Gather some coffee drinkers and poll the audience: “Where do you expect to find intentionally-prepared coffee and rich community?” The answers may vary slightly - cafe, restaurant, record store, bakery, cycling shop - but you would probably be hard-pressed to find someone whose first suggestion is “motorcycle repair shop”. Enter Speed Deluxe Vintage & Bespoke Motorcycles - they specialize in the repair, restoration, and customization of pre-1980 European, British, and American motorcycles...and excellent coffee?
When we were initially asked to join Speed Deluxe as a wholesale partner in 2017 we were excited to jump in from the start because our good friend Scott (formerly of Copacetic Coffee in Chattanooga) was at the helm. Although the coffee shop is more of Scott’s baby as he guides in-shop operation and menu choices, Speed Deluxe has actually been a part of Chattanooga for five years.
Jamie and Adam Sheard, a husband and wife team who had recently moved to Chattanooga from Australia wanted to bring something special to the community that they had seen modeled in shops from Sydney to Portland - a coffee bar and motorcycle shop combo…”essentially somewhere that people could gather around their love of motorcycles or just to have a cool space to hang out in,” Jamie shares with us as she reflects on the origin of Speed Deluxe. “We opened [the shop] when we moved to Chattanooga 5 years ago and we had to give it a minute to develop before we could move beyond motorcycle repair to creating something more. Plus, neither one of us had any coffee background, so we had to find the right partner. When we moved the business to downtown Chattanooga 2 years ago, we found this awesome space that lent itself to combining the motorcycle repair shop, a retail space, and (finally!) a coffee shop.”
So here we are, two years after Speed Deluxe has found its new home in downtown Chattanooga and we rush inside on a mellow, rainy Saturday morning. Passing by the well-stocked shop full of apparel, motorcycle parts, helmets, etc. we beeline for the coffee bar where Scott is there to welcome us (he will almost always be the charming face you find behind the bar).
We order a couple espresso drinks (I happen to have insider knowledge that Scott makes some of the best cappuccinos on the planet) before a family trails in behind us. They order drinks, food and then settle in as the parents chat and the children bring out toys from their carefully-packed backpacks.
This seems to be the norm for them as conversation flows naturally between Scott and the family, in fact we observe over the next hour that it seems to be the norm for most customers. “We are very fortunate to have such strong support of ‘regulars’ and returning customers who dig and appreciate what we do here,” Scott says, confirming what we suspected might be the case.
Taking a seat at the bar, we’re invited into chats with regular customers as well as owners Jamie and Adam who stop in for a coffee before going on a ride - the vibe is comfortable and unpretentious...we find ourselves hesitant to leave for fear of missing out. “It feels like a living room and garage at the same time,” Scott says, perfectly nailing the overall feel, “also a pretty good bit like your neighborhood bar. We wanted people to feel at ease here- motorcycles have a tendency to be super intimidating to folks who know nothing of them. I like that we can offer high quality coffee without any pretension, or nonsense surrounding that.” Mission accomplished. We already felt confident about trusting Speed Deluxe with our coffee, but after visiting, confident is an understatement.
Sure, Speed Deluxe takes care of your basic needs with intentionally-prepared coffee, local pastries and snacks, bottled cold brew and even retail coffee bags, but they seem to be filling a need you maybe didn’t even know you had until it was met - to feel welcomed. If you’re passing through Chattanooga and need a place to caffeinate, snack or shop, look no further, but be forewarned - it’s not just about motorcycles or good coffee...it’s about a whole lot more.