Stories from our team members who are bikers at heart.
Are you a #BIKERATHEART? So are we at Louis! We found our absolute dream job here, combining our passion with our daily work.
Always looking to go the extra mile for you ;-)
"Love at first sight: AMAZING! This is where you want to work! "
I turned my passion into my career, and got my dream job into the bargain!
My passion for motorbikes started when I was 15. Back then, my moped licence opened up a whole new world – suddenly I could get from my village into the town on my own. And it was fantastic fun as well! From my moped I moved on to my beloved scooter, and then my first 125cc motorcycle. Until I could get my "real" motorcycle licence, my pals always let me ride pillion – better than nothing at the time ;-)
In our village back then, we had to buy whatever gear the local motorcycle dealership had. I first came across Louis when I moved to the city – and it was love at first sight. The first time I went into the Louis store, bought something and left again, I said to myself: AMAZING! This is where you want to work! In 2009 I was able to turn my hobby into my career. And after 10 years as a store manager, I can now pass on all my experience and passion for the hobby and the job to my colleagues. As a store manager, I always enjoyed helping other people and showing them the ropes. So I knew that the job as "Instructor at the Louis Academy" was my meant for me.
In my spare time it's all about motorcycles, naturally. I currently ride an MT-09, which is my street and adventure bike. I swapped my chopper (Suzuki VS1400 Intruder) for a GSX-R750, which I now take to the race track.
"The great thing is that I'm still involved with motorcycles every day".
My name is Björn and I've been working in the Advertising Department at Louis for 20 years now.
I'm a biker at heart because I've been riding motorcycles since the age of 18.
Apart from my love of bikes, my other passions are my wife and two children, and also our dog. So, for me, time spent on my motorcycle is a very special pleasure. The great thing is that I'm still involved with motorcycles every day, so you can't really call it work. Maybe "Leisure+" would be more apt. And each year my personal biking highlight is a tour to one of Europe's beautiful motorcycle regions with a group of old friends. So far, we've been to Scotland, most of the Alpine countries, the Pyrenees, Norway and Denmark, and a few other places. I'm very lucky that my family allows me to do all that.
My motorcycle CV: I started off with a 34hp EN 500 – that sounds worse than it is! Back then it was fantastic fun. Then I got an XJR1300 – really nice bike – but after two accidents it was eventually a write-off. Next up was a Harley Wide Glide – that just had to be, because I was fulfilling a childhood dream. But it rode very differently to how I'd imagined, so I sold it. After that, I needed something a bit more dynamic for a couple of years, so I changed to a Triumph Speed Triple. And nowadays I belong to the army of BMW GS1200 riders. It's not something I could ever have imagined in the past, but for the sort of touring I do it's a really fun machine.
"Somehow it was inevitable that I would end up at Louis in Kiel"
Petrolhead / Motorhead
It all started with my first moped (a Puch Maxi S), which I rode to work each night through snow and rain. That's how I first caught the biking bug. Later I secretly took my motorcycle test, and when I passed, I was shouting for joy inside my helmet. Strangely, my mother wasn't nearly as enthusiastic.
The bike world has had me firmly in its grip ever since. It doesn't really matter whether it's on the road, muddy off-road trail, curvy race track, or a wild adventure trip. Or doing any sort of motorcycle conversion. Everything about bikes interests me, and I'll give anything a try. Enduro racing in Portugal or Romania, going to biker meets with my mates, a winter trip to Norway or taking part in the Great German Road Race "Fischereihafenrennen" in Bremerhaven multiple times: I've done it all! Every holiday has been on a motorcycle, and that just came naturally, really. I was also able to fulfil one of my lifelong dreams. In 2015 I spent several months in Australia with my BMW F800GS. At the same time I just couldn't resist constantly modifying my equipment, clothing and, of course, my bikes. I'm not a trained mechanic but I've taught myself a lot over the years. The Louis Academy has been a huge help, too. And that's how I ended up getting one motorcycle after the other. Currently I've got a Honda Hawk NT 650 GT (my old love, since 1991), a KTM 1290 Super Duke R Special Edition (my new love), a Suzuki DR-Z400S (for touring), Suzuki DRZ 400 E (for off-road), Zündapp ZD 10 (heirloom).
