Oct. 21 2014 06:18 PM

Isaac Heinrich and Tim Johnson's City Heights shop harks back to the good ol' days

Tim Johnson (left) and Isaac Heinrich
Photo by Joshua Emerson Smith

"We have customers who bought bikes in the showroom in the '60s," said Isaac Heinrich, co-owner of Trophy Motorcycles in City Heights. 

In 2009, Heinrich and his business partner, Tim Johnson, opened the vintage motorcycle repair shop at 4952 El Cajon Blvd. The two friends had looked for a location for their business all around the city, but when they landed a spot in a former motorcycle dealership, open in the '60s and '70s, everything seemed to fall into place. 

Having both worked on and ridden motorcycles since they were teenagers, the two enthusiasts now specialize in fixing vintage Japanese and European bikes, such as Honda, Triumph and Norton. As the only shop of its kind in San Diego County, they've cornered the market. 

"Since day one, we've been busy," Heinrich said. "It's wildly trendy right now." 

As a result, the duo, now in their 40s, work long hours as the shop's only mechanics. It's a labor of love, and both feel lucky to have the business. 

Their authenticity is reflected in the atmosphere of Trophy Motorcycles. With a few wonderfully stylish bikes and some tasteful present-day gear—such as plain white helmets—for sale in the front of the store, the shop is punctuated with time-appropriate accoutrements and posters. It doesn't feel like stepping back in time so much as forward into a smartly curated future. 

That said, the past is very much alive with the two friends, who will chew an ear or two off if someone brings up City Heights' history. Home to multiple dealerships in the '60s and '70s, El Cajon Boulevard used to be a motorcycle "mecca," Heinrich said enthusiastically. "They had the total Happy Days scene." 

Write to joshuas@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on twitter at @jemersmith.


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