wife around about 5 shops to find it, but every time I look down to tell the time it brings back memories of our trip. I have pictures of me wearing that watch all over Japan from hiking near Mount Fuji to crashing a traditional Japanese wedding!
VW: You managed to be one of the first to get your hands on our Sandracer series watch, the Ainsdale - how have you found it?
PP: I’m quite particular when it comes to watch design. I like tool watches that serve a purpose and those that have classic lines. The AINSDALE fits the bill. I’d describe it as lovechild between two classics the Omega Speedy and Heure Monaco. I also love the applied numerals which evoke the Rolex Explorer. The build quality and attention to detail on the dial are great with the different textures, giving it real depth. The classic rally-style strap fits the chronograph design, it would look great timing beach drag races!
VW: You recently set up ‘The House of Moto’ with five mates known as ‘The Cotswolds Wrecking Crew’ - Tell us a bit about that - who are these misfits, how did you all find each other?
PP: The Cotswolds Wrecking Crew are five mates who all have a love of custom Triumphs. We met each other a couple of years ago and quite frankly kept each other sane during the pandemic. Whether it is getting out on the bike together or a continuous stream of entertainment on WhatsApp, there’s always something to lighten the mood. Craig (AKA Little Red Riding Gloves) and and I met on Instagram and then introduced the other chaps (through torturous initiation). Two years later it feels like a proper bike crew.
As we are so close we didn’t want to change the dynamic, but at the same time wanted to share our passion with others, hence House of Moto was born. We sell clothing that embodies the biker community and run larger ride-outs. Alan (AKA Captain Crayons) works on most of the designs and I sort the logistics. The biggest success to date was a retro style jersey which sold out at presale. We call ourselves a community rather than a brand, which is what people really buy into when they buy our goods. We’ve had photos from people wearing our gear from all over the world as far as Japan and Canada!
VW: Vazon watches were made for adventure - Where do you and The CWC regularly invade for a good petrol-infused adventure?
PP: The Cotswolds of course! However we do have some bigger trips on the cards. Last year we toured the Peak District and there are plans for the Pyrenees in Spain. There’s also been talk of dirt-biking in Morocco which would fulfil a dream of mine to ride in the desert.
VW: Thanks for the catchup today, Philip - where can we find out more, where’s your next meet-up/what’s on the horizon for you?
PP: You can follow my bike and watch adventures @philippantelides and visit thehouseofmoto.co.uk or @thehouseofmoto to see what the crew are up to.
We all are big supporters of men’s mental health so will be riding in the Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride (May 22nd 2022) - see you on the road!
*Photo credits to Philip Pantelides, Oli Garnett, The Cotswolds Wrecking Crew and The House of Moto