He’s an unassuming guy, providing motorcycle maintenance out of a secluded spot in a quiet village just east of San Marcos. But Mikey Orloff, owner of Martindale Motorcycle Works, is nothing like your average mechanic.
Mikey, a trained archaeologist by education, has had a lifelong love affair with motorcycles.. to be more specific, BMW “airhead” motorcycles. So, in 1990 Mikey gave up thoughts of a career in archaeology, in favor of perfecting his expertise with these beautiful bikes.
BMW built its iconic, horizontally opposed Boxer air cooled engines, known affectionately as “airheads” by devotees, from the early 1920’s up through 1995. (For more details on the airhead, see our blog: “BMW R100/7 – Airheads Rule”).
But Mikey’s expertise and interests revolve around the “classic” airhead period spanning the 60’s through mid-1980. Ask any airhead owner in the Central Texas area about BMW maintenance or modifications and invariably the name of Martindale Motorcycle Works will come up. Even the “modern” BMW dealers frequently refer airhead customers to Martindale.
Finding MMW in Martindale is not easy. There are no flashy neon signs pointing the way. Only a lone motorcycle wheel attached to the mailbox gives indication that something special lies inside. But it is worth the effort. Bikes taken to MMW won’t be worked on by some young wannabe mechanic fresh out of school. Nope, Martindale Motorcycle Works is a one-man operation, with Mikey Orloff, the man himself working alone, carefully, on his customers’ bikes.
Behind the quiet demeanor of MMW’s owner lies a wealth of humor, quick witticisms, and home-grown philosophical gems. Perhaps this is the reason that this quiet little spot in Martindale also functions somewhat like the barber shops of yesteryear.. a gathering place for neighbors, friends, and motorheads to take advantage of Mikey’s anectodal quips. On just about any sunny day, a handful of vistors appear on the scene to partake of gearhead conversation, and they are rarely discouraged.
Not only is MMW the go-to place for repairs on BMW airheads, but Mikey has amassed an incredible collection of bikes, parts, and memorabilia, any and all of which can be had for the right price! A stroll through Mikey’s warehouse reveals a veritable treasure chest of bikes, seats, wheels, engines, and assorted other bike parts.
Click below for a short video interview with Mikey Orloff, owner of Martindale Motorcycle Works, and a tour of the facilities.
phil auldridge – Austin