Style Rider, Phoenix Naman

Style Rider aims to document the world’s most stylish motorcycle riders, be they riders of classic, custom or cafe racer steeds. Focused on the intersection of motorcycle culture with individual style, here we speak to pilot, photographer and Triumph Scrambler rider Phoenix Naman.

Residence: Sydney, Australia

Occupation: Pilot

Instagram: @pilot.phoenix and @phoenix.naman

Today’s ride: 2007 Triumph Scrambler

Describe your style: Form and function, with colours that complement my skin tone. That and good shoes. Depending on how I’m feeling it’s either my Redwings or RM Williams. I like investing in well made clothing to last a lifetime, and not being swayed by fast fashion. My grandfather, who was the sharpest dresser I’ve known, used to say, “Always invest in well made shoes, and a good bed. If you’re not spending time in one, you’re spending time in the other”.

Favourite items: My Zeppelin Flatline automatic watch. I bought this as a present to myself when I turned 30 and also a 10 year anniversary of arriving in Australia. It has an open heart dial that shows the internal movements of the watch. In a world where we’re surrounded, and dependent on technology, that watch reminds me that not everything runs dry and has to be recharged. Sometimes analog is best.

Next purchase: Rogue Territory’s Sashiko Cruiser Jacket, Viberg Shell Cordovan service boots and a custom made hat from Optimo.

Style inspiration: Motorcycling and flying planes have something in common. The commandeers of both, are almost always well dressed. Since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to airline pilots who are always so dapper, and to the rough around the edges style of moto riders. I’ve always admired guys who can wear anything and pull it off. The likes of my friends Ollie Khedun, Paul Begg, Chef Takeshi, and Carby Tuckwell.

Best local ride: There’s a short loop from Pyrmont to Waverton via Henley Marine Drive, and Linley point, then over the Harbour Bridge and into Redfern in time for delicious pizza at my friend Stefano’s pizzeria La Coppola.

Best distance ride: Sydney to Cooma via Braidwood, and back up through Mt Kosciuszko, Gundagai, and Goulburn. I did this ride with the Rising Sun Workshop guys on a loaned sparkly green Harley 72 with ape hangers. I was essentially a wind pocket and kept getting blown onto the rear fender on highways. So we decided to take some dirt roads. Did I mention that the Harley had road tyres? I’d do this ride again on an appropriate bike.

Tip for stylish motorcycling: Wearing something that looks good on and off the bike. There’s nothing worse than wearing a heavy, armoured leather jacket to a cafe and feeling like you’re stuck inside a toothpaste tube.

Dream riding kit: Over the years, I’ve invested in a few good quality pieces of clothing. Now I’m able to pull almost anything out of my wardrobe and wear it to ride in. I’d love to own a pair of Viberg Shell Cordovan service boots and add a few more pairs of RGT Stantons and 3sixteen narrow tapered denims to my collection.

Next motorcycle trip: Kitting out a small aircraft to carry a small dirt bike and scale Australia’s east coast riding in places that normally take days or weeks to get to via road.

Why do you like riding: I’ve been fascinated by planes ever since I was a kid. Growing up on the west coast of India there were few flight paths overhead. Every time I heard a plane I’d take my little sister and run up four flights of stairs at our parents’ home to watch the planes thinking how cool it would be to fly a one. On ground, I grew up around motorcycles. My dad, cousins, close friends are all riders. The first time I ever rode a motorcycle I was 11. It was my dad’s 100cc Honda. I’d wheel it to the top of our street so he wouldn’t hear me start it up. When I sat on it my feet hardly touched the ground. The moment I put the bike into gear and started to ride off, I had the biggest grin on my face. Remember the aeroplane story? Well this was the closest I got to the feeling of flying. I rode and rode that bike for well over an hour and came home to a very cross father, and a very concerned mother. My dad was quietly proud and later showed me how to ride properly and my mother got onboard with the idea of me riding after she realised that I could run more errands for her. The fascination of flying never left me, and it was during COVID that I decided to scratch that itch. I’m now a pilot and can confidently say that my first solo flight took me right back to the day I rode a motorcycle solo. Riding a motorcycle really is the closest one can get to flying.