Somehow it was inevitable that I would end up at Louis in Kiel, turning my hobby into a career. And I've been here ever since 1998. Wow, how time flies! The work has always been really interesting and exciting. New innovations are coming onto the market all the time. The thick old paper catalogue has given way to the more up-to-date and faster version: the Internet. Modern communication systems for the rider and fast electronics on and inside the bike are standard virtually across the board, now. Probably you'll soon be able to control the entire motorcycle from your smartphone. The self-riding BMW already exists. It all means that, working at Louis, I have to keep up-to-date. But most of all it's the customers who make sure things never get boring. You meet all sorts of people. The classic motorcycle rider in a sleeveless denim jacket is becoming a much rarer sight out on the road. Instead, you have every type of customer, from scooter rider to racer and fully equipped Goldwing fan. And from total beginner to weather-beaten old hand. As for women taking the handlebars instead of the pillion seat, well that's almost ancient history. For a long time it seemed that young people weren't really interested in motorcycle riding, but now the trend is changing and I see more and more young people with a helmet in our shop. And with the new e-bikes the future is sure to be just as fascinating and varied.
Image: ©Hinrich ©Kirsten Täuber ©Helen Lloyd
"What could have been more obvious than joining the cool team at my favourite shop?"
Just couldn't leave
At 16 I was finally able to escape the overfilled school buses out in the country and, with my Yamaha DT50, I also enjoyed new-found freedom as I no longer had to depend on my mum as a taxi driver. My subsequent two-wheeler career took me through all types of bikes: a Virago 535, a VX800, a CBR600, an XVZ13T (the "Yamaha Goldwing" with V-Max engine!), an F650 and finally the 990 Adventure. Not to forget the little scooter for riding in town. Somehow there was always a motorcycle or scooter at hand. I never needed my own car.
In the town where I studied the route to the little shop, which was part of a chain that no longer exists, was a short one. A mate then asked me whether I fancied going along to the opening there on the corner. We'd heard "Louis" was like a chain and we wanted to have a look at what they had on offer. The larger shop, which nowadays is one of the company's smallest, the cheerful staff who were never at a loss for an answer, and the large range really blew us away. It was clear where our first port of call was going to be in the future.
Not long after, I needed regular work during the holidays in order to put my finances in order. That was 1997 and what could have been more obvious than joining the cool team at my favourite shop? Those days were casual and on the Wednesday during the trial week my boss asked me if I'd seen the schedule for the following week. "Is that any of my business?" - "Of course! If you're interested!" Flat hierarchies and quick decisions!
That one year has quickly turned into twenty; I just couldn't leave! I was also able to satisfy my travel bug and helped out at countless branches, and that way I learned how we motorcycle riders differ from region to region yet are all cut from the same cloth. I'm now also at most new store openings and, when I'm there, I'm usually able to use my penchant for tinkering to meet the new challenges that are always cropping up. That's because, unlike the discount stores that just do things by the book, every Louis shop is unique.
The motorcycle is still very important to me in my spare time too. And ever since my wife has come aboard, I'm also well versed in transporting luggage. We often opt for our bike & hike variant: taking the Enduro out into the countryside as far as we legally can and then walking.
“For me, travelling by motorbike means freedom. So focused, that you don’t have another thought in the world”.
Hi, I’m Sabine.
For me, travelling by motorbike means freedom. Riding down country roads through nature, wind on your face, no metal surround, no safety harness. Just you and your machine, as light as a feather. So focused, that you don’t have another thought in the world.
#BIKERATHEART has been with me my entire life, because my mother and father also travelled by motorbike. At 14 I got my moped license, and started to terrorise the road with my souped up Peugeot Speedfight 2.
