My interest in motorcycles began when I was just 15 years old and this led to an apprenticeship at Allan Jefferies Motorcycles, the local BMW multi-franchise dealership. During the 10 years I was with them I trained to a very high standard on all makes and models of motorcycles. I completed 4 years at college studying light vehicles to City and Guilds Level, and completed numerous courses at Honda and BMW. I also had the opportunity to work with Nick Jefferies as a mechanic during his early racing and trial riding career.
At the age of 27 I decided it was time to move on and run my own business, so in November 1989 Graham’s Motorcycles was launched. I was committed to continuing to achieve the very high standards I had become used to during my 10 years at Allan Jefferies, and I believe that this has contributed to the excellent reputation that Graham’s Motorcycles has built.
For the first decade Graham’s Motorcycles was run from a small shop in Wibsey (an old village in the outskirts of Bradford), but it soon became clear that larger premises were required when I started increasing the sales side of the business.
During this time I also had the opportunity to offer training sessions at BMW’s distribution centres at Thorne and in London. I taught a motorcycle repair course for the Mondial roadside assistance car mechanics. These were the guys who were responsible for roadside repairs to new BMW motorcycles under warranty.
In 2000 Graham’s Motorcycles moved to a much larger shop with a showroom, office, off-road parking and open-plan workshop area. This was seen as a big step forward, but demanded harder work and longer hours.
After 5 years, I made the very difficult decision to close down the business. This enabled me to reduce my overheads and instead of covering sales, spares and servicing, allowed me to specialise in motorcycle sales from smaller premises.
Five years later, I decided to return to motorcycle repairs and continue selling used motorcycles from the same premises. The small workshop is at the back of the building, in full view of the showroom.
My son, Stephen, joined the business in 2009 to start his apprenticeship. Now a qualified mechanic with several years experience under his belt, Stephen has been fully qualified since 2013 after achieving distinctions in all 3 levels of 'Diploma in Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair Principles' at Wakefield College Skills Exchange. The third of these levels was an optional advanced course, meaning that Stephen is now our senior diagnostic technician and has far more motorcycle knowledge than most young mechanics his age.
Stephen grew up around motorcycles, learning to ride at the age of 4 and always expressing an interest in different motorcycle sports.
From the age of 14 Stephen has worked in the workshop at weekends and evenings, starting with valeting then moving on to more technical jobs involving engine, gearbox and general maintenance work.
The latest addition to the team is Bill, who has worked for us on Saturdays for some time, but extended his hours in March 2015 to take on responsibility for the sales and advertising side of the business.