As a KROQ radio deejay played alternative-rock favorites, and gourmet food trucks Don Chow Tacos and BOO-Yah!! fueled the hungry motorcycle enthusiasts, Lossa Engineering’s first open house provided visitors with a glimpse into the world of café racer-style motorcycles, as well as an opportunity to get to know the shop’s famed owner, Jay LaRossa.
Clothing vendors, motorcycle owners and neighboring Signal Hill residents intermingled at the Aug. 7 event, which included a showcase of a new, limited-edition bike and brief tour of the work that goes on at the shop.
Lossa Engineering’s recent move to Signal Hill has proven to be quite successful in maintaining the shop’s already steady flow in traffic. The team is currently working on building 25 custom bikes for customers.
“It’s a better location and more room to spread out,” LaRossa said. “We just outgrew that spot.”
As LaRossa defines it, a café racer-style motorcycle is a vintage race bike stripped down for the street. Through the years, the Long Beach native learned how to weld, fabricate sheet metal, machine, paint, upholster, and rebuild motors to create custom bikes from scratch. Lossa Engineering merchandise and café parts are also available at the shop, located at 2659 Junipero Ave.
LaRossa has been around bikes and cars his whole life, whether through his family’s motorcycle dealerships, or by attending dirt-track racing, drag racing and car and bike shows. He’s always had a special interest in café and vintage race bikes, which in turn has led to his work with celebrity clients and developing a strong fan base.
Rachel Rojas and her family, who were in attendance, have grown up in the motorcycle community in part because of her husband’s profession of building bikes. “They’re great bikes. I enjoy seeing the difference in the bikes, and how they look,” Rojas said.
As LaRossa’s Velocity Channel show Café Racer goes into its second season, and his work continues to be showcased through different media outlets, his focus still remains on building bikes for the community.
“We’re contributing to the neighborhood and bringing business here,” LaRossa said. “We’re on TV, we’re in the magazines, and so now that we moved up here we have a lot of traffic coming by.”