After the youthful recklessness came other interests for a long time, until I came to the Intermot in Cologne by chance, through a friend, at the age of 24. A Suzuki GSX-R stole my heart and I sat down on it and asked myself how come I hadn’t gotten a motorbike license instead. The next day I went to the driving school and registered. To begin with, my first bike was a Suzuki SV 650. I was so enthusiastic about my new hobby, that I had no time for anything else anymore. I was unhappy in my job at the time so began to look for a new one. What if I could somehow combine my passion for motorbikes and my career? That’s how I started my job as a salesperson at Louis, and now I’m a branch manager and proud of my career.
The SV 650 quickly reached its limits and was replaced by my dream bike, a GSX-R 750 K9. For 5 years and 65,000 kilometres we were inseparable. Holidays, race trainings, weekends with 1000 km were mandatory. I’ve met a couple of my best friends through Louis and travelling by motorbike. Passion connects. These days I'm more relaxed on the road and have a Vespa Pk50s, which I also like to ride to work.
Even when I don't have time for my hobby, I meet people at work with motorbikes in their hearts, who can be helped with tricks and advice.
"The thrill of speeding along at 30 km/h, heading for the distant horizon"
Motorcycle riding will be a part of my life for a long time to come.
But if you're thinking that I grew up riding a motorcycle, I'm going to have to disappoint you. Riding a motorbike was a bit of a delicate subject in my youth. Films like Easy Rider (which had just come out at the time), Rocker and other "outlaw productions" created an image of the rocker on a bike - slightly shady, leather-clad characters with long hair.
It all started when I was 12, and initially it was just about reading the latest issue of MOTORRAD magazine. A friend would buy it regularly and we'd all get together at his place to devour the magazine.
My first attempts at riding were on a moped. Vehicle registration, licence (you didn't need one back then), riding lessons, helmet ... we'd heard about all that, but no one really liked the idea!
It really was awesome. The thrill of speeding along at 30 km/h, heading for the distant horizon (without having to use your leg muscles). We didn't have mobility as we know it today. Only sporadic public transport, no parents giving us a car for our birthday, and as for flying ... that was like flying to the moon.
Then the day came when the local rocker rode up with the new Z900. I begged and begged until I was finally allowed to have a ride on the back. The acceleration, the sound - I wanted it! OK, I still wasn't old enough, but the Zündapp KS 50 WC was legendary back then and, if you didn't look to closely, it looked like a real motorcycle. Trips to new places all the way up to the Baltic Sea coast. Suddenly you could travel anywhere, and at the youth club you were the king. We felt like demigods. Everyone wanted to get a ride on our machines, and we were happy to oblige, especially for the girls.
Then it was time to start an apprenticeship. Money was tight and a car was more important. But right after my military service I really caught the bug again, and I started working at Louis. It was only meant to be temporary, but it had long-term consequences. It wasn't long before I had my first real motorcycle, a Yamaha XS 400. A dream, until you realised that 140 km/h was the limit. Even the tuned camshaft only gave a pretty basic power boost. I needed a bigger machine. Honda CB 1100 Super Bol D'Or in red with a white seat. That was the ultimate. Or at least that's how it seemed at the time. In reality the chassis was a disaster and at 160 km/h and above it would start to vibrate. More motorcycles would follow, e.g. a Yamaha XJ 900 and FJ 1200. For a long time I was able to dip into the company's vehicle pool. But having your own bike is so much cooler. A Suzuki GSX 1400 and a Yamaha XJR 1300 followed. In between there was a Harley, then a Triumph Tiger Explorer and a BMW R nineT, which still gets a run out to this day.Our Baltic Sea trips back then turned into regular excursions. Once a year we head off to the Italian mountains with a load of friends from all over Germany - and it's a week of intensive biking! Route 66, the Garden Route and the annual event at Mojácar, in Spain, just after Christmas and over New Year's Eve. 10 days with plenty of motorcycle riding, including on the track - What better way to start the year? Those were real highlights which have lost none of their fascination to this very day. I now commute between Hamburg and Rosenheim, so I've got a dream road right outside my front door, and I use it as often as possible. Motorcycle riding will be a part of my life for a long time to come.