Louis Moto – the motorcycle success story more than 80 years in the making

Here is the story of how Louis Moto became one of longest running and most successful motorcycle kit specialists in Europe


WHEN looking for a company to spend your hard-earned cash with on motorcycle-related goodies, there are always a few key considerations to bear in mind.

First off, you need to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal, be that by way of exceptional deals or post-purchase assistance like free delivery and returns. Next up, you need to make sure you’re dealing with a brand that understands the wants and needs of motorcyclists – we aren’t just any old consumer, after all!

One brand that has been nailing all of the above for longer than most of us have been alive is Louis Moto. The German firm has been in business since 1938 and is now one of the longest-running and successful motorcycle kit and clothing specialists on the planet. Here’s the story of how it came to happen.

The history of Louis Moto

The story begins 82 years ago, when part-time motorcycle racer Detlev Louis and Walter Lohmann opened a small motorcycle shop in Hamburg. Timing was the key to the success of the business, which took advantage of people looking for cost-effective transport after the Great Depression. The shop carried on as it was until 1946 when Detlev Louis assumed sole ownership of the company.

In the 1950s the post-war boom in motorcycling meant the business when from strength to strength. New and used bike sales from NSU, Heinkel, and Adler were strong, and even imported British bikes from the likes of AJS, BSA, and Matchless were bolstering the brand. 

Louis Moto didn’t have it all its own way though, as tough times were ahead as the sixties saw the tables turned on motorcycle ownership. Advances in mass production after the war finally took hold, and in the 1960s cheap and economical cars became more and more prevalent. 

To avoid his brand falling by the wayside – like so many small motorcycle manufacturers of the time – Detlev Louis switched the focus of the business and branched out. By the start of the 1970s, all of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers of the era were represented by the now-renowned company.

The move to include the big four Japanese manufacturers in the Louis Moto shop pays off, with the ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ theory forcing punters into the store.

Fast forward to 1990 and the firm branched out from merely being a motorcycle that also sells clothing and equipment to become the official importer for a number of global motorcycle apparel brands – although it becomes apparent that things might not stay this way for long.

Today Louis Moto is still one of the most visited motorcycle websites in Europe, with more than 30 million people a year looking to the company for motorcycle kit and clothing. It carries more than 40,000 products lines from more than 1,000 motorcycle brands within its online catalogue. Bikers from across the globe can buy everything from motorcycle helmets and visors to workshop essentials and consumable products.

Not only that, most European countries are covered by free returns and there are even options for those looking to spread the cost of their purchase although geographical restrictions apply.